TPM News

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential presidential candidate who is much less well known to the national public than other Republicans, has been very busy of late. As we saw last week, he criss-crossed the media circuit, and had a lot to say.

From a strategic standpoint, this would make a lot of sense. Compared to other possible 2012 contenders out there -- Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, etc. -- Pawlenty has close to no name recognition throughout the country. Unlike Romney, he hasn't run for president before; unlike Gingrich, he hasn't held national office; and unlike Palin, he actually served two full terms as governor without resigning.

As such, many believe that the best thing Pawlenty can do right now is ramp up his book tour, promote himself before the media, and get onto as many TV sets as possible. So let's take a look at his various appearances from the past week.

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One of the 19 victims of last week's shooting in Tucson was arrested yesterday after standing up during a town hall-style meeting and shouting, "You're dead!" to the leader of the Tucson tea party. The victim, J. Eric Fuller, has been charged with disorderly conduct and making a threat. and was involuntarily committed to undergo a mental health evaluation, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

The tea party leader, Trent Humphries, told TPM he hopes that if Fuller needs help, he gets it -- especially if it's the kind of help the suspected shooter never got.

"If pressing charges is the only way to make sure he gets the help he needs, we'll probably do that," Humphries said in a phone interview Sunday. "I'm not saying this guy's Jared Loughner, but I can't tell you for sure he's not a danger to himself, me or the community."

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Gillibrand: Giffords Making 'An Extraordinary Amount Of Progress' Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that her friend Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is making progress in her recovery from the shooting in Tucson, though she is not yet able to speak: "It's far too early for that. But she's making progress every day. She's using both sides of her body. She's able to breathe on her own. She's able to open her eyes and to show people she understands what she's hearing and seeing. So she's really--it's an extraordinary amount of progress for a woman who sustained such a horrific injury that she did."

Schumer: I Will Sit With Coburn At SOTU Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) will sit together at the State of the Union address: "My colleague Senator Mark Udall called for Democrats and Republicans to sit together at the State of the Union. I called up Tom after he did that, and he graciously agreed, we're going to sit together Wednesday night at the State of the Union, and we hope that many others will follow us. Now, that's symbolic, but maybe it just sets a tone and everything gets a little bit more civil."

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Obama: Tucson Shooting Reminds Us 'Who We Really Are' In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama reflected on the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, and the sense of community that members of both parties can derive from it.

"One of the places we saw that sense of community on display was on the floor of Congress, where Gabby Giffords, who inspires us with her recovery, is deeply missed by her colleagues," said Obama. "One by one, Representatives from all parts of the country and all points of view rose in common cause to honor Gabby and the other victims, and to reflect on our shared hopes for this country. As shrill and discordant as our politics can be at times, it was a moment that reminded us of who we really are - and how much we depend on one another."

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Six days after a gunman attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and killed six others in a mass shooting, the National Rifle Association (NRA) broke its silence, pledging to fight off any and all attempts to impose harsher regulations on guns and high-capacity magazines.

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In a local TV interview that touched on the Tucson shootings, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) recounted threats that have been made to his office -- specifically, one incident in which a man shot himself outside of Sen. Harry Reid's (D-NV) Las Vegas office in 1996.

"Sen. Reid and I actually had a stalker or whatever you want to call him," Ensign told Fox 5. "He left very blood-curdling -- almost threats -- on our phones. He ended up shooting himself in front of both of our offices."

Here's what happened, according to contemporary news reports: In 1995, when Ensign was a congressman, a man named Michael McCusker starting calling Ensign's office. He wanted help, he said, getting back $23,000 he lost in a Mexican land scam. When Ensign's staff found they couldn't help him, McCusker continued calling the office. He eventually came in and handed staffers a note that said "Justice or Death" and claimed he had a gun.

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"Alright, so here's what we're doing," says the man behind the camera as he navigates through a dark parking lot. "We're examining the torture of students. We're looking at students who have been tortured. Their low income pay in two wars. The war that we are in right now is currently illegal under the Constitution. What makes it illegal is the currency. The date is also wrong. It's impossible for it to be that date, it's mind control."

That's how a video Jared Lee Loughner posted on YouTube in September titled "Pima Community College School - Genocide/Scam - Free Education - Broken United States Constitution," begins. It's the video that ultimately got Loughner, the gunman allegedly behind the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and the murder of six others, suspended from the school.

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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who is proposing a bill to allow members of Congress to carry guns in the Capitol and D.C., explained today: "Saying guns are the problem is like saying spoons are what make people fat. Maybe we'll need to regulate the size of spoons."

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On the seventh round of balloting, the Republican National Committee elected Reince Priebus to be its next chairman.

Priebus won 97 votes, followed by Saul Anuzis with 43 and Maria Cino with 28. Michael Steele and Ann Wagner dropped out earlier.

Priebus becomes the 65th chair of the RNC, and takes over a committee that had something of a tumultuous two years with Steele at the helm.

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