TPM News

Jersey City, NJ - Former Ambassador to China and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman formally declared his candidacy for president Tuesday morning at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, a backdrop invoking patriotism and hope -- and some Reaganesque history for the audience.

Huntsman, whose Utah and international diplomacy background gave him no particular roots in New Jersey or the New York area, spoke to a fairly small crowd of between 100 and 150 people. But he did have backdrop of the Statue of Liberty, towering just across the river -- the same view as that used by Ronald Reagan for a major speech in the 1980 general election, when he formally kicked off the Fall campaign season on Labor Day.

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One of the most influential investors in the world of finance has a message for lawmakers -- particularly conservative lawmakers -- on Capitol Hill: rejoin the real world.

In a prospectus for clients, Bill Gross, a co-founder of investment management giant PIMCO, says members' of Congress incessant focus on deficit -- and in particular, the manner in which they obsess about deficits -- is foolhardy, and a recipe for disaster. What the country needs, Gross said, is real stimulus now, and a measured return toward fiscal balance in the years ahead.

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A woman in a hijab expounded on the benefits of Sharia in the basement of a Capitol office building on Monday, and somehow society has yet to collapse.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) held a hearing on the threat that state-level anti-Sharia bill present to American democracy in a room in the basement of the House Rayburn building at noon.

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It's the conservative conspiracy theory that wouldn't go away. For months Republicans and conservative foes of the new health care law have raised warning flags about its "waiver" process. The legislation gives the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to issue waivers to providers with the goal of implementing the full law in 2014 as smoothly as possible. In particular, providers of group health insurance -- including businesses and labor unions -- have been exempted from new rules requiring health care plans to cover $750,000 in costs per year.

This, suspicious Republicans believed, was a recipe for cronyism. Without data detailing who got the waivers and who did not, they alleged that the waivers were part of scheme to reward administration allies and punish administration enemies with no oversight.

But that all changed when Congress tasked the Government Accountability Office with auditing the waiver program as part of spending legislation President Obama signed in the spring to avoid a government shutdown. That report was released earlier this month and the results were...quite unexceptional.

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Sure, Fox News is totally biased -- but only so they can even out all that liberal bias in the rest of the media.

That's what Jon Stewart took away from his interview with Fox's Chris Wallace over the weekend. And when Stewart returned to his show on Monday night, he broke it down for his viewers.

"We don't tell both sides of the story," Stewart said of Fox. "We tell one side -- the other side, the one we perceive is never told."

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A web ad Tuesday from Rick Santorum's presidential campaign mocks an ad from now official presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and attacks him for not signing a pro-life pledge from the group the Susan B. Anthony List.

Huntsman's original ad, one of several released in the run-up to his entry into the race, shows him riding a dirt bike and teases the announcement of his presidential plans as coming "in 4 days." Santorum's ad shows a dirt bike rider wiping out and says Huntsman "Hasn't signed the anti-abortion pledge. Just like Mitt Romney..."

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who's been publicly considering a run for the White House in recent days, will probably want to outsource the social media component of his presidential campaign if he does decide to run.

In a video address recorded for attendees at the Right Online conference in Minneapolis this weekend, Perry offered up more of the anti-federal government rhetoric that's made him something of a rockstar among conservatives eager for somebody to shake up their boring presidential field.

He also reminded them "you can always follow me on Tweeter."

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James Verone, a 59-year-old former truck driver, was having serious medical problems that he couldn't afford to get checked out or treated. If only North Carolina had a free, state-run health-care system!, he thought. Then he realized it does: in prison.

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Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman -- who'll formally announce his candidacy for president later this morning -- is out with excerpts of the speech he'll deliver at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ.

The short version (of the short version): If we don't do something now, the America we know and love is doomed.

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