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Over the weekend TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro was on the trail of Rick Perry as he stumped through South Carolina. The following observations of the Texas governor in action reveal much about the political force that's currently shaking up the 2012 campaign.

GREENVILLE, SC -- Remember that Texas presidential swagger? The super-sincere handshakes, the thumbs up everywhere, the short, broski-style answers and genuine charm?

Yeah, it's exactly how you remember it.

For about 30 minutes Friday evening, Texas Gov. Rick Perry walked among the good people on Main St. here, stopping to exchange a few words when his staffers pointed someone out he should meet and -- for one brief moment -- shaking hands and giving thumbs up to the staff of a hookah bar a couple blocks from City Hall. He also pet dogs. A lot of dogs. Perry likes dogs.

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On Thursday, Jon Huntsman tweeted a jab at fellow GOP primary candidate Rick Perry with the declaration: "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy" -- a brave move for a Republican presidential candidate in the age of the Tea Party. In response, his fellow (and much more conservative) candidate Rick Santorum seems to be saying: Yup, you are crazy.

Santorum on Friday singled out Huntsman for accepting the scientific consensus on manmade activities being a significant contributor to global warming -- and did not talk at all about Huntsman's belief in evolution, despite his own long political history of questioning evolutionary science and advocating for the teaching of the "intelligent design" movement of creationism.

"Yeah well, I'll be the first one to take him up on his offer," Santorum told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell. "You know, look, I've been very, very clear that the science just simply doesn't back up the issue of global warming.

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Consumer advocates say recent moves by AT&T to adjust its mobile pricing structure should call into question the company's efforts to win approval of an acquisition of T-Mobile.

AT&T, currently the second largest U.S. mobile provider behind Verizon, would integrate number-three T-Mobile into its network.

The merger is already under intense scrutiny. The telecom giant recently created a stir when some inadvertently-released numbers surfaced at the Federal Communications Commissions' web site last week. The numbers showed that AT&T was only willing to complete its rural buildout of its next generation LTE wireless network if the T-Mobile acquisition were green-lighted.

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COLUMBIA, SC -- Speaking to a crowd of Republican Party officials and activists here Friday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry didn't mention his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, but laid out the stakes for a general election contest he says will pit advocates of the nanny state against those who follow the nation's founding documents.

"The central issue of this election is going to be an administration who believes Washington must be our caretaker," Perry said, "and the people who want Washington to only care for their constitutional responsibilities."

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Gov. Rick Perry's claim to a child in New Hampshire Thursday that Texas public schools teach both Creationism and evolution would come as a surprise to educators and students across the country. The Supreme Court had the last word on this in the 1980s when seven justices ruled that teaching Creationism as fact violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

But Perry's precise words -- "in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools" -- weren't exactly spoken in error. Texas biology teachers must teach evolution, can't teach Creationism, and can't teach Intelligent Design or any other forms of crypto-Creationism. But the state's curriculum does require schools to teach students to analyze and critique all scientific theories. And that means conservatives like Perry can pretend a loophole exists.

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Updated: Aug 19, 2011, 2:53PM

Mitt Romney released a new web video on Friday, firing back at Democratic attacks on his "corporations are people, my friend" comment to a voter in Iowa last week, when he explained his opposition to raising taxes on businesses.

The video is entitled "Mitt on the Road: A Week in New Hampshire," and shows clips of Romney speaking at different locations around that key early primary state, and discussing the poor condition of the economy.

At just over the halfway mark, Romney declares: "Businesses are comprised of people. I'm talking about repair shops, and gas stations, and beauty salons, and restaurants. I'm talking about Apple computer, and Facebook, and Microsoft. I'm talking about businesses that employ people. It's really astonishing to me that the Obama folks would try and argue that businesses aren't people. What do they think they are? Little men from Mars? But when they tax business, they tax people."

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