TPM News

The top Mormon in the Democratic party weighed in today on the top two Mormons in the Republican party, both of whom are running for President. And he has a strong preference for one over the other.

Asked by a reporter at his weekly Capitol press conference Tuesday afternoon if the country is ready for a Mormon President, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pivoted to pure Mitt Romney bashing.

"I feel very comfortable that they're not ready for the former Governor of Massachusetts," he said. "In that race, if I had a choice I would favor [Jon] Huntsman over Romney. But I don't have a choice in that race."

Reid explained his stance, challenging Romney's integrity.

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by Marian Wang, ProPublica

The banking industry stands to lose billions in debit card transaction fees after losing one of its biggest lobbying battles this year--but for the banks, that was just Round One. 

The industry had for months lobbied lawmakers to kill or delay regulations limiting the fees that banks get from retailers whenever a debit card is used. Earlier this month, a bill to delay the rules failed to pass in the Senate--disappointing the banks and delighting retailers who will save some revenue to either pocket, pass on to consumers in lower prices, or spend on their businesses some other way.

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by Marian Wang ProPublica

In the wake of Fukushima, story after story has been published about the cozy relationship between Japan's nuclear industry and its regulators: Japanese nuclear regulators extended the use of reactors despite concerns about equipment upkeep and left key safety measures to the initiative of plant operators, as many have reported in the months since.

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Troubled by Gov. Chris Christie's (R) deep cuts to education spending and his push to cut state employees' benefits, a plurality of voters in the Garden State now disapprove of the the governor's job performance, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday.

That finding comes as Christie and his allies in the state legislature are pushing through sweeping changes to public workers' benefits, including a big increase in the amount of money employees must directly pay toward pension and health programs. Those proposed changes prompted hundreds of people to protest outside the State House in recent weeks, and now, it seems they've also dragged down the approval rating of a governor who was once quite popular with his constituents.

In the poll, 47% of registered voters said they disapproved of Christie's job performance, compared to 44% who said they approved of it. Though Christie's approval rating is barely underwater, it's still the worst showing he's ever posted in Quinnipiac's surveys, continuing a downward trend that began most markedly at the start of this year when Christie began to push for deep budget cuts and sweeping changes to public employees' benefits.

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says raising the debt limit should be a one-time deal this Congress, exposing a rift between House and Senate GOP leadership, and putting the squeeze on Democrats to agree to vast, unpopular spending cuts within the next two weeks.

"I don't see how multiple votes on a debt ceiling increase can help get us to where we want to go," Cantor told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing. "It is my preference that we do this thing one time."

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New Gingrich's struggling presidential campaign has suffered another setback as members of his fundraising team called it quits on Tuesday, according to the AP.

The AP reported that campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed fundraising director Jody Thomas and fundraising consultant Mary Heitman stepped down from the campaign.

Via the AP:

People familiar with Gingrich's campaign spending say his fundraising has been weak since he launched his bid and that he has racked up large travel bills. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk openly about campaign inner workings.

Those defections are the latest blow to Gingrich's campaign, which already suffered a mass defection just weeks earlier when 16 top aides simultaneously jumped ship.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pleaded with GOP colleagues Tuesday not to tie President Obama's hands when it comes to U.S. military action in Libya, reminding them it could come back to haunt future Republican presidents.

"We are all entitled to our opinions about Libya policy, but here are the facts: [Libyan leader Muammar] Qaddafi is going to fall. It is just a matter of time. So I would ask my colleagues: Is this the time for Congress to turn against this policy?" he said in a lengthy statement on the Senate floor. "Is this the time to ride to the rescue of a failing tyrant when the writing is on the wall that he will collapse?"

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