TPM News

One of the nation's leading progressive groups has picked the first candidate it will endorse in 2012: New Mexico state Sen. Eric Greigo, the only declared Democrat in the race to replace Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), who's leaving the House to run for Senate.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has raised hundreds of thousands of national dollars for candidates across the country, chose Greigo as its first challenger candidate of 2012 in an email sent to its national list Thursday.

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President Obama announced plans to send home 10,000 troops from Afghanistan and another 23,000 by end the September 2012 in a primetime TV and radio address Wednesday night.

In the 10-minute speech, Obama said he was fulfilling a promise he made at a speech at West Point in 2009 when he ordered a surge of 30,000 troops -- that the troops would begin coming home starting in July 2011.

"Tonight, I can tell you that we are fulfilling that commitment," he said.

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Michele Bachmann's campaign has now announced the dates for their formal kickoff tour next week -- with her making stops in three of the big early primary and caucus states.

Bachmann made the interesting move of announcing her much-expected candidacy during last week's debate -- though of course, her very participation in the debate was itself an act of running for president. However, that act did seem to be a departure from her previous statements that she would announce her decision in Waterloo, Iowa, the town where she was born.

Now, her campaign announced via press release, she will be making it up with a formal kickoff event on Monday at 10 a.m. CT, in Waterloo -- an event that the campaign press couldn't escape if they wanted to.

Then on Tuesday, she will hold a 9 a.m. ET backyard event at a private residence in Raymond, New Hampshire, and then visit Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with an event at 5:30 p.m. ET. She will then make a full-day swing through South Carolina on Wednesday, with stops in Charleston, Lexington, Greenville, and Rock Hill.

Critics across the ideological spectrum have criticized President Obama for overruling a determination by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that continued action in Libya is unlawful. But some of the White House's natural allies in the liberal legal community -- including those close to the administration -- are troubled by a separate, and in some ways more fundamental, part of this story.

In addition to overruling the OLC -- the Justice Department office tasked with establishing the bounds of lawful conduct for the executive branch -- the Obama administration also circumvented the basic process administrations typically follow in assuring its policies are legal.

"Here, if what's being reported is accurate, the White House counsel played the role of OLC, by soliciting the views of different agencies," said Dawn Johnsen, in an interview. "That's the big problem here. You're more likely to end up with bad legal decisions when you deviate from that process."

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Updated with Duffy's response below.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has found a new line of attack on the fiscal life of Rep. Sean Duffy's (R-WI), months after jibes over his claim that he was struggling to live on his $174,000/year congressional salary began to burn out.

Democrats are fond of taking on Duffy over money, and after his latest financial disclosure form was released to the press, they think they've found their next soft spot to poke.

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Despite the media firestorm around a much disputed McKinsey report finding that large numbers of employers would drop health care coverage under President Obama's health care reform law, it seems some Republican freshmen are still using it as a talking point.

"We learned last week that approximately 30% of employers anticipate dropping their health care coverage as a result of this [law]," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) at a press conference with fellow freshmen Republicans on the Hill today. "So more things are coming to light showing this simply was not a good piece of legislation."

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2011 has been a busy year for labor unions across America. After historic budget battles in Wisconsin and Ohio, governors in more states like Florida and New Jersey have been clamping down on collective bargaining rights and targeting state worker benefits in attempts to cut spending and balance budgets.

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board made headlines when it filed a controversial complaint against Boeing aircraft for moving a plant from Washington to South Carolina. According to the complaint Boeing was violating labor laws by allegedly moving the plant so that the company would not have to deal with frequent strikes in their Seattle location.

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LiveWire

Clinton Postpones Trip To Charlotte

In a statement released Friday evening, Hillary Clinton's campaign announced that the Democratic nominee…