TPM News

Sarah Palin's getting ready to pound the pavement on an East Coast bus tour, bringing her potential 2012 ambitions back into the spotlight. But Fox News -- where Palin serves as a contributor -- isn't ready to cut ties just yet.

"We are not changing Sarah Palin's status," Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming at Fox News, said in a statement.

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A new survey of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling (D) finds that in the open Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl is retiring, former Sen. Russ Feingold could potentially have a lock on the Dem nomination if he wanted it -- but that former Gov. Tommy Thompson might face a competitive contest on the GOP side.

If Feingold were to run -- following his defeat for re-election after three terms, in the 2010 Republican wave -- the poll shows him starting out with a whopping 70% support in a Democratic primary, followed in a very distant second place of 12% by Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who has been eyeing the race, and several other names in single digits.

If Feingold did not run, Baldwin would start with 30%, followed by former Rep. Steve Kagen (who also lost in 2010) with 17%, Rep. Ron Kind with 16%, state Sen. Jon Erpenbach with 13%, and several others in single digits.

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There has been so much uproar in the last week over President Obama's statements about Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations beginning around 1967 borders - along with land swaps -- that TPM wanted to lay out the record on whether this policy really amounted to a shift - if even ever so slightly - from the policies of previous administrations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu flat-out rejected any return to 1967 boundaries a week ago Friday during a tense meeting at the White House, saying that such a plan was "indefensible." Days later, to rapturous applause at a joint session of Congress, he once again turned down any suggestion that Israel withdraw to its 1967 borders, although by then he and Obama appeared to have mended some fences after Obama gave a speech to the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee reiterating his commitment to Israel as close friend and ally.

But does Obama's position constitute a tangible shift in U.S. policy towards the peace process, or is it merely an affirmation of a long-recognized understanding?

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by Marian Wang, ProPublica

As part of their government-brokered bankruptcies, American auto giants Chrysler and General Motors were released of some legal liability for product defects, the Wall Street Journal reported today. As a result, the automakers do not have to pay out damages to car accident victims who had lawsuits pending or had already won damages before the companies filed for bankruptcy.

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Despite making virtually no noise about a presidential campaign, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) is the new frontrunner in the Republican primary, according to a CNN poll released today. But Giuliani's sudden emergence is less a sign of his strength than it is reminder of the nebulous nature of the GOP field, one which was thrown into flux recently with the news that Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump would not pursue White House bids.

In early polls of the race, support has generally ebbed and flowed among a handful of well-known candidates -- including Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich -- with little ground separating those in the top-tier. Huckabee and Trump each posted leads in a few national surveys, and with their departure, their supporters have sifted down to the remaining high-profile names.

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The words "voted to" could come back to haunt House Speaker John Boehner.

In his weekly Capitol briefing with reporters Thursday, Boehner made an unmistakably false claim. "The only people in Washington, DC who have voted to cut Medicare have been the Democrats when they voted to cut $500 billion in Medicare during Obamacare," he said. Given a chance to walk it back, Boehner's spokesman did not.

Even if you leave out the key modifier "voted to" this is far from true. Both parties have actually "cut" Medicare many times over the years. Republicans in particular haven't just voted for cuts, but passed legislation that presidents either signed or vetoed.

That happened repeatedly in the 1990s, as laid out in detail here. In late 1995 and early 1996, it precipitated a government shutdown. In 1997, it resulted in the Balanced Budget Act.

But if you leave the modifier in, this turns into a huge whopper.

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Last year the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United opened up the coffers of political action groups to corporate funds because the court found that companies -- just like people -- should be able to donate to political causes. Now a federal judge has ruled that based on that logic, corporations should be able to give directly to politicians just like human beings.

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Mitt Romney is poised to launch his campaign in Iowa on June 2 -- but interestingly enough, he's still not firmly committed to being in the state for its first major contest, the state GOP's non-binding straw poll in August.

The Des Moines Register reports:

Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney said in Ankeny this morning he's not sure yet if he'll be in Ames for the Iowa straw poll in August.

But once he officially announces his bid for the White House next week, he'll talk about it with his strategy team.

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