TPM News

As TPM reported Tuesday morning, Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) time as a legitimate contender for the GOP presidential nomination could be up, as a new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) shows her the third choice of Republican voters in Iowa, a state essential to her campaign. The new horserace with the full announced GOP field shows Tex. Gov. Rick Perry at the top with 22 percent, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney at 19 percent, Bachmann at 18, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) at 16 percent.

There's no way around it -- Bachmann's popularity has taken a huge hit over the last two months, as shown by the PPP numbers. In June, Bachmann enjoyed a favorable/unfavorable rating of 53 - 16. That statistic is now 47 - 35, still positive, but not particularly high considering these are GOP voters. Perry, on the other hand, has gone from relatively unknown (a 21 - 16 favorability rating in June, majority undecided) to well liked, with a 56 - 24 rating. Paul has increased his favorability rating by 11 points over that time, and Romney has dropped slightly over the last two months.

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The candidates for the NY-09 special election, to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, met for a debate on Monday night. Along with disagreement over the country's fiscal issues and the social safety net, shots were taken on such topics as President Obama's call for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based around the pre-1967 borders, and the long fought-over proposal for an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site.

The New York Times reports on the debate between Democrat David Weprin and Republican Bob Turner:

Some topics discussed at the forum have already been talked about at length during the campaign: Mr. Turner criticized the Muslim community center planned near ground zero, calling it an unnecessary provocation, and Mr. Weprin emphasized his support for Israel and said he disagreed with President Obama for saying that Israel's pre-1967 border should be the basis for a peace agreement.

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The man who led the first in a series of failed Congressional debt limit negotiations says it's still quite likely that the new joint Super Committee, tasked with reducing the deficit by another $1.5 trillion over 10 years, will gridlock, triggering unpalatable penalties.

The new 12-member panel has "a shot of getting a deal that would be viewed by Wall Street, be viewed by everyone, be viewed by the international community as a significant alteration of a trajectory of long-term debt.... We still may end up with the trigger being pulled," Vice President Joe Biden told reporters traveling aboard Air Force Two in Asia. Reaching a deal will be "very difficult," he added.

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By Emily Gertz

The planet's internal heat is a powerful, constant force that's available anywhere on Earth -- and a potential energy source that we've barely begun to harness.

In 2010, renewables supplied a mere eight percent of total energy consumption in the United States, led by biomass and hydroelectric power. Geothermal power made up only three percent of that mix.

What projects we do have on line are limited to a handful of spots in the Western states, and they've come about mostly as a result of serendipity.

"Most of the geothermal that's operating today is what we call the low-hanging fruit," Steven Chalk, the U.S. Department of Energy's deputy assistant secretary for renewable energy said in an interview with TPM. "It's where you see the steam coming out of the ground, or you've got the geology where it's in the ring of fire, or near volcanoes." These conventional geothermal installations pump heated underground water up to power plants on the surface.

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The right-wing Club For Growth is wasting no time in taking a shot at Republican former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is poised to officially enter race for the state's open Democratic-held Senate seat. They've released a new TV ad seeking to tie Thompson to President Obama and health care reform.

Of course, Thompson does not yet have an opponent. But the Club has been dismissive of Thompson for months, and has released poll data suggesting that the relatively moderate Thompson could be vulnerable to a primary challenge from the right.

"Tommy Thompson has been a politician since way back in 1966," the announcer says. "But do you know his record? As governor, Thompson supported massive tax and spending increases."

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David Letterman on Monday made light of a "jihadist" death threat against him, thanking the audience in advance for being his "human shield."

The late-night funny man also had a sneaking suspicion who was behind it. While federal authorities investigate the threat, Letterman said "this seems like Leno's handiwork."

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A University of Utah professor who specializes in the study of affectional bonds and same-sex sexuality is accusing House Speaker John Boehner's legal team of distorting her research.

Professor Lisa A. Diamond, whose work was cited by the legal team arguing on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives that the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, filed a declaration in federal court stating that the legal team "misconstrues and distorts my research findings, which do not support the propositions for which BLAG cites them."

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Former New Jersey Assemblyman Pat Delany abruptly quit his job last month, citing "personal issues with my family that require my full and immediate attention." Only now are we learning that that personal issue was his wife sending a "racially tinged" email to Olympic hero and current New Jersey state Senate candidate Carl Lewis. It could've been something worse, we guess? Maybe not.

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