TPM News

Some recent headlines have suggested that President Obama is losing support with women, who have consistently given him higher marks than men right since his 2008 election. "Women no longer are a bright spot for Obama," the AP commented in a write up of its own poll, which showed that the President was below 50 percent approval with both women and men. But these numbers, from what is the lowest point in the President's term ratings-wise, are neither different from other surveys, nor are they the whole story.

Women voters have provided the buffer for Obama's overall approval rating, which has been stubbornly high even though the President faced a number of challenges over the last two and a half years, economic and otherwise. A look back at some major polls show that men as a group have shifted greatly from Obama, from the highs of his early Presidency to below 40 percent. But despite some headlines, women voters have generally stuck with the President and they don't seem ready to fire him yet.

On the face of it you wouldn't get that impression from one of the main polling stories of this past week: the fact that female support in the Gallup tracking poll of Obama's approval hit a weekly low of 41 percent. But here's why that's not giving a complete picture.

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On the eve of the ten year anniversary of 9/11, the Pew Research Center has released new data on Americans' reaction to the attacks, and the foreign and national security policies pursued in the post 9/11 era. They show a country with views that have evolved on the relationship between civil liberties and the tools given to government to fight terrorism, and a disbelief that the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan helped to lessen the chance there will be another terrorist attack on the United States.

The Pew survey showed a large shift in the number of Americans who are willing to see some of their civil liberties go out the window in the name of fighting terrorism. Directly after 9/11, Americans were willing to make the deal, as 55 percent thought it was necessary, against 35 percent who felt the opposite. Now, only 40 percent felt that giving up some civil liberties is necessary to curb terrorism, with 54 percent against.

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It's official: Comcast now owns NBC Universal after a federal judge in Washington approved the controversial $30 billion acquisition late Thursday.

But in doing so, DC District Court Judge Richard J. Leon also expressed concern over the government's ability to enforce the conditions put on the merger, and he imposed several new measures of his own.

The deal allows Comcast, the nation's single largest cable television company and home internet service provider, to purchase a 51 percent majority stake in NBC Universal, one of the nation's largest media production companies.

Together, they form the largest media company in the U.S. pulling in over $51 billion in revenue.

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Federal prosecutors maintained in a filing on Thursday that Jack Abramoff crony Kevin Ring should face 17 to 22 years in jail because he is "is not entitled to the benefits, or leniency, enjoyed by his co-conspirators who stood in a very different position in 2005 to 2008 than he does in 2011."

Ring's lawyers had argued that the tough sentence the Justice Department has sought against him -- which exceeds the time served by all 20 other defendants in the conspiracy combined -- was a form of retaliation for his decision to go to trial and not plead guilty like many of his co-conspirators.

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FOX News came out with a new poll Thursday evening that confirmed the numbers from other polls showing Texas Gov. Rick Perry shooting to the top of the GOP field in the race for the party's presidential nomination. Unfortunately for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), it seems that much of Perry's success is coming at her loss.

Perry leads with 26 percent of GOP voters, followed by now chief rival Mitt Romney at 18 percent. Bachmann, who had been reaching second place in national polls before the entrance of Perry in the race, was relegated to being the first choice of only 4 percent of Republicans.

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It's not looking good for Democrats in New York's 9th district, where voters will determine Anthony Weiner's successor on September 13th. A Republican-commissioned poll shows the race tied after a week in which Democratic nominee David Weprin fluffed a question on the size of the national debt.

The poll, by McLaughlin & Associates, found a 42-42 tie between Weprin and Republican Bob Turner among 300 likely voters surveyed. A poll last month by Siena University showed Weprin with a 46-40 lead, and even that was enough to raise alarm bells in the Democratic-leaning district.

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A new pre-Labor Day drama has begun and it's not playing on your television screen.

It's the negotiating dance between content owners and distributors. One new episode started playing out Thursday when Starz Entertainment's CEO Chris Albrecht issued a statement saying that Starz has walked out of negotiations with Netflix.

"Starz Entertainment has ended contract renewal negotiations with Netflix. When the agreement expires on February 28, 2012, Starz will cease to distribute its content on the Netflix streaming platform," Albrecht said in a Thursday statement.

Starz, the premium movie cable channel, owns the online rights to movies from two of the biggest Hollywood studios: Disney and Sony.

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The hits just keep on coming for the Pima County, AZ Republican Party, which is in hot water this week after fundraising in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D) Tucson-area district with a raffle giveaway of a Glock handgun -- the same make of weapon used in the Giffords shooting in January.

Late Thursday, the Democratic leader of the Arizona state House -- where Giffords once served as a legislator -- took deep offense at the raffle, and called on the Pima GOP to end it immediately.

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Updated: September 2, 2011, 2 p.m. ET

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a conservative, is responding to criticism from the court's liberals, regarding his allegation to investigators that liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley hit him during a court meeting on September 18, 2008 -- a date when the court did not meet. Gableman's answer is that he is correcting a lapse of memory: It did happen on September 18 -- but in 2009.

Gableman made the allegation during the investigation of a physical altercation in June, about which Bradley accused Justice David Prosser, the leader of the court's conservatives, of grabbing her neck in a "chokehold." Prosser replied to investigators that Bradley charged at him, and he reflexively put up his hands to block her, accidentally making contact with her neck. Ultimately, no charges were filed.

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Three years ago the United States endured a fake controversy centered on then-candidate Barack Obama, whose then-friend and mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright had years earlier boomed "GOD DAMN AMERICA!" during a crowded sermon at his influential Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The imbroglio dominated campaign coverage for days, and presaged a public rift between the two men, and Obama's memorable Philadelphia speech on race.

Imagine for a moment that Obama, not Wright, had uttered those words, during his presidency, not his campaign, and you'll have a sense for what Italy's dealing with right now.

Here's a report from The Guardian:

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