TPM News

Could Texas Gov. Rick Perry be the shot of Texas-style Christianity the lackluster 2012 field needs? Sounds like we'll soon find out.

"I'm not ready to tell you that I'm ready to announce that I'm in," Perry told the Des Moines Register over the weekend. "But I'm getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I've been called to do. This is what America needs."

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The Conservative anonymous-money giant Crossroads GPS is spending $1.4 million on ads targeting Democrats on spending, part of a $20 million summer ad blitz.

The TV spots are running in 10 districts and vary slightly from lawmaker to lawmaker, although they mostly focus on the 2009 stimulus bill and past debt limit votes. Notably, the ads do not stake out a specific position on the current debt limit fight, which is proving increasingly divisive for the party as Republicans in the House and Senate struggle to find a unified voice.

CBS News released a poll Monday morning outlining Americans' response to the ongoing negotiations on raising the debt ceiling, and one thing is clear: everyone involved is taking a hit.

71% of respondents disapproved of Republicans' handling of the debt talks, with only 21% approving. But beyond the lack of general buy-in to their legislative tactics, CBS reports that they even face a challenge in convincing their own base.

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Freshman Minnesota Congressman Chip Cravaack, a Republican who defeated long-time Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar in a massive upset during the 2010 Republican wave, will now be traveling frequently to New Hampshire. But it's not because he's running for president -- in fact, his family is moving there.

As the Star Tribune reports, Cravaack's wife Traci works as an executive at a medical company, and her job has involved frequent travel to Boston. She has just gotten a promotion and will now be moving to New England.

For his part, Cravaack is leaving their old house, but also buying another home in the district and thus maintaining residency in Minnesota as required by the Constitution. He will maintain his in-district work schedule in Minnesota, but also plans to travel to New Hampshire in order to his family on his Sundays off.

Tim Pawlenty is dropping big money in Iowa, confirming that the caucus is still his top priority despite a weak start in the polls and recent quotes downplaying the state's importance.

The ex-Minnesota governor recently booked $200,000 in TV ad time, according to the AP, and is on pace to spend $430,000 by mid-August. The Ames Straw Poll, a traditional test of candidates' organizational strength, is August 13. Pawlenty has spent the most on ads so far as the race's money leader, Mitt Romney, has sat out the air wars.

In addition to the new TV buy, recent FEC filings show Pawlenty spent the most on Iowa vendors of any candidate: about $200,000.

The big challenge for Pawlenty in the short term is stealing some of Minnesota rival Michele Bachmann's thunder, who is currently leading multiple polls in the state.

What seemed like a quick end to Minnesota's government shutdown is proving to take a bit longer.

Lawmakers worked over the weekend on language that reflects the budget deal Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers agreed upon last week. The deal is a compromise on a GOP budget offer made on June 30, just before the state's shutdown. It involves delaying more money to K-12 and borrowing money from future tobacco payments. Critics describe it as a quick fix, not a long-term budget solution.

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When it comes to the polling around a debt ceiling deal Americans are clear: they want the government know...fix it.

Even the concept of avoiding default is colored by how public polling questions are asked, and whether a solution is proposed. A recent Pew/Washington Post survey showed that 75% of Americans were concerned that not raising the ceiling would lead to default and hurt the nation's economy. But when Gallup asked whether a voter's congressperson should actually vote to raise the debt ceiling, only 22% said yes, with 42% giving a firm no.

What the government should do to address the situation is somewhat murky, but some trends have appeared. Gallup showed, in a very general question, that 62% favor addressing the debt with either mostly spending cuts or an equal balance of cuts and new revenue. And when it comes to taxes as part of the deal, it depends on how you ask the question.

When Rasmussen simply asked "As part of legislation to raise the debt ceiling, should congress and the president raise taxes?", 55% of Americans, predictably, said no. But when Quinnipiac asked "Do you think any agreement to raise the national debt ceiling should include only spending cuts or should it also include an increase in taxes for the wealthy and corporations?" then 67% said yes, showing a swing when there was a clear definition of whose taxes would actually be raised.

But past any solution to the immediate problem, multiple polls showed that future spending is a major concern. The same Pew/Washington Post poll showed that a plurality of Americans are actually more concerned with the consequences of raising the debt ceiling, i.e. allowing the government borrow more money, rather than the immediate concern about default. The Quinnipiac survey showed a similar result: 43% responded that "raising the debt limit would lead to higher government spending" was a bigger concern than "not raising the debt limit would force the government into default and hurt the nation's economy." Gallup produced the same, with only 32% saying averting disaster was the key component of a debt ceiling deal, and 51% saying raising the ceiling without a plan to cut spending is more worrisome.

So Americans want a deal. And most want a balanced deal with more cuts than new revenues. But the debate has clearly seared an aversion to future spending, and looks as though raising the debt ceiling will never truly be a formality again.