TPM News

In an exchange in Iowa on Friday, Rick Santorum defended Israel's right to build settlements in the West Bank -- saying that it is fully part of Israel, having been conquered in the 1967 war, and that as a result all of the people in the West Bank are Israelis, not "Palestinians."

This would, however, differ from Israel's actual policy in the West Bank since 1967, which does not extend Israeli citizenship to the territory's Palestinian inhabitants.

Santorum likened the West Bank's situation to how the United States gained the West in the Mexican-American War of the 1840s. "So we should have given it back -- we should have given New Mexico and Texas back 150 years go?" Santorum asked defiantly in the CNN Web feed, picked up by Think Progress.

He later added: "The bottom line is that that is legitimately Israeli country. And they have a right to do within their country just like we have a right to do within our country. If they want to negotiate with Israeli -- with Israelis -- all the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they're not Palestinians. There is no 'Palestinian.' This is Israeli land."

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Former Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson (D) should get a sentence of up to 14 years in prison for his "audacious behavior" which "understandably captured the public's attention and harmed the reputation of Maryland's second-largest county and its 850,000 residents," federal prosecutors said in a sentencing memo this week.

According to the memo, obtained by TPM from the U.S. Attorney's office (it wasn't available in electronic court system), a stiff sentence would be a "deterrent message" and "will resonate significantly with other public officials tempted to engage in similar conduct." They're recommending a judge stay within the recommending sentencing guidelines, which could send Johnson to jail for up to 14 years.

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Hip hop group The Roots really don't like Michele Bachmann apparently. The band offered up an apparent musical editorial on the Republican's presidential campaign as she took the stage to talk to NBC late night host JImmy Fallon on Monday, playing a few bars of Fishbone's "Lyin' Ass Bitch."

New York Magazine notes that the band has a history of taking jabs at guests via their choice of walk-on music, meaning the pick was likely not a coincidence [see update: they made their intent clear on Twitter]. Take a look at the video.

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If you're having a hard time buying that one party was more reasonable than another in the Super Committee negotiations, read Republican co-chair Jeb Hensarling's obituary for the panel in the Wall Street Journal. Specifically, check out this part about the GOP's big ask:

Democrats on the committee made it clear that the new spending called for in the president's health law was off the table. Still, committee Republicans offered to negotiate a plan on the other two health-care entitlements--Medicare and Medicaid--based upon the reforms included in the budget the House passed earlier this year....

Republicans on the committee also offered to negotiate a plan based on the bipartisan "Protect Medicare Act" authored by Alice Rivlin, one of President Bill Clinton's budget directors, and Pete Domenici, a former Republican senator from New Mexico. Rivlin-Domenici offered financial support to seniors to purchase quality, affordable health coverage in Medicare-approved plans. These seniors would be able to choose from a list of Medicare-guaranteed coverage options, similar to the House budget's approach--except that Rivlin-Domenici would continue to include a traditional Medicare fee-for-service plan among the options.

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One almost gets the impression national Democrats would prefer Newt Gingrich to Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee in 2012.

In Virginia, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is mounting a campaign to tie Gingrich to George Allen, who is running against former governor Tim Kaine to reclaim his old Senate seat in Virginia. Digging up a sixteen year old quote in which Allen referred to himself as "Baby Newt," Democrats are putting out press releases this week highlighting their similarities on Social Security (they both have supported private accounts).

"If George 'Baby Newt' Allen and Newt Gingrich had their way, Wall Street would be gambling away seniors' Social Security benefits in the stock market," DSCC spokesman Shripal Shah said in a statement. "The Allen-Gingrich scheme to privatize Social Security would be devastating for Virginia's seniors."

The other connection that Democrats are hoping to exploit: Allen's post-political career as a high priced consultant for corporate interests. In Gingrich's case, his work for Freddie Mac is causing his campaign the most trouble. For Allen, it's his work in with the coal industry. Both of these issues would be big election year attacks against Allen regardless of their connection to Newt of course. But it's a testament to Gingrich's brutal national polling that even as he's hitting his peak in the GOP primary, Democrats are still rushing to attach his name to other candidates.

Newt Gingrich's turned heads at the last GOP debate with a plan to repeal child labor laws, fire the nation's janitors, and replace them with underprivileged children. Now AFSCME is giving his quote the musical treatment with a mashup web video featuring footage from the Annie.

The web video, which is actually pretty funny, is part of a petition drive highlighting Newt's plan. Give it a look:

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