TPM News

The Colbert Report had a bit of fun with the "genius" press release that Newt Gingrich's campaign released this week that took shots at the Washington "literati" and their "minions."

"You know what, I don't think I've got it in me to convey the epic genius of this verbal spanking that Newt is dishing out here," Colbert said before calling upon actor John Lithgow to pinch hit for him.

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In his first major television interview of his likely presidential campaign rollout this morning, former Utah Gov. and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman avoided his own Newt Gingrich moment. The House Republican plan to privatize Medicare? Count Huntsman in.

"I would've voted for it," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos Friday morning. "Including the Medicare provisions."

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President Obama's middle east policy speech was a wide-ranging address that touched on a number of hot-button issues in the world's most volatile region. But for the Republicans running for president, the speech was about one thing: Obama falling down on the job when it comes to defending the state of Israel.

"President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said in a statement. "He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace."

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So which secret fairy-tale chamber in the skies or, alternately, below the earth's crust, is Osama bin Laden kickin' it in these days?
CNN was quick to ask the first such question weeks ago, when 61% of respondents concluded that yes, Osama bin Laden is now in the subterranean fire-pit "Hell."
But thanks to Fox News, we now have a poll that confronts the Al Qaeda founder's fate head-on: Did he ever get those sexy lady-virgins he'd spent all these years hyping up in jihadi recruitment pamphlets? Or, to ask Fox's exact question, "Do you believe Usama bin Laden was greeted by 72 virgins in heaven or did he meet a more negative end?"

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by Marie C. Baca, Special to ProPublica

As the shale gas boom sweeps across the United States, drillers are turning to a controversial legal tool called forced pooling to gain access to minerals beneath private property--in many cases, without the landowners' permission.

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Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, an affiliate organization to the Karl Rove backed American Crossroads PAC, is out with a new web video insinuating that the Obama administration is rewarding unions who pushed for the health care law with expeditions from that same law.

The video frames the issue somewhat like an action movie trailer, utilizing ominous music and rapid scene cuts to introduce the "union bosses" who "shoved healthcare down our throats." And it features quick shots of semi-socialist symbols, such as a Canadian flag and a red clenched fist spliced between shots of chanting union members.

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When it comes to earmarks, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is accusing House Republicans of wanting to have their cake and eat it too.

House Republicans, she told reporters earlier this week, have added numerous line items for special projects into the defense-authorization bill, and thus, are violating their own self-imposed earmark moratorium.

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Touring Waterloo, Iowa today, Newt Gingrich attributed part of the media frenzy surrounding his "challenging week" to his campaign's historic nature.

"It's going to take a while for the news media to realize that you're covering something that happens once or twice in a century, a genuine grass-roots campaign of very big ideas," Gingrich said, according to the Associated Press. "I expect it to take a while for it to sink in."

At the heart of reporters' difficulty wrapping their head around his candidacy, Gingrich said, was the threat he represents to the old system of canned talking points and establishment thinking.

"My reaction is if you're the candidate of very dramatic change, it you're the candidate of really new ideas, you have to assume there's a certain amount of clutter and confusion and it takes a while to sort it all out, because you are doing something different," Gingrich told the press.

Reporters did discover one aspect of Gingrich's campaign today that's likely a first: his cell phone, which went off at a rally, uses ABBA's "Dancing Queen" as its ringtone.

Newt Gingrich appeared on Rush Limbaugh's radio show this afternoon to explain the whole dust-up since he blasted Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) Medicare-privatizing budget proposal as "right-wing social engineering." Gingrich's latest explanation: He wasn't talking about Ryan or the budget at all!

And what's more, he's supported that budget and Ryan's plan ever since Ryan briefed him on it, weeks before its public announcement.

Limbaugh took issue with Gingrich's statement that he opposed both left-wing and right-wing "social engineering," and asked Gingrich to define the term "social engineering."

"It's very straightforward. It's when the government comes in and tells you how to live your life and what you're gonna do -- whether the values that lead it to do that are left-wing values, or the values that lead it to do that are right-wing values," said Gingrich. "I believe in personal freedom. I believe in your right to lead your life. I believe that we are endowed by the Declaration of Independence, by our Creator, with the right to pursue happiness. And I want a government that is much more humble about its ability to tell you what to do, whether it's people on either side of the ideological spectrum.

"And by the way, it was not a reference to Paul Ryan. There was no reference to Paul Ryan in that answer."

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