TPM News

Ask the voters and they'll tell you: Social Security cuts are off the table when it comes to cleaning up the budget mess in Washington.

Fresh polling from Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Minnesota published first by TPM show voters in the states overwhelmingly oppose any cuts to the Social Security entitlement program, even in the name of reducing the national debt. The coalition of progressive groups which sponsored the survey say the polls send a clear message to the Democratic Senate incumbents up for reelection in each state: cut Social Security and you'll incur the wrath of an angry electorate.

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For years, Newt Gingrich has been laying the groundwork for a presidential run by raising money, producing films, and building up his profile in the national media. Somewhere along the way, however, he forgot to find supporters.

Newt's lack of any prominent surrogates has proven disastrous over the past week as he's tried to save his campaign from one of the most difficult rollouts in recent memory. While Republicans of all stripes pilloried him in the press and Democrats gleefully cheered them on, Gingrich stood alone with few -- if any -- high-profile names stepping up to defend him.

But it's no surprise to critics, former colleagues, and even some campaign backers to see Newt going it alone. As even a cursory look at his career reveals, Gingrich has left behind a trail of intense rivalries, simmering grudges, and wafer-thin core support that has left him with few friends to carry out his campaign.

"He burned a lot of bridges," conservative fundraising guru Richard Viguerie told TPM. "He has that type of personality. ... He's done it in his personal life, in his political career. There's just certain wires there that don't connect."

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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who was set to officially announce his presidential campaign Monday in Iowa after a two-month exploratory committee phase, has now made it official one day early -- in another dramatic YouTube video.

The video opens with a computer screen, as a person off-camera is typing in a Google search: "How to tell America you're running for President?" -- a copy of Google's TV ads.

"I could give a speech, and tell you I was running for president," Pawlenty is heard in a voice-over. "I could have a podium with my campaign logo on it. I could have balloons -- red ones, white ones, and blue ones. I could pass out stickers and cupcakes." Meanwhile, the screen shows various depictions of all those things.

"I could promise that we can eliminate a $14 trillion debt, create jobs for 10 million people, restructure social Security and health care -- all without making any tough decisions.

"Or -- I could try something different. I could just tell you the truth.

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Mitchell: 'The President Didn't Say That Israel Has To Go Back To The '67 Lines' Appearing on This Week, former Middle East envoy George Mitchell said that President Obama's proposals for the Israel-Palestine conflict did not entail a major shift in U.S. policy. "The president didn't say that Israel has to go back to the '67 lines. He said with agreed swaps," said Mitchell. "Swaps means an exchange of land intended to accommodate major Israeli population centers to be incorporated into Israel and Israel's security needs. Agreed means through negotiations. Both parties must agree."

Jordanian King: 'My Instincts Tell Me Not To Expect Much' Also appearing on This Week, King Abdullah II or Jordan was pessimistic about the Israel-Palestine peace process. "My instincts tell me not to expect much over the next couple of months, unfortunately," said King Abdullah." "I just have a feeling that we're going to be living with the status quo for 2011."

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With three days to go before voters head to the polls in the NY-26 special election to fill Republican Rep. Chris Lee's vacated seat, a new Siena College poll has Democrat Kathy Hochul leading Republican Jane Corwin by 4 points among likely voters.

Hochul leads with 42%, with Corwin trailing at 38% and tea party candidate Jack Davis with 9%, according to the poll.

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In a widely anticipated move, talk radio host and former pizza chain CEO Herman Cain formally launched his presidential campaign on Saturday at a rally in Atlanta, Georgia.

"I'm running for president of the United States and I'm not running for second," Cain told supporters, National Journal reports. The supportive crowd chanted back, "Her-MAN, Her-MAN, Her-MAN."

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Obama Calls For Reform Of No Child Left Behind In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama called upon Congress to replace the No Child Left Behind Act, with states being given flexibility for education reform as has been done with his administration's "Race to the Top" grants.

"Our challenge now is to allow all fifty states to benefit from the success of Race to the Top," said Obama. "We need to promote reform that gets results while encouraging communities to figure out what's best for their kids. That why it's so important that Congress replace No Child Left Behind this year - so schools have that flexibility. Reform just can't wait."

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