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A little less than a month ago, a conservative-leaning policy think tank in Michigan took advantage of the labor strife in Wisconsin to call on three state-run universities to hand over emails related to the Wisconsin protests and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, written by labor studies professors.

So far, the emails from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University-- requested by the Mackinac Center For Public Policy under the Michigan Freedom Of Information Act -- haven't been handed over. But that could soon change.

According to Mackinac, all three schools have begun the process of compliance with the FOIA request. TPM was able to confirm that's the case with one school, the University of Michigan. Despite a recent email from the president of that university to faculty touting a strong defense of academic freedom, a spokesperson told TPM Michigan law requires the school to push forward with collecting and vetting the emails before possibly turning them over to Mackinac.

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who is exploring a run for president, has written a guest piece in the National Catholic Register, explaining how it was that he, a former Southern Baptist, converted to Catholicism. As part of his journey, Gingrich largely credits the influence of his wife, Callista.

"I am often asked when I chose to become Catholic," Gingrich writes. "However, it is more truthful to say that over the course of several years I gradually became Catholic and then decided one day to accept the faith I had already come to embrace.

"My wife, Callista, is a lifelong Catholic and has been a member of the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. Although I was Southern Baptist, I had attended Mass with Callista every Sunday at the basilica to watch her sing with the choir."

Gingrich married Callista, his third wife, in 2000, following a relationship between the two that began several years earlier during Gingrich's second marriage.

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Authorities in Ohio are investigating whether a barn fire that killed eight horses, which was ruled arson, was also a hate crime.

The barn was owned by Brent Whitehouse, who may have been targeted because of his sexuality. The barn's remains were been spray-painted with epithets like "fags are freaks" and "burn in hell." The State Fire Marshal's Office said in a statement that "in addition to the fire, investigators are also looking into messages painted on the barn and barn doors prior to the fire."

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A spokeswoman for Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who reportedly funneled more than $236 million in federal funds to nonprofit groups he created since 2000, is slamming the watchdog group which issued a report critical of Rogers and claiming that it is the "duty" of members of Congress to "help constituents navigate Washington's vast bureaucracies."

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Conservative activist Pamela Geller says the first amendment protects her right to run anti-Islam advertisements on Detroit buses. The local transit authority disagrees. Cue a year-long battle over free speech, with the ball now (temporarily) back in the hands of the bus company.

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President Obama knows all too well what it's like to feel the wrath of rankling his base by embracing compromise with Republicans on one of their ideological positions. That's why he didn't hesitate when House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) appeared to open the door -- just a crack -- to the idea of ending payments to oil companies in an interview with ABC News released Monday afternoon.

Boehner's office spent all day dialing back the bosses' comments.

"We have pointed out for years that raising costs for energy producers will raise costs for consumers," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told TPM. "And we want to 'take a look' at anything that lowers gas prices - but the President's proposal won't do that."

But the damage was already done and the rest of the GOP leadership team was forced to quickly putty over any cracks appearing on the surface -- real or perceived -- while Obama did his best to exploit any divisions.

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The former director of the Congressional Budget Office, and chief economic policy adviser to John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign, says Congress has to raise the debt limit, and soon.

"I think that ultimately Congress has to raise the debt limit," Doug Holtz-Eakin told me after moderating an event on Capitol Hill. "We have to be good stewards of the nation's credit rating [and] doing it sooner is better than later."

In an escalation of legislative brinksmanship over raising the debt limit, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told Politico Monday that he might not hold a vote on it at all, if he can't get buy-in from Democrats on serious spending cuts.

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Another top Republican has admitted what few members of his own party will admit. In fact, it's the toppest-Republican.

According to Speaker John Boehner, the House Republican budget, which passed on April 15, "transforms Medicare into a plan that's very similar to the President's own healthcare bill."

That's from an interview with ABC's Jon Karl. Boehner joins Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) as one of the few high-profile elected Republicans who will admit that the GOP's Medicare privatization plan is similar in many key respects to the health care law they have spent the last two years demonizing.

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Clinton Postpones Trip To Charlotte

In a statement released Friday evening, Hillary Clinton's campaign announced that the Democratic nominee…