TPM News

The Federal Election Commission gets it -- Stephen Colbert is punking them. But the FEC treated the Comedy Central host's request for an advisory opinion like anyone else, and on Thursday granted him the ability to form a "super PAC."

Their ruling allows his parent company Viacom to pay for most of their "coverage" of Colbert Super PAC's activities under a press exemption without having to disclose such expenditures as in-kind donations.

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Massachusetts state Rep. John Binienda (D) apologized Thursday for comparing a proposal to make lobbyists wear badges when talking to lawmakers to Adolf Hitler's forced tattooing of Jews during the Holocaust.

"Yesterday, I made an inappropriate analogy regarding a proposed change to the House Rules," he said in a statement. "No comparison can be made between the Nazi regime and a rules proposal made by members in good faith. I apologize to the sponsors as well as the people of Massachusetts for my words and look forward to working with the sponsors on these proposals."

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Washington's perennial saga of escalating gimmickry continues Tuesday as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pulls the ol' "same-day invite the President to the Capitol" trick.

Shortly after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) canceled next week's Independence Day recess -- a bit of Kabuki in its own right -- McConnell took the Senate floor to set himself up with an opportunity to criticize President Obama for rejecting an invitation to have some real talk about the debt limit in order to attend a political fundraiser.

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Mitt Romney's campaign is up with a new web video about Allentown Metal Works, a Pennsylvania factory that closed up shop after President Obama visited it in 2009 to tout his economic agenda.

Romney has focused like a laser on the country's high unemployment in recent months, making the heavily disputed claim that the White House's policies made the recession even worse. He's scheduled to speak in Allentown today.

Video after the jump:

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Time magazine's Mark Halperin has been suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst for MSNBC, after he called President Obama a "dick" on Morning Joe for his confrontational performance vis-a-vis Congressional Republicans at Wednesday's press conference:

MSNBC issued a statement containing comments from both the channel and from Halperin:

Statement from MSNBC:

Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.

Statement from Mark Halperin:

I completely agree with everything in MSNBC's statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.

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One of America's foremost climate change skeptics, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) says Al Gore (one of the nation's foremost climate change believers) is right in saying that President Obama has backed off when it comes to selling climate change to the electorate.

Inhofe says climate skeptics like him are partially responsible for the change. And he also warns that the shift is only skin-deep.

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An emergency hearing Wednesday determined Jared Lee Loughner will continue to be be given psychotropic medication against his will. Reuters reports that a court filing urged the motion due to behavior that was "either intended or reasonably likely to cause physical harm to another," which included spitting on his attorney and throwing chairs at the prison psychologist.

The alleged Tucson shooter is on trial for killing 6 people and wounding 14 others, including Rep. Gabriel Giffords (D-AZ), who made her first public appearance since the January shooting at a NASA space center in Houston on Monday.

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Quarterly fundraising totals are due today and Mitt Romney is the first to put out some confirmed numbers: $15 to $20 million, according to a campaign source.

The quarterly cash gives him a total of between $25 and $35 million raised overall. While Romney's haul is expected to easily outpace the rest of the field, the numbers fall short of the huge figures some fundraisers had touted to the press in recent months and are roughly in line with his quarterly performance in 2008, when he was less established as a frontrunner. In March, one fundraiser raised the bar as high as $50 million by the early summer filing deadline in an interview with the WSJ. Expectations were further boosted after he raised over $10 million at one Vegas event.

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