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Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who took his first steps into the Republican presidential field as a moderate, has over the past month turned himself into something far from the center when it comes to Medicare. From throwing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) more love than anyone to grabbing onto Ryan's Medicare-destroying budget with both hands, Huntsman's separating himself from the pack: No one running for president, it seems, is more excited about the Republican budget plan than him.

In an op-ed published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal, Huntsman calls Ryan's plan an "honest attempt to save Medicare" and he calls on critics to put up their own plan or shut up about the GOP's. But that's among the more subtle love he's thrown Ryan and his budget in the recent past -- on Tuesday, Hunstman called Ryan one of the two Republicans alive he admires most.

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It doesn't take much political savvy to note that Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) Medicare-destroying budget plan hasn't panned out all that well for the GOP. But a new poll out from advocates for the Democratic health care law shows that the Ryan budget fail goes even deeper than embarrassed presidential candidates and special election upsets.

Not only does the poll show huge opposition to Ryan's plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system, the poll shows Democrats winning the credibility war when it comes to Medicare and "protecting the middle class." And -- in a jolt of good news for the White House and Democrats -- the numbers show that when voters are given Ryan budget messaging from opponents, support for the Democratic health care law actually goes up slightly in response.

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An allegedly phony tweet sent from Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) Twitter account featuring a lewd picture is drawing increasing interest as the lawmaker refuses to answer reporters' questions on the incident.

TPM caught up with Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) after his vote on a debt limit increase to see if he would clear up some of the remaining issues that media outlets have raised since a photo of an unidentified man's crotch was publicly sent to a college student and then quickly deleted on his Twitter account. He has claimed that his account was hacked and the person who received the photo says they have no relationship. On Tuesday, he testily evaded follow-up questions from news outlets like CNN on the topic and conservative news site The Daily Caller has repeatedly pressed the congressman for a yes or no answer on whether the picture in question is of Weiner.

"Look here's the decision I made and you can disagree with it," he told TPM when asked for a clear answer on whether it was him in the photo, "that after two and a half days of statements that answer these questions that I'm not going to keep drilling into further details and further details, even one ... even the easy questions, even the obvious questions, even the ones I've answered before."

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As expected, indeed intended, a bill brought to the floor by House Republicans that would extend the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion with no strings attached was overwhelmingly rejected Tuesday evening. Democrats split close to evenly on the 318-97 vote, which party leaders decried as a political stunt.

Democrats have called for a "clean" debt limit increase along the lines of the one offered by the GOP, but with no chance of passage for Tuesday's legislation many voted against the bill out of protest. 114 have signed on to a letter by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) calling for a similar bill, but only 97 voted for today's legislation, with 82 Democrats opposed. Another 7 Democrats voted 'present.'

"This was designed to fail," Welch (D-VT) told TPM before voting for the measure. "This is exhibit A in how we come up with political maneuvers that avoid addressing the issue in a serious way. The sponsors of this legislation introduced it with a speech about how they were going to oppose it."

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1||President Obama embarked on a trip to Europe last week, meeting with various foreign leaders, dining with the Queen of England and attending the G8 Summit in France.



Here, he walks among the 1st Battalion Scots Guards with Britain's Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in London. ||Adrian Dennis/MCT/Newscom&&

2||President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Queen Elizabeth II at Winfield House, home to the Ambassador of the United States of America, in Regents Park, London. ||Allpix / Splash News/Allpix / Splash News/Newscom&&

3||President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama raise a glass at a pub in Moneygall, Ireland, hometown of the President's great-great-great grandfather. ||x99/x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

4||President Obama played ping pong with British Prime Minister David Cameron. ||Photoshot/Newscom&&

5||President Obama watched a military procession ahead of a meeting with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in Warsaw, Poland. ||Newspix/Icon SMI CBN/Newspix/Icon SMI/Newscom&&

6||President Obama holding a hurley -- a piece of equipment used in Hurling, Ireland's national sport -- presented to him by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, in Farmleigh, Ireland on May 23. ||Photoshot/Photoshot/AdMedia/Newscom&&

7||President Obama delivered a speech to the British Parliament in Westminster Hall on May 25. ||Allpix / Splash News/Allpix / Splash News/Newscom&&

8||President Obama addressed a crowd at College Green in Dublin, Ireland on May 23. ||MAXWELLS IRISH GOVERMENT POOL/EFE/Newscom&&

9||Queen Elizabeth II, President Obama, Michelle Obama and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace prior to a State Banquet on May 24. ||Allpix / Splash News/Allpix / Splash News/Newscom&&

10||Obama attended the G8 summit in France during his trip overseas. Here, he's pictured with other world leaders. ||Mousse-Orban/Mousse-Orban/ABACA/Newscom&&

11||President Obama and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland. ||Newspix/Icon SMI CBN/Newspix/Icon SMI/Newscom&&

12||British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama pitched in at a barbecue for members of the military in the garden of 10 Downing Street in London on May 25. ||u99/u99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

13||Queen Elizabeth II raised a toast to President Obama during a State Banquet in Buckingham Palace on May 24. ||n44/n44/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

14||President Obama addressed the British Parliament in Westminster Hall on May 25. ||Allpix / Splash News/Allpix / Splash News/Newscom&&

15||Barack and Michelle Obama, with newlyweds Prince William and Princess Catherine. || n44/n44/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

16||British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama. ||Neal Leon/Neal Leon/PA Photos/ABACA/Newscom&&

17||President Obama and Michelle Obama at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey in London. ||Photoshot/Newscom&&

18||President Obama and England's Prince Charles. ||Photoshot/Newscom&&

19||Irish pop duo Jedward performed ahead of Obama's speech at College Green in Dublin, Ireland. ||Mark Doyle / Splash News/Mark Doyle / Splash News/Newscom&&

20||President Obama and Michelle Obama sipped beers at a pub in Moneygall, Ireland. ||/EFE/Newscom&&

21||Obama glanced over his shoulder to make sure no one was trying to steal a swig of his beer. ||-/EFE/Newscom&&

22||President Obama and Queen Elizabeth || ||Allpix / Splash News/Allpix / Splash News/Newscom&&

23||Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron teamed up for a game of ping pong. ||Photoshot/Newscom&&

24||Obama and David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. ||u99/u99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

25||President Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in Farmleigh, Ireland on May 23. || Photoshot/Photoshot/AdMedia/Newscom&&

26||President Obama signed the visitor's book at Aras an Uachtarain in Dublin, home to Irish President Mary McAleese, on May 23. || Photoshot/Photoshot/AdMedia/Newscom&&

27||President Obama and Queen Elizabeth || ||n44/n44/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

28||President Obama at a State Banquet in Buckingham Palace on May 24. ||n44/n44/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

29||President Obama met members of the choir at Westminster Abbey in London on May 25. ||n44/n44/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

30||First Lady Michelle Obama and Fionnuala Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister's wife. ||Photoshot/Photoshot/AdMedia/Newscom&&

31||A woman enthusiastically greeted Obama after his speech at College Green in Dublin, Ireland. ||Behal Julien/Behal Julien/PA Photos/ABACA/Newscom&&

32||President Obama, with Queen Elizabeth II and First Lady Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace on May 24. ||Dennis Adrian/Dennis Adrian/PA Photos/ABACA/Newscom&&

33||President Obama at College Green in Dublin, Ireland. ||ENDA DORAN/EFE/Newscom&&

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has a message for the Democrats: They are afraid of her running for president, and the possibility that she could pick up votes from women.

As the Associated Press reports, Bachmann toured New Hampshire on Tuesday, and appeared with the local radio WXKL-FM "Road to the White House" interview series, at a bar across the street from the statehouse. And during the interview, she criticized DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz for calling Republican policies "anti-women."

"They're terribly afraid of a Michele Bachmann candidacy for president of the United States," said Bachmann. "Democrats see themselves with group politics quite often, they'll see that they think they should own certain minorities or ethnicities or that they should own women. That's not true."

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