TPM News

In one of the most cringe-worthy moments of Monday's GOP presidential primary debate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty blew his first big chance to draw a distinction between himself and his top rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. For the past 36 hours, Pawlenty has ribbed Romney for being the architect of "ObamneyCare" -- the mandated universal private health insurance plan that Romney pioneered in Massachusetts, which served as a basis for the new national health care law.

But offered a chance by CNN host John King to confront Romney with the barb in person, an uncomfortable Pawlenty demurred.

"I just cited President Obama's own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed ObamaCare," Pawlenty said. "Using the term ObamneyCare was a reflection of the President's comments that he designed ObamaCare on the Massachusetts health care plan."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) used Monday's New Hampshire Republican debate to make a little news, announcing that she had filed the paperwork to make her run for president official.

Her intentions weren't exactly a mystery -- this was a presidential debate, after all -- but Bachmann letting slip that she had filed the papers for her candidacy earlier that day was the first official confirmation of her intentions.

On Twitter, Bachmann's new presidential account "TeamBachmann" blasted out the news shortly after the debate announcement: "I'm in. RT if you'll join my campaign for President of the United States: http://www.michelebachmann.com #cnndebate."

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated her calls for embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to step down after President Obama jumped on the resignation bandwagon Monday.

Speaking to reporters outside her office on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said that "none of us, not anybody here has the power to force somebody out of office." But she said that she thinks Weiner should heed the suggestion from his party's leaders, including Obama, that it's time to go.

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If he had to to it all over again, Herman Cain says he probably wouldn't have told TPM that Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) political-themed prayer at a social conservative and evangelical gathering in Washington June 3 sounded like the "the ultimate pander."

Cain told the Weekly Standard's John McCormack that that description was a mistake.

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Escalating his involvement in the ongoing Anthony Weiner (D-NY) scandal, President Obama said on Monday that he would step down if he were in the Congressman's shoes.

"I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign,'' Obama told NBC's Ann Curry. Obama, who called Weiner's actions "highly inappropriate," added: "When you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to, at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills -- then you should probably step back."

The interview, while falling short of a direct call for Weiner's resignation, represents the first time Obama has directly addressed the issue. Earlier in the day White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that Weiner had become a "distraction" and decried Weiner's "dishonesty" in lying about a lewd photo he sent from his Twitter account to a female college student.

A number of top Democratic officials, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have demanded Weiner resign. He has resisted their calls so far, electing instead to take a leave of absence to seek professional treatment.

A prestigious bi-partisan boutique lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. has hired a former top Intel lobbyist and Republican aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee -- perhaps signaling what the next hot-button issues for Silicon Valley are going to be for the next few years.

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New York State Sen. James Alesi is the first Republican to say he'll back a bill to legalize gay marriage when it's brought up, which likely means the legislation only needs two more votes to pass.

Alesi announced his support after a private meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who says the bill will get a vote in the state Senate before the end of the legislative session next Monday. "This becomes a matter of equality for people, our sons and daughters, (who) deserve the same freedom and the same equality in this great country and in the state of New York that each of every one of us enjoy in our everyday life," Alesi said of his decision, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports.

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