TPM News

Call it the first must watch moment of the 2012 presidential cycle. On Thursday, Mitt Romney, Republican frontrunner and one-time health care mandate advocate, will take on the issue dogging his campaign in a speech in Michigan.

According to his campaign, Romney will lay out "his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that lower costs and empower states to craft their own health care solutions" at the the Thursday speech, which he'll give at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor.

The speech will give Romney a chance to change the narrative on a central storyline of his candidacy -- namely that the health care law he signed while governor of Massachusetts in 2006 is a potentially insurmountable political liability. For the man who's been running for the 2012 Republican nomination virtually since he dropped out of the 2008 nomination fight, the stakes really could not be much higher.

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Facebook has asked the Federal Election Commission to confirm that advertisements on the social networking website shouldn't have to abide by campaign regulations which require a disclaimer on who paid for the ads.

In a 14-page letter sent to the FEC on April 26, three lawyers working on Facebook's behalf argue that small campaign ads on the social networking site should be exempt because displaying disclaimers would be impractical. TPM was alerted to Facebook's letter by a source.

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Speaking at the Chamber of Commerce's national headquarters in Washington, D.C., South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) joined Republican lawmakers Tuesday to decry the National Labor Relations Board for siding with unions in its fight with Boeing. But it was Rand Paul (R-KY) who stole the show with a wild rant against the White House.

Haley organized the event to demand that the White House address the NLRB's complaint against Boeing, which alleges that the company illegally retaliated against union workers at their Washington State production line by opening a second line in South Carolina, where union protections are weaker. But Paul went much further, suggesting it may be part of a broader conspiracy against states that voted against him in 2008.

"Mr. President, do you have an enemies list? Is this decision based on the fact that South Carolina appears to be a Republican state, has two Republican senators? Is this decision based on the fact that South Carolina is a 'right to work' state? Are they on your enemies list?" Paul said.

The Tea Party freshman continued, telling reporters that Democratic calls for disclosure of donations to political groups by companies were part of the possible conspiracy.

"The president has said now that he's going to ask contractors who do business with the government 'Who have you contributed to?'" he said. "Mr. President, do you have en enemies list? Will you now punish contractors who have given money to Republican candidates? I'm concerned, there are two Republican Senators from Kentucky. Are we on you enemies list? Is Alabama on your enemies list? Is Texas on your enemies list?"

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Donald Trump's brief run as the "frontrunner" in the Republican primary is over, according to a PPP poll released on Tuesday.

One month ago, a handful of surveys showed Trump trouncing the GOP field, leading all comers by as much as a nine-point margin. But now, after a month of bruising press coverage, the latest PPP poll shows that Trump's support has quickly dried up, as he's dropped back to a tie for fifth place.

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Apple, Inc., "is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of our customers who use Apple mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad and iPod touch," a company representative told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday.

"Apple does not track users' locations -- Apple has never done so and has no plans to do so," Dr. Guy "Bud" Tribble, vice president for software technology at Apple Inc., said in prepared testimony before the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

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Wisconsin election staff have so far determined that there are sufficient signatures submitted to recall four Republican state Senators -- an important first step, pending further challenges, before the wave of state recalls can be officially green-lit.

As the La Crosse Tribune reports, staff at the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, counted sufficient signatures against state Sen. Dan Kapanke and three other Republicans. GAB spokesman Reid Magney confirmed to TPM that the three others are Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen and Sheila Harsdorf.

In addition, the board staff are still reviewing signature numbers against Republicans Alberta Darling and Rob Cowles, and Democrats Dave Hansen, Robert Wirch and Jim Holperin.

This action does not by itself trigger the recalls -- challenges to the signatures will be reviewed at official board meetings on May 23 and May 31, with the board on a timeline to hold the recalls on July 12.

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The Obama administration has lucked out in Virginia. A three-judge panel of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear arguments Tuesday morning from plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform law Congress passed law last year. And all three of those judges -- selected randomly by computer -- were appointed by Democratic Presidents.

The political composition of the panel is crucial -- thus far, in lower court rulings, judges appointed by Democrats have all upheld the law while Republican-appointed judges have stricken parts, or all of the law on constitutional grounds.

This was by no means a likely outcome. Though the conservative-leaning court has become more liberal since Obama took office, the odds of drawing an all-Dem panel are still quite low -- about 20 percent.

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Stephen Colbert lauded an ultra-orthodox Jewish newspaper on Monday night after the paper photoshopped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out of a now-iconic image of the president and his staff watching the bin Laden raid unfold.

"Impressive," Colbert said "Usually getting rid of Hillary Clinton takes an entire presidential primary."

As TPM reported on Monday, a Brooklyn-based Hasidic paper removed Clinton and Director for Counterterrorism Audrey Tomason from that famous photo due to an editorial policy that stipulates that they not intentionally include women in photos because they could be construed as being "sexually suggestive."

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The special election to replace the topless ex-Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) is proving far more competitive than the district's Republican-leaning makeup would suggest, with Democrat Kathy Hochul leading Republican Jane Corwin and Tea Party candidate Jack Davis in the most recent poll.

Democrats are using the race as a testing ground for attacks on the GOP's budget, with Hochul positioning her campaign almost entirely as a referendum on Paul Ryan's plan to privatize and cut Medicare.

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