TPM News

Jon Hunstman has a remarkable problem. That is, he once called President Obama "a remarkable leader" in a laudatory letter he wrote to the White House shortly after being appointed ambassador to China.

Now, as he runs for President, Hunstman's come up with his strategy for getting out of what he said about Obama: Huntsman was really just talking about himself.

Watch Huntsman on Hannity:

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Tim Pawlenty is now on the air in the key first caucus state of Iowa, the first candidate to launch such an ad this cycle.

"A lot of candidates will come to Iowa and say the same things. The question is: Have they done it?" Pawlenty says to the camera. "In a liberal state, I reduced spending in real terms for the first time; took on the government unions -- and won; appointed a conservative Supreme Court; and passed health care reform the right way -- no mandates, no takeovers.

"If I could do it in Minnesota, we can do it in Washington. I'm Tim Pawlenty, and I approved this message."

The Des Moines Register reports that the ad buy cost just under $50,000, and was taken out for Fox News programs in media markets in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Omaha, Ottumwa, Sioux City and Rochester, Minn. The ad will run through July 3.

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Given that Fox News is the two-time defending champion as liar of the year according to Politifact, it's almost like they're a sports dynasty -- but of lying, says Jon Stewart.

On Tuesday night, Stewart ran through a long list of Fox claims that the non-partisan fact checker later declared to be false. That list included two fibs that Politifact rated as the "lie of the year" in 2009 and 2010.

"Fox News is like a lying dynasty," Stewart said. "They're like the New England Patriots of lying."

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NBC Universal is renewing Donald Trump's contract to host "The Celebrity Apprentice" for two years, and giving Trump and his co-producer Mark Burnett a big raise, according to The New York Post.

The deal will apparently net Burnett and Trump a total of around $160 million, and Trump will personally take in $65 million a year.

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Another (very expensive) shoe has dropped about Newt Gingrich's personal spending. Following reports in May that Gingrich had previously taken a $250,000-$500,000 line of credit from Tiffany & Co. jewelers, it has now been reported that he had another line of credit with the company -- between $500,000 and $1 million.

Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post reports:

Joe DeSantis, a spokesman for Gingrich, said that the candidate's personal financial disclosure filing, which is due within 30 days of his formal entrance into the presidential race, will "show that the Gingriches had a $500,000 to $1 million line of credit at Tiffany's, that it has a zero balance, and it has been closed."

DeSantis added that all debts to Tiffany had been paid in full. He offered no details about when the second line of credit was taken out, what it was used for or when it was closed.

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One day ahead of an address to the nation in which President Obama will announce his plans for the nation's future involvement in Afghanistan, a Pew survey finds that a record high level of Americans now support an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.

In the survey, 56% of respondents said they thought troops should come home "as soon as possible." At the same time, 39% said the military should remain until the situation in Afghanistan has stabilized, a record low in Pew's surveys.

According to multiple reports, Obama will lay out a plan Wednesday night to bring home thousands of troops beginning in July. In addition, he is expected to announce a strategy for bringing home the 30,000 additional "surge" troops he ordered sent to Afghanistan in December 2009.

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Republicans and Democrats in the House are planning legislation to reform the Hatch Act, the federal law restricting federal employees from doing partisan work on the taxpayer's dime. And two former Bush administration officials think the Obama administration's White House meetings with Wall Street executives might have broken the laws on the books.

Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) doesn't often agree with House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA). But they both agreed at a House Oversight hearing on Tuesday that the rules on the activities of federal employees needed to be updated.

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Democrats are increasingly concerned that Republicans are setting them up to endorse large spending cuts in a deal to raise the national debt limit without giving ground on anything -- even GOP-friendly policy measures like tax cuts for business owners -- to stimulate the economy in the near-term.

The concern arises as numerous top Republicans react coldly to the prospect of temporarily reducing the payroll tax burden on employers and employees -- to juice the economy before federal spending draws down in the years ahead.

Traditionally, and particularly in tough economic times, this and a handful of other stimulative policies have enjoyed bipartisan support. But with the outcome of the 2012 election likely to hinge on the nation's economic trajectory, the GOP is mysteriously rethinking those positions. And Democrats are starting to note of the suspicious timing.

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