TPM News

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R) declared his candidacy for President Thursday morning, adding a libertarian voice to the emerging GOP field.

Dubbing himself a "fix-it man" for America, Johnson announced his run from the New Hampshire statehouse.

"America needs a 'President Veto' right now - someone who will say 'no' to insane spending and stop the madness that has become Washington," he said in a press statement. "That's why I am here today to announce that I'm running for President of the United States. And I don't do so lightly."

Johnson has gained the most attention so far for his strong opposition to America's drug laws and he mentioned the "drug crisis" in passing in his announcement. His newly-launched 2012 website prominently features "Drug Policy Reform" as one of four core parts of his platform, with a large section promoting the legalization of marijuana, suggesting the issue will play a major role in his campaign.

While many candidates have admitted to experimenting with drugs in their youth, Johnson turned heads when he said in a recent interview that he smoked medicinal marijuana from 2005 to 2008 to help cope with back pain. His take on drugs has earned him some contempt in conservative circles: CPAC organizers cut off a pro-legalization address from Johnson at their most recent convention mid-speech.

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Could Donald Trump be following Karl Rove's advice and dropping his public birtherism once and for all? In an op-ed published in USA Today on Thursday morning, Trump writes that he's ready to stop all the birther chatter.

"I have spoken my piece on this issue," Trump wrote, reminding readers that "many people have the same doubts as I have."

Trump says he's ready to shift the conversation about his maybe-candidacy to something more substantive.

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As the Secret Service prepares for the 2012 campaign, they're purchasing two new buses, at least one of which will be used by President Barack Obama as he travels around the country, TPM has learned. The Secret Service says that while the armored vehicles will be used by Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign, they'll be a security asset for future presidents as well.

"We've never been fully comfortable with the security provided by a bus we lease and then try to retro-fit," Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin told TPM.

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In Afghanistan, Boehner Assails U.S. Pullout Plan AFP reports: "US House Speaker John Boehner wrapped up a visit to Afghanistan Wednesday and assailed President Barack Obama's plan to begin pulling US troops out in July a risk to fragile security gains.'Any drawdown of US troops must be based on the conditions on the ground, not on political calculations,' Boehner, the White House's top Republican foe in the US Congress, said in a statement from his office in Washington."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver remarks to a DNC event in San Francisco at 12:40 p.m. ET. He will depart from San Francisco at 1:35 p.m. ET, arriving at 2:30 p.m. ET in Reno, Nevada. At 2:50 p.m. ET, he will participate in a "Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity" town hall. He will depart from Reno at 4:30 p.m. ET, arriving at 5:45 p.m. ET in Los Angeles, California. He will deliver remarks at a DNC event at 9:55 p.m. ET, and deliver remarks at another DNC event at 10:50 p.m. ET.

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At a fundraiser in San Francisco Wednesday evening, President Obama took direct, and unusually blunt, aim at a faction in the U.S. Congress that played a major role in upending his plan to pass sweeping clean energy and climate change legislation.

"There are climate change deniers in Congress and when the economy gets tough, sometimes environmental issues drop from people's radar screens," Obama told about 200 guests at the Pacific Heights residence of internet billionaire Marc Benioff, according to an official transcript. "But I don't think there's any doubt that unless we are able to move forward in a serious way on clean energy that we're putting our children and our grandchildren at risk. So that's not yet done."

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Wisconsin Democrats are pulling the trigger on a fifth recall campaign, Greg Sargent reports, with the Dems set to file signatures targeting GOP state Sen. Alberta Darling, as control of the state Senate now appears to be up for grabs in the battle over Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union agenda.

The state Dems told Sargeant that they collected approximately 30,000 signatures to trigger a new election against Darling, providing a very large buffer above the 20,343 minimum signatures required -- and presumably a whole lot of votes on tap in a recall election, too.

Darling holds special significance in the battle over Walker's recently passed (and currently litigated) legislation -- she is the Senate co-chair of the legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which shepherded the bill through its first stages. As such, her increased public profile would make her a particular lightning rod in the recall campaigns.

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Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has officially announced that she is requesting a statewide recount in her race against incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.

"A recount may change the outcome of this election, or it may confirm it. But when it is done, recount will have shed necessary and appropriate light on an election that right now seems to so many people to be suspect."

She also added: "If there is doubt, we must remove it. If there was misconduct, we must hold those who perpetrated it accountable."

Prosser leads by 7,316 votes, or 0.488%, within the 0.5% margin that entitles Kloppenburg to request a recount at state and local government expense.

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A bill to introduce specialty Tea Party license plates in Arizona -- the sales of which would be used to fund Tea Party causes -- is now on its way to Governor Jan Brewer (R) for approval after being passed through the State Legislature Monday evening.

But if Brewer signs the bill, Arizona may risk losing 15 percent of its federal highway funding, if Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) gets his way.

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