TPM News

From CNN’s Ashley Killough:



Mitt Romney, who’s watched opponent Newt Gingrich speed ahead to frontrunner status in the GOP presidential horserace, said he’ll use Saturday night’s presidential debate in Iowa to highlight his differences with the former House Speaker. “I’ll be doing that tonight,” Romney said during a surprise stop at his Iowa campaign headquarters in Des Moines on Saturday. “I’m sure we’ll get plenty of opportunities to talk about our similarities and our differences.”

Telegraphing a likely message for tonight’s debate in Des Moines, IA, Newt Gingrich told a crowd assembled at his first Iowa HQ in Urbandale Saturday that he will remain “relentlessly positive” on the campaign trail.

Further, he promised to rebuke anyone on runs negative ads in his name. Gingrich is currently the target of a massive negative TV ad campaign run by a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.

“We will not engage in negative ads. We’re not going to engage in tearing people down,” Gingrich said. “And if anybody does go out and create any kind of super PAC using my name, if they run any negative ads, we will attack them and we will encourage people to give them no money.”

JOHNSTON, IOWA -- Rick Santorum still believes Iowa works the way it's supposed to, despite all evidence to the contrary. And here in the outskirts of Des Moines Friday night, he explained why the polls are wrong and he's about to surge to the front of the pack any minute now.

The reason? Cheese and a lack of bling.

Santorum stood in a small hotel ballroom with Matt Schultz, Iowa's Secretary of State, who endorsed the former Pennsylvania senator Friday. Though the campaign billed the endorsement as a major announcement, there were signs it was coming for many months -- Santorum campaigned for Schultz in 2010 and Schultz' college age brother launched DraftSantorum.com way back in January 2011. Still, it was a rare endorsement from a statewide elected official in Iowa, and it's yet another sign that Santorum is running the state right (according to the old rules) so far.

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DES MOINES, IA -- Mitt Romney's latest ad running here is all about the many, many years he's been married to his wife, Anne. Mrs. Romney is currently barnstorming the state hosting "women for Mitt" events.

All this comes as Romney's campaign works to blunt the Newtmentum gripping this state and the country. Team Romney swears all the talk of long marriages and families isn't a backhanded attack on Newt Gingrich's colorful personal past. And, for now, the Gingrich campaign seems content to take Romney at his word.

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The holidays have come early for struggling book retailer Barnes & Noble. The company has shipped 1 million copies of its new $249 Nook Tablet in the first month of its release, according to an unverified report from DigiTimes. That's up from an anticipated 800,000 Nook Tablets, according to the blog.

The company teased as much during its second quarter earnings announcement on December 1, reporting that the Nook Tablet was its "fastest-selling Nook product" yet and that the entire Nook line raked in $220 million in the quarter, though that wasn't enough to stop the company from posting an overall loss of $6.6 million.

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Remember when Rick Perry was the "jobs" candidate? As in, three months ago?

Those days are long gone now, though, as Rick Perry rings in the holidays by telling voters it's unfair gays get to fight in Iraq while your poor children can't "openly" celebrate Christmas without fear of religious persecution.

So why has seasonal cheer become seasonal jeer? Benjy Sarlin turned off the Brokeback Mountain DVD and puzzled it out.

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Rick Perry got caught in another "oops" moment on Friday, flubbing both the number of Justices on the Supreme Court and the name of one of President Obama's appointees.

In an interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register, Perry criticized the "eight unelected and frankly unaccountable judges" on the Supreme Court, briefly forgetting there are nine members.

In the same meeting, Perry also struggled to recall the name of Sonia Sotomayor, Obama's first appointee to the Court. From ABC News' account:

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Updated 5:15 pm ET, Friday, December 9

Hewlett-Packard has finally stopped dithering and decided what to do with its costly acquisition of device-maker Palm and the associated WebOS mobile operating system: Let developers deal with it.

On Friday, HP announced it won't be selling WebOS to anyone, as was earlier speculated. But it won't be doubling-down on the software, either. Instead, HP has chosen to take a risky half-measure, a "Third Way" of sorts, making WebOS open source -- i.e., turning the software's source code over to independent and third-party developers.

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Newt Gingrich did an interview with The Jewish Channel, and had some interesting comments about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process -- possibly leaning toward the expulsion of the Palestinians.

"Well, I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state, and I believe that the commitments that were made at a time -- remember, there was no Palestine as a state, it was part of the Ottoman Empire," said Gingrich.

"And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons, we have sustained this war against Israel now, since the 1940's, and I think it's tragic."

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Rick Santorum is known for his insistence that religion has an important place in political life -- and also for criticizing various examples of scientific consensus such as evolution, global warming, stem-cell research, human sexuality, and other matters. But in his latest pronouncement, he might have just outdone himself.

The Des Moines Register reports from a Santorum campaign stop at the University of Northern Iowa, where he talked about education:

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