TPM News

Likely Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee mauled President Obama's decision to halt the Justice Department's legal defenses of DOMA at a roundtable lunch with reporters on Wednesday. In defense of his position, he claimed a public mandate for the controversial Clinton-era law, and linked same sex marriage to the failure of heterosexual marriages.

"I'm deeply disappointed," Huckabee said. "They are clearly out of sync with the public."

Huckabee noted that 33 states have affirmed, via ballot initiatives, that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

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MADISON, WI -- Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) held a tense press conference Wednesday afternoon, following the revelation that he had a 20-minute phone conversation with a prank caller pretending to be Republican financier David Koch, a call in which Walker and "Koch" discussed possible ways to disrupt the protests against his budget bill, and to bring the Democrats back to the Capitol.

The presser took place in the governor's press room, with the thick, wooden double doors closed in order to block out the ever-present sounds of the protesters inside the Capitol.

Walker started off by taking shots at the 14 state Senate Democrats who have left the state, in order to block the three-fifths majority needed for a budget quorum. "I'm here today working. I appreciated the fact that the state Assembly is here today debating the budget repair bill, and I appreciate that Senate Republicans are in the Capitol preparing to debate a number of measures...And I hope that by the end of the day we might receive some updates from the state Senate Democrats who are not here in the Capitol, not doing their job, that we might get an update as to when they might come back and start doing their jobs."

Walker also touted the savings he says would come to local governments from his budget repair bill's various cost-saving measures. He also touted the savings for workers themselves -- from not joining a union. "It also give them an option of whether they want to participate in a union, and no longer mandates that their union dues will be deducted from their paycheck," said Walker, explaining that this would save employees $1,000 a year, or $2,000 for a married couple who are both government employees: "That's real money that helps the bottom line, and we're giving those employes the right to choose whether to have that money taken out of their paycheck, and to choose whether to be part of the union."

Then came the Q&A -- which was very brief, with only four questions, but which featured a notably loud ending.

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Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), one of the House's leading gay rights advocates, told TPM that he was "thrilled" by the White House's decision to drop its legal support for the Defense of Marriage Act.

"It's a big deal," he said over the phone. "I'm just thrilled they came to this conclusion sooner rather than later. I think that any sound legal analysis will come to the same conclusion and any defense of this law is a break with precedent, with tradition, and an overreach of power by the federal government."

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If you were worried there wouldn't be a 2012 candidate touting the pro-Crusades platform, then today is your lucky day!

"The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical," former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told a South Carolina audience yesterday. "And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom."

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After walking the line on the issue of same sex marriage for most of his time in office, President Barack Obama's administration was forced to take a stand -- thanks to two court cases challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act filed in a judicial district without precedent on the issue.

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