TPM News

Newt Gingrich has decided not to sign -- at least, not sign as of yet -- an Iowa conservative group's controversial 'Marriage Vow' pledge for Republican presidential candidates to personally and publicly uphold heterosexual monogamy and sexual morality.

"We're happy to work with you to sharpen it so people understand where we're going with it," Gingrich told Family Leader head Bob Vander Plaats, according to Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond, in a National Journal report. "It's not there yet."

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The watchdog group Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling on Congress to investigate Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for evidence that the company's sprawling phone hacking scandal reached the United States.

CREW's letter to Congress follows allegations that the company's now defunct News Of The World tabloid hacked into the phones of murder victims and terrorism victims, and even several prominent British politicians like former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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How easy is it to "hack" into a voice mail system? Easy, according to security experts.

That's both because cell phone owners make it easy by not changing their default personal identification number to access their voice mail, and because of the proliferation of easily-accessible software online that enables people to pretend to be the owners of phones that they're trying to break into.

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) took to the floor of the Senate on Monday afternoon to defend comments he made last week about the poor needing to "share some of the responsibility" for shrinking the national debt.

Breaking out an image of the character Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island, Hatch said those with incomes of over $200,000 shouldn't be lumped in with "Warren Buffet or Gilligan's Island's resident millionaire."

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Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are taking heat for signing onto a group's pledge suggesting African-American families were better off in some ways under slavery.

The two most prominent social conservatives in the 2012 field signed onto "The Marriage Vow - A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family," by The Family Leader, a Christian group. According to the pledge, "Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President."

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Amid ongoing probes of the ATF Fast and Furious scandal, the Obama administration announced Monday that they are asking gun dealers in four border states to report when they sell two or more semi-automatic weapons to an individual in a period of five business days.

The rule, enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), is meant to slow the trafficking of weapons across the Southern border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

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