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Over the last week we've seen that the "inevitable candidate" strategy from former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney will surely need recalibration -- mainly due to Rick Perry's arrival in the race. Where Perry has succeded in crafting both hype around his candidacy and real support amongst a wide section of the GOP base, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has struggled to expand her appeal beyond the far right of the party, influential though it is.

But is Romney finished just because of a round of bad polls? Of course not. In fact, it's been reported that he'll now contest Iowa, something he had previously not committed to given his polling leads in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. That lead in South Carolina is now gone, according to two new polls, and it vanished within a few weeks of Perry entering the race. So now Romney may be in the fight for Iowa, and as such could make moves towards a new strategy. Sure, Romney was on soft ground as the frontrunner, but that ground doesn't immediately harden when Perry puts his feet down.

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It's a mistake to read much into the fact that the Super Committee picked a staff director, or that he's a long-serving Republican aide. There's a temptation to read deeply into these developments, but ultimately the 12 members of the Super Committee will either reach an accommodation or they will not, and that much is up to them.

On that score, it is interesting that the staff director, Democrat or Republican, has extensive knowledge of the tax code.

This goes back to the final hours of the debt limit deal. The Super Committee will draft legislation that CBO will score relative to current law. That means CBO will score whatever they produce as if expiration of ALL the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012. Want to make Bush's lower-income and middle-class tax cuts permanent, and let the top bracket cuts expire? No can do. That scores as a big tax CUT -- and thus counts against the committee's goal of reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

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The recently-concluded Wisconsin state Senate recalls, in which Democrats came just shy of their uphill goal of winning a majority in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation, may have set a record. In addition to many millions of dollars and countless man-hours being expended -- resembling Congressional races at the federal level -- they were possibly the most negative campaigns on record in this country.

According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which is now headed up by former UW-Madison professor Ken Goldstein, the overall advertising on the pro-Democratic side weighed in at 99% negative, with 89% negativity on the pro-Republican side.

"People are always wanting to say, 'This campaign is the most negative!'" Goldstein told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I'll say it. I've never seen a campaign more negative."

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The Russian Federal Space Agency says it has identified the primary cause of the Aug. 24 crash of an unmanned Soyuz rocket, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass.

The crash of the rocket, which was carrying a Progress 44 cargo transport vehicle to the International Space Station, led a NASA official to say on Monday that the station might have to be temporarily abandoned come November, as the Soyuz is currently the only class of spacecraft capable of transporting NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in July.

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China's official state news agency published an editorial Tuesday calling for a clampdown on the spread of "toxic rumors" by users of the country's popular Twitter-like websites, just days after the administrators of one such website temporarily suspended the accounts of several users for spreading what was deemed as unfounded rumors.

The development, while not unexpected, directs attention to the tightrope that Chinese authorities are walking as they try to foster Web innovations at the same time as they try to maintain a tight grip on the flow of information in their society. But comprehensive censorship is likely an exercise in futility, given how fast Chinese microblogs are growing and how quickly information spreads through them.

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Christine O'Donnell, back in the news this month promoting her new book, is no longer welcome at a Tea Party event with Sarah Palin this weekend.

O'Donnell was set to appear with Palin, who endorsed O'Donnell's 2010 Senate bid, at a rally in Indianola, IA. But officials at Tea Party of America, which is hosting the event, told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that they were dropping her. While the group's president cited scheduling problems as the cause, co-founder Charles Gruschow offered a very different explanation: backlash from local Tea Party activists upset over O'Donnell's inclusion.

"We decided not to have her speak," Gruschow said. "We felt it was in the best interest of the movement."

O'Donnell was a brief cause celebre for Tea Party activists in 2010, who helped her defeat heavily favored Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) in a Senate primary before she was trounced in the general election by Democrat Chris Coons. But the magic seems to have faded after her defeat as her much-hyped book has only sold about 2,000 copies.

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On his radio show today, Glenn Beck tackled a particularly sticky issue when it comes to race. How does it make any sort of sense, he wanted to know, to refer to all black persons as "African American," particularly when so many black individuals don't live in the U.S.?

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Mitt Romney will speak at a Tea Party Express rally in New Hampshire on Labor Day, his first appearance at a high profile event associated with the movement.

Romney's scheduled appearance, first reported on CNN, comes as he faces renewed pressure on his right flank thanks to Rick Perry's surging campaign. Perry was one of the earliest national politicians to jump on the grassroots bandwagon -- he made his famous "secession" comments at a Tea Party rally in April 2009 -- and is currently polling very well with self-identified Tea Partiers. He, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain will attend a forum with the Tea Party-leaning Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) in South Carolina on Labor Day.

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