TPM News

A new PPP poll of Pennsylvania voters finds President Obama in good position to again carry the important swing state in 2012 as he did two years ago.

In the poll, Obama led all hypothetical challengers, including the state's former Senator Rick Santorum. However, both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee trailed by smaller gaps than the survey's margin of error.

In a head to head mathcup with Huckabee, Obama came out on top 47% to 44%. Against Romney, that spread was one point better, with Obama edging the former Massachusetts Governor 46% to 42%. Santorum trailed by the next smallest margin, lagging the president 48% to 40%.

Both Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin trailed Obama by double digits in the poll. Against Gingrich, Obama reached the symbolic 50% threshold to Gingrich's 40%. He leads Palin 51%-36%.

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Eliot Spitzer wasn't buying what Dick Armey was selling about government spending last night on Parker Spitzer, telling the Republican former House majority leader and head of tea party umbrella group Freedomworks that "with all due respect, I've never heard such hokum, smoke and mirrors, and dancing on a complete flip-flop, lie, and deception in all my years."

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Newly sworn-in Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) did something amazing Wednesday, at a public event where he signed an executive order to opt the state in to expanded federal health care funding. In addition to the typical accompaniment by supporters, he allowed Tea Partiers and other activists opposed to it to come right into the formal room of the Capitol -- and to speak at the podium, too.

In addition to Dayton's remarks, four five other people got an opportunity to speak -- two in favor of the policy, and three against it -- with Dayton maintaining order and civility among the crowd.

As MinnPost reports:

Nobody had seen anything like this at the Capitol before.

Yes, there have always been protests -- sometimes loud, but not in this formal room. In this room, governors traditionally have held news conferences in front of the media and with only invited guests. Security people traditionally had kept all others out.

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Paging Jon Stewart: Vice President Joe Biden has only a few words of advice for the daughters of the new members of Congress: "No dates until you're 30."

As he greeted families yesterday at the swearing in of the new Congress, he made a point to repeat himself over and over again.

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How "open" will House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) more-open House of Representatives be? That's up to John Boehner. At his first press conference as House Speaker Thursday morning, Boehner cautioned that the implementation of the GOP's transparency promise will be left to his discretion. That includes the Repeal of the Job Killing Health Care Law Act -- which will be expedited to the floor without amendment, and will ignore CBO's warning that it will significantly increase the deficit.

"I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit," Boehner said. "CBO's entitled to their opinion, but they're locked within constraints of the 1974 Budget Act."

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Two former U.S Senators who lost their seats in 2010 are landing on their feet -- they can no longer make the law, but they will now teach it in their home states.

Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who was defeated in November by Republican Ron Johnson, is now going to be a visiting law professor at Marquette University. As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

"I'm really excited about trying out some new things," the former Democratic senator said in an interview Wednesday, speaking in some detail about his future for the first time since he was defeated by Republican Ron Johnson in November. "I'm going to be very, very happy to be in Wisconsin almost full-time for the first time in many, many years."

It makes a lot of sense that Feingold would become a law professor back home, given the support he long enjoyed from students. Also, all those ethics laws he passed would probably make it hard for him ever get a job on K Street.

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Yesterday, state lawmakers from a handful of states stood up at the National Press Club and declared their intention to change the interpretation of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution so that children born in the United States would no longer be automatically granted citizenship.

It's the culmination of the last year's talk of "anchor babies," "terror babies" and strict immigration laws. Now, conservative legislators from at least five states say they have the answer to illegal immigration: Impose state laws declaring that the 14th Amendment doesn't apply to the children of illegal immigrants.

Lead by Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R), the group says it is writing model legislation for states. The group fully expects any laws that pass to be immediately challenged on constitutional grounds -- and wants the issue to go to the Supreme Court.

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Confused about all this talk about raising the country's debt ceiling? Don't worry, MSNBC has you covered, and this time, actions speak louder than words.

Instead of just saying it's the maximum amount the federal government can borrow, this morning MSNBC's Richard Lui donned a "spending" t-shirt, stood in a money-lined box and bumped his head against a foam "debt ceiling."

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