TPM News

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D), who took over as Governor in West Virginia after Sen. Joe Manchin (D) won a special election after the passing of Robert Byrd, is up by ten points on businessman Bill Maloney in an internal poll sponsored by the Democratic Governor’s Association. The special election is set for October 4th.

A new study from the University of Washington suggests that social media, in the form of millions of tweets, played a "central role" leading up to the revolutionary movements that toppled dictators in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year.

Philip Howard, an associate professor of communication at UW, headed the research team that analyzed more than three million tweets along with several thousand videos and blog posts to produce the study, titled "Opening Closed Regimes: What Was the Role of Social Media During the Arab Spring?"

Also contributing to the PITPI study were Muzammil Hussain, Will Mari, and Marwa Mazaid of UW, Deen Freelon of American University, and Aiden Duffy of Amazon Web Services.

"Digital media is clearly used for catching dictators off guard," Howard said in a conversation with TPM's Idea Lab. "Most dictators don't have social media strategies."

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Republicans rushed to denounce President Obama's changes to No Child Left Behind in anticipation of the official unveiling Friday morning, deeming the overhaul just another government power grab by Washington.

In a White House ceremony, Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will announce a new plan to allow states to seek waivers on the NCLB requirement for school proficiency by 2014. But in order to qualify for the exceptions, states must follow education policy changes dictated by the administration.

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Count Florida state Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D) as another opponent of a state law requiring welfare applicants to take a drug test.

This week, the senator filed a bill to repeal the law, saying the legislation "kicks people when they're down."

"This is not what America is supposed to be about," Joyner told TPM. The law is an "assault on poor people," she said, who need help and have swallowed their pride and asked for assistance. "And we denigrate them," she said.

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It's a political golden oldie. Should partisan voters go with ideological purity or the candidate with the best chance of winning? Unfortunately, that only works when you've correctly identified the most electable candidate, and it doesn't look like GOP voters have done that yet.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry came into the GOP race as a savior for conservatives. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) didn't look particularly viable, and other candidates had flamed out. Perry brought Texas swagger and a right wing record to the race, and thus the Tea Party wing of the GOP flocked to him. But while that might be the way to win a Republican primary, the question for those Republicans who want to be strategic with their vote is whether Perry could pivot to a general election audience. And some recent polling shows that former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney is much more equipped for that transition, despite what Republican voters may think at the moment.

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The LA Times reports that the LAPD is investigating an incident at an Obama campaign office in Westside. According to LAPD spokeswoman Sara Faden, the person who called in the incident “reported hearing glass breaking and noticed that windows were broken.” Apparently, the perpetrators utilized both BB-gun pellets and threw an object into the office as well.

The president is due to visit Los Angeles for a fund raiser in just a few days time.

In a statement Friday morning, Mitt Romney’s campaign announced the endorsement of Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN).

“Mitt Romney has proven that he has the much-needed experience to lead the country toward an economic recovery,“ wrote Rokita. "While President Obama has failed to control spending and get the economy moving, Mitt Romney has a record of cutting taxes, keeping spending low, and creating jobs. Mitt Romney’s record speaks for itself and that is why I support his bid for the presidency.”

The public rift between Pakistan and the United States showed signs of deepening on Friday, with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar blasting Joints Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen’s assertion on Thursday that the ISI is closely tied with the Haqqani network.

As European markets continued their tumble on Friday, talk of a possible Greek default gained pace.

During last night’s debate, in a moment reminiscent of Nixon’s “Checkers” line, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) claimed that he was lobbied to mandate HPV vaccines for 12 year-old girls.

“I got lobbied on this issue. I got lobbied by a 31 year old young lady who had stage 4 cervical cancer,” the governor claimed.

Now ABC News is reporting that Perry did indeed meet with the woman, named Heather Burchman. What the candidate left out, however, was that he met her after he had already passed the executive order.