TPM News

Anti-abortion advocates are finally starting to open up about the controversial abortion law that's working its way through the House. To critics that noted the law's "forcible rape" language would deny abortion coverage to statutory rape victims they say this: you're right, it wouldn't.

But anti-abortion advocates claim that the change in the language of federal law would not actually constitute a chance in policy.

In an interview with the anti-abortion site LifeNews, Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, admits the language in the House's No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act "would not allow general federal funding of abortion on all under-age pregnant girls."

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When a man showed up at eight Planned Parenthood clinics in five states within five days, claiming that he ran an underage sex trafficking ring, Planned Parenthood reported it to the FBI. They also figured it was probably a "hoax" in which anti-abortion types were trying to catch clinic employees saying something damning on tape.

Planned Parenthood was right. Today, Live Action, an anti-abortion group run by James O'Keefe associate Lila Rose, posted a video it claims shows a Planned Parenthood employee in New Jersey instructing a "pimp" on how to get his underage and illegal immigrant sex workers STD testing and abortions.

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In late 2008, one of Fox News' top editors escalated his efforts to have the network portray then-Senator Barack Obama as a socialist and an anti-white racist during the waning days of the presidential election.

On October 27, 2008, then news-editor Bill Sammon emailed colleagues with references in Obama's first book Dreams From My Father to socialism, Marxism and Obama's past relationship with a white woman.

That email, obtained by Media Matters, was subject-lined "fyi: Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists in his autobiography, 'Dreams from My Father.' Plus a couple of his many self-described 'racial obsessions'..."

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Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who very narrowly lost the hotly-disputed 2008 Minnesota Senate race, has announced that he will not challenge the state's other senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, in 2012.

"I'm not going to run against Amy Klobuchar," said on ABC's Top Line Web show. "I've said in other forums that I haven't ruled out public service -- my heart's in public service. At some point, but not in 2012. I love what I do now, and that is developing center-right policy."

Coleman currently heads up his own conservative group, the American Action Network, which according its website "is a 501(c)(4) 'action tank' that will create, encourage and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security."

A survey in December by Public Policy Polling (D) gave Klobuchar an approval rating of 59%, with disapproval at only 29%. The same poll also showed her leading all hypothetical Republican opponents, including a 54%-40% advantage over Coleman.

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If Mike Huckabee decides to seek the Republican Party's presidential nomination, a new PPP poll shows that he'd be poised to claim the key primary state of South Carolina--that is, unless the state's conservative Senator Jim DeMint enters the race as well.

When PPP polled the state with a slate of potential candidates that didn't include DeMint, Huckabee came out on top with 26% of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney at 20%, Sarah Palin at 18%, and Newt Gingrich at 13%.Yet when DeMint was added to the mix, Huckabee's support fell to 20%, dropping him to second place behind DeMint, who garnered 24% of the vote.

Adding DeMint did not shake up the order of the other candidates, with each moving one slot down to accommodate the new front runner. In that scenario, Romney's support dipped to 17%, with Palin (12%) and Gingrich (10%) losing some supporters to DeMint as well.

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Newly-elected Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is putting all the bad news right out there. With the RNC releasing a year-end federal report showing over $21 million in debt, he simultaneously put out a statement saying that fully-adjusted numbers would ultimately show that it's even worse -- that is, he has an even bigger hole to dig out of.

"While the year-end FEC report reveals the Republican National Committee is $21 million in debt, I believe it is best to get out all the facts as we know them associated with our financial position," Priebus said in a statement. "To date, the committee has approximately $23 million in debt: $15 million in loans, and $8 million owed to vendors."

Priebus also implicitly put the blame on his predecessor as chairman, Michael Steele, who he defeated this past January. In the statement, Priebus says that prior fundraising operations were very inefficient:

"The RNC transition team is committed to improving the committee's financial situation in two areas: lowering costs of raising small donations and restoring the trust of major donors in the Republican Party. The RNC did raise nearly $105 million in 2010 mainly through low-dollar solicitations online and in the mail, but the costs to raise it were simply too high at approximately 64 cents for every dollar raised. Even more troubling, our major donor programs are at 10-year lows.

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is still being asked about his lawsuit, settled last week, over an olive pit in a Capitol Hill cafeteria sandwich that destroyed one of his teeth.

In an appearance Monday night on Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show, Kucinich elaborated (again) on the extent of his mouth injuries, also explaining that his public appearances post-injury were done without knowledge of the extent of the damage until an infection set in, and that multiple dental implants were done with varying success.

"This was a very difficult series of dental and medical events that I had to deal with," said Kucinich. "I didn't ask for it. It just happened. But I'm glad it's over. And it really is resolved. And it was resolved amicably, which is the way that I like to resolve disputes."

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John Bolton, who served at the ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush, visited On the Record With Greta Van Susteren to talk about about the ongoing protests in Egypt.

The wisdom that he brought to the discussion? That opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who headed the International Atomic Energy Agency for 12 years, is "a dilettante."

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Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential presidential candidate who is trying to elevate his profile (such as his recent action movie trailer-style Web video) is also stepping up his tough-guy rhetoric -- calling President Obama "chicken" on entitlement spending.

In an appearance Monday on Fox & Friends, Pawlenty criticized Obama's State of the Union address for not proposing clear solutions for Social Security's fiscal situation, such as Pawlenty's ideas of means-testing cost-of-living adjustments and raising the retirement age for future entrants. (As we've posted before, means-testing would be somewhat left-wing, as it would have the effect of redistributing wealth.)

"Most American people understand we got a problem. Those are reasonable solutions. You could rally people to that cause," said Pawlenty. "But he didn't even tee it up. He won't even address it. You know he's got all this soaring rhetoric, but the fact of the matter is he's chicken to address the real issues."

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At a hearing today, Colleen LaRose, the Pennsylvania woman facing terrorism charges and allegedly known as 'Jihad Jane' online, is expected to change her plea to guilty, CNN reports. The government alleges that LaRose used the Internet to recruit people for violent global Jihad, and that she planned to murder the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

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