TPM News

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Caucuses in 2008. On the one hand that proves his viability in the state. But his backers worry that it also raises expectations -- and his plan not to announce whether he will run for president again until this summer doesn't ease those concerns.

"I'm not convinced he's running," state Sen. Kent Sorenson of Indianola, a key Huckabee backer, told the Des Moines Register.

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House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said Tuesday that he plans to move forward with a series of hearings to examine the threat of Islamic radicalization, and said he "will not allow political correctness to obscure a real and dangerous threat to the safety and security of the citizens of the United States."

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) wrote a letter to King earlier this month asking him to expand the purpose of the hearings into "a broad-based examination of domestic extremist groups regardless of their ideological underpinnings."

But King said that the hearings will serve an important purpose, and that the committee "cannot ignore the fact that al Qaeda is actively attempting to recruit individuals living within the Muslim American community to commit acts of terror."

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When it comes down to nominating a standard bearer to challenge President Obama in 2012, Republicans would much rather pick a candidate they think can beat Obama than one who shares all their values but whom they doubt could win in the general election, according to a CNN poll released this morning.

In the poll, 68% of Republicans said they'd prefer the GOP nominee to stand a fighting chance against Obama, even if that candidate disagrees with them on some key issues. Only 29% said they'd rather nominate a candidate who agrees with hem on every issue they consider important but who might not be able to oust the President in a general election.

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The Justice Department's Inspector General is investigating two incidents involving Bureau of Prisons employees who allegedly abused federal prisoners who were Muslim in the second half of 2010 due to their choice of religion -- and has referred 16 other incidents to BOP for further investigation.

Between July 1 and Dec. 31 of last year, the Inspector General processed 1,293 new civil rights or civil liberties complaints and found 1,072 of them did not fall within the OIG's jurisdiction or did not warrant further investigation. Most of the incidents they did examine in the report revolve around the alleged abuse of Muslim prisoners.

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Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) is pushing back against Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) investigation into whether the Obama administration is politicizing Freedom of Information Act requests.

It's not that Welch opposes the general thrust of Issa's probe. He's just worried about what could turn out to be some pretty serious unintended consequences -- squelching interest in filing FOIA requests by revealing the identities of the private citizens making them.

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Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, has let loose his criticisms of a recent ruling by a federal judge to keep the gray wolf on the endangered species list -- saying he would like to put "some of these judicial activists" on the endangered list.

Rehberg spoke Monday before the state legislature. As the Helena Independent Record reports. "When I first heard his decision, like many of you I wanted to take action immediately," Rehberg said. "I asked: How can we put some of these judicial activists on the Endangered Species list?"

Rehberg was then quickly denounced by the executive director of the state Democratic Party, Ted Dick: "Congressman Rehberg's veiled threat against federal judges he disagrees with is in light of the murder of a federal judge in Tucson less than a month ago."

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Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams dropped his reelection bid on Monday, and fired some parting shots at the Tea Party and the hard-line conservatives he thinks are hurting the party's electoral success.

"I have tired of those who are obsessed with seeing conspiracies around every corner and who have terribly misguided notions of what the role of the state party is while saying 'uniting conservatives' is all that is needed to win competitive races across the state," Wadhams wrote in a memo to the Colorado Republican State Central Committee obtained by The Denver Post.

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Lawyers for Michael Scanlon -- one of the central figures in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal set to be sentenced on Friday -- say their client deserves less than the two years in jail the federal government requested since he "believed he was literally risking his life" by cooperating with the feds.

Scanlon's attorneys throw in everything but the kitchen sink while pointing out reasons why Scanlon shouldn't serve a full two years. One of them: an actor's portray of him in the recent flick "Casino Jack" starring Kevin Spacey has already soiled his reputation.

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