TPM News

Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, an affiliate organization to the Karl Rove backed American Crossroads PAC, is out with a new web video insinuating that the Obama administration is rewarding unions who pushed for the health care law with expeditions from that same law.

The video frames the issue somewhat like an action movie trailer, utilizing ominous music and rapid scene cuts to introduce the "union bosses" who "shoved healthcare down our throats." And it features quick shots of semi-socialist symbols, such as a Canadian flag and a red clenched fist spliced between shots of chanting union members.

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When it comes to earmarks, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is accusing House Republicans of wanting to have their cake and eat it too.

House Republicans, she told reporters earlier this week, have added numerous line items for special projects into the defense-authorization bill, and thus, are violating their own self-imposed earmark moratorium.

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Touring Waterloo, Iowa today, Newt Gingrich attributed part of the media frenzy surrounding his "challenging week" to his campaign's historic nature.

"It's going to take a while for the news media to realize that you're covering something that happens once or twice in a century, a genuine grass-roots campaign of very big ideas," Gingrich said, according to the Associated Press. "I expect it to take a while for it to sink in."

At the heart of reporters' difficulty wrapping their head around his candidacy, Gingrich said, was the threat he represents to the old system of canned talking points and establishment thinking.

"My reaction is if you're the candidate of very dramatic change, it you're the candidate of really new ideas, you have to assume there's a certain amount of clutter and confusion and it takes a while to sort it all out, because you are doing something different," Gingrich told the press.

Reporters did discover one aspect of Gingrich's campaign today that's likely a first: his cell phone, which went off at a rally, uses ABBA's "Dancing Queen" as its ringtone.

Newt Gingrich appeared on Rush Limbaugh's radio show this afternoon to explain the whole dust-up since he blasted Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) Medicare-privatizing budget proposal as "right-wing social engineering." Gingrich's latest explanation: He wasn't talking about Ryan or the budget at all!

And what's more, he's supported that budget and Ryan's plan ever since Ryan briefed him on it, weeks before its public announcement.

Limbaugh took issue with Gingrich's statement that he opposed both left-wing and right-wing "social engineering," and asked Gingrich to define the term "social engineering."

"It's very straightforward. It's when the government comes in and tells you how to live your life and what you're gonna do -- whether the values that lead it to do that are left-wing values, or the values that lead it to do that are right-wing values," said Gingrich. "I believe in personal freedom. I believe in your right to lead your life. I believe that we are endowed by the Declaration of Independence, by our Creator, with the right to pursue happiness. And I want a government that is much more humble about its ability to tell you what to do, whether it's people on either side of the ideological spectrum.

"And by the way, it was not a reference to Paul Ryan. There was no reference to Paul Ryan in that answer."

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Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin received a boost to their presidential ambitions this week as voters who previously backed Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump went in search of alternatives now that each of the men has withdrawn from the presidential race, according to a Suffolk University poll released this week.

The poll was originally conducted before Huckabee and Trump withdrew, but the pollster went back to respondents who had initially supported those two, and found them breaking largely in favor of Romney and, to a slightly lesser extent, Palin.

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House Republicans, facing tough questions in their districts for voting to phase out Medicare and replace it with a subsidized private insurance system, are fond of pointing out that the plan they support wouldn't touch benefits for existing beneficiaries, or for people who will reach eligibility within 10 years. There are a number of problems with that plan, but top Democrats are finally pointing out the biggest one: it's simply not true.

Though many Republicans are getting jittery about their budget's Medicare plan, they're still perfectly proud of the fact that it also repeals the new health care law. But that law includes plenty of goodies for current seniors, all of which would be zapped immediately if Republicans get their way.

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