TPM News

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has never been shy in sharing his view that many of the privacy flaps over new features at Facebook are overblown. But when it comes to having his own activities tracked online, it seems that does prefer some level of control.

Up until Tuesday night, according to the Google + tracking service SocialStatistics.com, Zuckerberg had been the most popular person on the service, with more than 35,000 followers. That dropped to zero when he apparently changed his profile to private, as did many top Google executives, noted SocialStatistics.com's Founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten.

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The Obama campaign says their record-setting $86 million haul shows that Democrats are ready to roll after a demoralizing 2010.

According to the campaign, some 260,000 donors for the quarter had never contributed money to President Obama before, suggesting that there was still room to grow the base. The average donation to either the campaign or to the Democratic National Committee, both of whose totals were included in the $86 million, was just $88. In addition, 98% of donations to the campaign were under $250.

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Herman Cain may never be able to match Mitt Romney's giant fundraising numbers, but he can at least try to spin his rival's big money into an attack.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet The 2012 GOPers: Mitt Romney]

His latest ad, a Mastercard parody titled "Priceless," begins with news stories about a Romney event in which he claimed to raise over $10 million as well as reports that President Obama could raise $1 billion for his re-election. It contrasts them with Cain's "priceless" ability to turn out people for events -- his campaign claims 15,000 were at his Atlanta announcement in June.

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Mitt Romney is further distancing himself from the GOP's religious right base in Iowa, by refusing to sign a social conservative group's controversial "Marriage Vow" pledge -- with his campaign going the extra mile by excoriating the pledge itself.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet The 2012 GOPers: Mitt Romney]

The "Marriage Vow" involved a candidate pledging personal fidelity to his or her spouse, that he or she would change divorce laws to make "quickie divorces" more difficult, and would oppose gay marriage, pornography, and "Sharia Islam," among other things. Two Republican candidates, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, signed the pledge, and then immediately encountered controversy due to the resolution's original preamble language on slavery -- which has since been edited out -- stating, quite contrary to the facts, that African-American families were more secure under slavery than they are today, under an African-American president.

As the Associated Press reports, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul bluntly declared that the pledge "contained references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign."

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A new poll shows Tim Pawlenty slipping to the bottom tier of the presidential field as rival Minnesotan Michele Bachmann shoots upwards.

The latest numbers from Quinnipiac University put Mitt Romney first at 25%, Michele Bachmann second at 14%, then undeclared candidates Sarah Palin at 12% and Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 10%. Pawlenty is stuck way in the back of the class at 3%, behind pizza magnate Herman Cain at 6%, struggling Newt Gingrich at 5%, and libertarian Ron Paul at 5% as well. At least he's doing better than the flatlining Jon Huntsman, Thad McCotter, and Rick Santorum, who don't even register above 1%.

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Progressive Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) may have a harder time getting reelected than some observers thought. Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), a 33 year-old Iraq War vet and former state Representative in his first year of statewide elected office, raised $2.34 million in the last fundraising quarter, significantly more than the $1.5 million Brown hauled in between April and June.

Brown still has an impressive $3.5 million cash on hand for his reelection bid, and Mandel still has a Republican primary to deal with. In fact, Mandel has not yet made an official campaign announcement, though he's been raising money for a Senate races and gathering up endorsements for months.

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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has withdrawn its $12 billion bid for control of British Sky Broadcasting in the wake of the News Of The World phone hacking scandal, Sky News reports.

"We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate," Chase Carey, President and Chief Operating Officer for News Corp., said in a statement. "News Corporation remains a committed long-term shareholder in BSkyB. We are proud of the success it has achieved and our contribution to it."

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