TPM News

Today in slow news days, "the best political news team on television" took on this pressing question: Is Warren Buffett's tax "compromise" good or just plain politics?

Never mind that Buffett is not, in fact, a politician, CNN devoted its "talkback" segment to this pressing issue. Buffett, the mega-rich CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, in a New York Times op-ed on Monday called on Congress to raise his taxes and those of his super-rich friends.

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Rick Perry has had an eventful four days. On the heels of his official announcement, first appearances as a candidate seeking the GOP nomination and even his first splash with a controversial position, Perry has impressed a lot of Republican voters: a new national Rasmussen survey has him taking the lead in the GOP primary, far outside the margin of error.

The poll shows that Perry is now the first choice of 29 percent of the GOP voters surveyed, with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney with 18 percent, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in third with 13 percent. As with any nomination process, state polling in the first contests will be of the most importance. But Perry's surge past the rest of the field is remarkable: by contrast, Bachmann showed more and more strength in national polls as her campaign ramped up, but only overtook Romney in one poll, by a single point.

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Is it still possible for Wisconsin Democrats to recall Gov. Scott Walker, following their narrow failure last week to take control of the state Senate via recall elections? New survey numbers from Public Policy Polling (D) suggests that the answer is unclear -- and a lot would seemingly depend on whether they can recruit a top candidate, such as former Sen. Russ Feingold.

Walker's approval rating is still underwater, with 45% approval to 53% disapproval. However, a later question asked: "Would you support or oppose recalling Scott Walker from office before his term is up?" The answer was 47% support, to 50% oppose -- down slightly from a 50%-47% support margin in a PPP survey from late May, though both are within the margin of error.

However, Wisconsin recalls do not function as an up-or-down vote on the incumbent. Instead, if a number of people equal to 25% of the number of votes in the last gubernatorial election were to sign petitions (plus a buffer for disqualified signatures), then the election would be called. At that point, it would effectively become a special election, with the incumbent challenged by other candidates.

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Last month we brought you the story of Ohio State Sen. Kris Jordan (R), who was involved in a bit of a contretemps with his wife. Although she wound up not pressing any charges, the wife's 911 call during the incident included the worrying line, "He's mad; he's got the gun."

The Columbus Dispatch got hold of the police recording from when they arrived at the house. The audio contains a great little explanation from State Sen. Jordan about what happened:

"She got a little upset. Girls do that."

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GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says Republicans are going to have a hard time blocking an extension of the payroll tax holiday.

"I think it's very hard not to keep the payroll tax cut in this economy," Gingrich said in a presentation at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "I don't know what Republicans are going to say but I think it's very hard to say 'no.' We're going to end up in a position where we're gonna raise taxes on the lowest income Americans the day they go to work and make life harder for small businesses."

He's referring to a stimulative, two percent payroll tax holiday President Obama negotiated when he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts in December. It's set to expire at the end of the year, and it's one of the economic growth proposals President Obama has called on Congress to pass when they return from August recess.

"I do think that it's a serious challenge to not extend it," Gingrich added.

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Civil rights groups are worried that Republicans running redistricting in Texas are breaking the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting Hispanic voting strength. So too, apparently, were the Republicans themselves.

Emails recently released by a federal judge in the course of a lawsuit over the redistricting map drawn by Texas Republicans show those involved in the redistricting process were worried that DOJ or a federal court wouldn't approve their plan. As they worked on the plan in the spring and early summer, at least one GOPer expressed concerns that the feds would say they didn't do enough to strengthen the voting power of Hispanic residents of the state even though the population of Hispanic residents ballooned over 90 percent between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

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Rick Perry is standing by his remarks about Fed Chair Ben Bernanke's "ugly" reception in Texas should he enact "treasonous" expansionary monetary policies before the election.

"He is passionate about getting federal finances under control," Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan told the New York Times in an interview. "They shouldn't print more money, they should cut spending and move much more rapidly to a balanced budget."

Perry has come under fire, even from some fellow Republicans, for his intimidating talk against Bernanke.

"I know there's a lot of talk and what have you about if this guy prints more money between now and the election," Perry said in Iowa on Monday. "I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas." He added that it would be "almost treasonous" to print money ahead of the 2012 election to help boost the recovery.

But as his spokesman's affirmation suggests, there is political upside as well: a fight over the Fed could be difficult territory for the more Wall Street friendly Mitt Romney.