TPM News

Former President Bill Clinton spoke Monday morning to the International Association of Fire Fighters conference in Manhattan, The New York Observer's PolitickerNY reports -- and he had some tough words for the newest entrant into the GOP race for president, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

"I got tickled by watching Governor Perry announce for governor, for president," Clinton said -- perhaps stumbling a bit in the wind-up of a joke. "He's a good looking rascal."

The former president elaborated: "And he's saying 'Oh, I'm going to Washington to make sure that the federal government stays as far away from you as possible -- while I ride on Air Force One and that Marine One helicopter and go to Camp David and travel around the world and have a good time.' I mean, this is crazy."

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Since Barack Obama first came to office with plans to reform the country's healthcare system, conservative critics have derogatorily branded his policies as "Obamacare."

Speaking today in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, the President pushed back by embracing the term.

"I have no problem with folks saying 'Obama cares'," he told the crowd. "I do care."

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser was able to raise very large amounts of money during the recount that followed his very close re-election victory this past spring, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. And what's more, one of his key lawyers from that contest has pending business before the court.

Due to quirk of state election laws, the candidates were able to raise unlimited donations from individuals for the recount. Prosser raised over $270,000 in all, though in fact he still has some debt to pay off. (The largest donations were $50,000 each from Pennisylvania conservative activist John Templeton Jr., and his wife.)

None of the big donors have any cases pending before the court -- but if they do come to the court in the future, Prosser would not be required to recuse himself. In a contentious case in 2009, the court's 4-3 conservative majority adopted ethics rules stating that campaign contributions alone are not enough to force a judge from a case.

More interesting, though, is that Prosser's bills included $75,000 to the law firm headed up by Prosser's recount lawyer Jim Troupis -- who does have a case pending before the court, challenging state regulations of political speech, which will be argued on September 16. And for that case, Prosser will not be recusing himself.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) made a lot of hay last year with his contention that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and his suggestion that states should be allowed to abandon it for their own senior support systems before it's too late.

Less than a week after Perry announced his White House bid however, he's tempering that last idea a bit.

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When Google CEO Larry Page announced the company's landmark acquisition of Motorola Mobility Monday morning, he characterized the move as both a boost for competition in the mobile marketplace as well as a defensive one.

Calling Motorola an innovator that's used its intellectual property to drive innovation in the mobile marketplace for the past 80 years, Page said in a blog post that he's excited to work with Motorola to "accelerate innovation in this space."

At $12.5 billion, the acquisition is Google's biggest in its corporate history, and gets it Motorola's 17,000 patents.

But in his blog post, Page also claimed that Google has been a victim of anticompetitive behavior by Apple and Microsoft.

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Is the Tea Party in its waning days of influence in Washington? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) seems to think so.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid said "the Tea Party was the result of a terrible economy. I've said that many times, and I believe that."

"That (the tea party) will pass," Reid added. "They will lose a number of seats next year."

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The Wisconsin recalls -- in which Dems narrowly failed in their ambitious uphill effort to win control of the state Senate by targeting GOP incumbents -- aren't over just yet, with two more races on Tuesday targeting Democratic incumbents. And in the latest polling from Public Policy Polling (D), commissioned by Daily Kos, the two Dems are favored to win their races.

Of course, in a way these races have much lower stakes than last week's contests, in which Democrats gained two seats, short of the magic three needed to take control. But the question tomorrow is whether Dems will consolidate those gains, for a new Republican majority of just 17-16, or be busted back down to the 19-14 margin that existed at the start of the year.

In the 12th district, Democratic state Sen. Jim Holperin leads Republican Kim Simac by 55%-41%, with a ±2.6% margin of error. In the 22nd district, Democratic state Sen. Robert Wirch leads Republican Jonathan Steitz by 55%-42%, with a ±2.9% margin of error.

An obvious caveat is that these recall elections have been very unusual, lacking a normal statistical model to make projections, and are thus difficult to poll. With that said, PPP's pre-election polls for last week's races were within a few points of the actual results.

Herman Cain came in fifth place in the Iowa straw poll -- two positions back from third-place finisher Tim Pawlenty, who then quit the race. But not only is he sticking with it, Cain said during an appearance Monday morning on Fox News that he is excited about fifth place.

"Before I let you go, what's your next marker?" asked host Martha MacCallum. "You know, in terms of you looking forward, at what point do you decide, 'I'm in or out based on this date, or this victory, or this place?'"

"I will finish at number five in Iowa -- that's right where we want to be.," said Cain. "If we finish in the top five in New Hampshire, Martha, we will be ecstatic, because we're gonna put the same type of on the ground effort in New Hampshire that we did in Iowa, and we're also working South Carolina simultaneously.

"All right," MacCallum responded, "a determined Herman Cain."

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