TPM News

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is chiming in on the recent controversies involving a fellow potential presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, with some mild (but still quite clear) criticism -- that while he does respect her, she should watch what she says.

In an appearance on Good Morning America, Gingrich was asked by George Stephanopoulos about Palin's low approval ratings in recent opinion polls, and how she might turn it around. The recent "blood libel" flap involving Palin's response to accusations that her heated political rhetoric had contributed to the environment in which the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) occurred, was not directly mentioned, but it did seem to hang over the conversation.

"Well, I think that she's got to slow down and be a lot more careful, and think through what she's saying and how she's saying it," Gingrich responded. "There's no question that she's become more controversial. But she is still a phenomenon. I don't know anybody else in American politics who can put something on Twitter, or put something on Facebook, and automatically have it become a national story. So she remains, I think, a very formidable person in her own right."

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Sarah Palin may be reloading, but Americans are retreating from her--at least when it comes to how she responded to the shooting spree in Tucson that killed six and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in critical condition.

According to a new ABC-Washington Post poll, just 30% of Americans approve of Palin's response to the shooting, versus 46% who disapprove. That low approval is even more striking when compared to Americans' opinion of how Obama responded to the tragedy. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they approve of the President's response, while only 12% respondents said they disapprove.

Similarly, a PPP poll released this morning also found that a plurality of voters disapproved of Palin's response to the shooting. Forty percent of respondents to that poll said Palin's response was "inappropriate" compared to 27% who said it was appropriate.

And as Greg Sargent points out, not even a majority of Republicans think Palin handled her response well, according to the ABC-Washington Post poll. Forty-eight percent of Republicans said Palin handled the situation well, fewer than the 53% who said Palin's nemesis, the so-called "lame stream media," handled it well.

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The Supreme Court today rejected, without comment, a challenge to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington, D.C.

The rejection means the law will stand.

Bishop Harry Jackson, a pastor from Maryland, wanted the high court to hear his case against the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. The board refused to put a marriage initiative on the ballot, arguing that such a move would amount to discrimination.

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In a big development for the 2012 Senate races, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) is set to announce that he is retiring, the Washington Post reports -- opening up a red-state seat that could be very tough for the Dems to hold.

A moderate Democrat, Conrad was first elected to the Senate in 1986. He initially retired in 1992, but was then elected to the state's other Senate seat in a late 1992 special election -- making him the only person to have ever held both of his state's Senate seats during the same day, when he was sworn in from one to the other. He was re-elected easily in 1994, 2000 and 2006.

He was one of the Democrats who helped sink the public option during the health care reform debates, but also helped to provide the 60th vote to pass the health care bill that ultimately did pass and was signed into law by President Obama.

His historically Republican state took an even bigger swing to the right in the past year, though. His fellow Dem Senator Byron Dorgan retired, with Republican John Hoeven easily winning the seat, and Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy was defeated for re-election.

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Speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial breakfast in Boston yesterday, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) expressed support for bipartisan seating at the State of the Union. The one-time Tea Party poster boy minimized the importance of political affiliation, saying "people need to forget about the little itty-bitty letter behind my name and other people's names."

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Former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) is set to declare that she is running for the Senate seat now held by independent Sen. Joe Lieberman -- who, of course, still sits as a member of the Senate Democratic caucus.

The Connecticut Mirror reports:

A friend briefed on her Senate plans said that Bysiewicz, who won statewide races for secretary of the state in 1998, 2002 and 2006, intends to circulate a pollster's memorandum detailing findings that she remains well-known and popular.

Her announcement is likely to nudge U.S. Reps. Chris Murphy and Joe Courtney, who also are considering a run for the Democratic nomination for Senate, toward a decision.

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A new cable TV ad, running nationwide on CNN and in D.C. on all news channels, highlights the fact that Republicans want to repeal a law that provides regular people the same health benefits they receive as members of Congress.

"The Affordable Care Act gave your family the same health protections members of Congress get," the ad says. "But Republicans want to take that protection away from your family."

Complete with sad-looking baby in the background!

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Clinton Postpones Trip To Charlotte

In a statement released Friday evening, Hillary Clinton's campaign announced that the Democratic nominee…