TPM News

As the campaign has pressed on, the candidates have used traditional tactics to secure conservative voters and one issue that has many iterations - gay rights. There are many things that conservatives believe gay people should be prevented from doing.

One thing they didn't count on? Well, the gays have started to fight back. Confronted by voters at various public events, the candidates have stuck to their guns and even brought forth a new tack. You want gay rights? Go vote for Obama.

Evan McMorris-Santoro gets all up in your face about it:

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Updated: 3:28PM

In the largest residential fair lending settlement reached in the Justice Department's history, Bank of America has agreed to provide a $335 million fund to compensate victims of what one top DOJ official called "discrimination with a smile." DOJ alleged that Countrywide, before it was owned by Bank of America, engaged in a "widespread pattern or practice of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers" in their mortgage lending practices from 2004 through 2008.

The complaint, filed in the Central District of California on Wednesday, alleges that African-American and Hispanic borrowers "were more than twice as likely to be placed in subprime loans than non-Hispanic White wholesale borrowers who had similar credit qualifications." Subprime loans carry higher interest rates.

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business lobbying group in the world, was hacked and all of the information stored on its computer systems was accessible to the hackers, who are suspected to have operated out of China and may have had Chinese government ties. This, according to a stunning report published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal.

A Chamber spokesperson told TPM in a statement that the Chamber could "confirm that the quotes and background information provided by the Chamber to the Journal are accurate."

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There's been a steady debate throughout the Republican primaries whether the notion of "retail politics" -- the old fashioned, baby-kissing, bus-stop-greeting, local-official-courting style of campaigning -- is still relevant in the FOX News era. If there's ever a case to be made that its time has come and gone its Rick Santorum's tragic campaign.

Santorum has been putting in unparalleled amounts of time in Iowa and New Hampshire, easily dwarfing local efforts by the top tier candidates in either state, yet has been unable to muster even a brief polling bubble.

According to the Washington Post's candidate tracker, Santorum has made a staggering 240 visits inside Iowa since June, where he's aggressively sought to jump start his campaign by drawing in social conservative voters. Michele Bachmann is in second in the state, with 164 visits in that span. And among the top three finishers in TPM's latest Polling Average, the number drops dramatically: 59 visits from Ron Paul, 14 visits from Mitt Romney, and 52 visits from Newt Gingrich. What's Santorum gotten for his effort?

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Mitt Romney has a new TV ad in Iowa, starring his wife Ann -- delivering a monologue on the ad's title, "Character."

Similar to today's Rick Perry ad, which stars Perry's wife Anita, there might possibly be a subtle comparison to the thrice-married Newt Gingrich and his adulterous personal history. But in the Romney spot, the contrast does seem to be even more explicit -- wondering if character doesn't matter to "some voters."

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Fox News reports that Ron Paul walked out of an interview with CNN’s Gloria Borger after she asked the candidate about the political newsletters he published in the 1990s that contained racist content:

Borger asked the Congressman if he had ever read the newsletters. “Did you ever object when you read them?”

“Why don’t you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20 something years. 22 years ago? I didn’t write them, I disavow them, That’s it.”

“But you made money off them,”

“I was still practicing medicine,” Paul responded. “That’s probably why I wasn’t a very good publisher, I had to make a living.”

The Wisconsin State Journal reports:

The state's election watchdog agency on Wednesday referred a mysterious group named "Mines for Wisconsin" to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office for investigation after the organization encouraged opponents of the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker to sign recall petitions as "Adolf Hitler."

Fliers from the group encouraged people to sign as Hitler and fill out their address as "666 Hell Street (your city)." It's not clear where or how widely the fliers were circulated. Mines for Wisconsin, which listed a West Vliet Street address in Milwaukee, could not be reached for comment at the phone number listed on the flier."It is not illegal to sign 'Adolf Hitler' on a petition," the flier reads. "Hitler was willing to destroy Germany in order to get his ideals in place. This is similar to what the recall people are doing in Wisconsin."