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A new survey of Iowa from Public Policy Polling (D) finds Mitt Romney with a small plurality in the very crowded Republican caucus field, and posting some other strong numbers for the contest that he lost in 2008 after making heavy investments of time and resources. But other contenders like Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul are not too far behind.

The initial numbers: Romney 21%, Palin 15%, Cain 15%, Gingrich 12%, Bachmann 11%, Pawlenty 10%, and Paul 8%.

Another question was asked, for a scenario in which Palin did not run. The new numbers: Romney 26%, Cain 16%, Gingrich 15%, Bachmann 14%, Paul 11%, and Pawlenty 10%.

"Romney has the nominal lead but the fact that there are 6 people polling at double digits shows how wide open the race is in Iowa," writes PPP president Dean Debnam.

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Remember that time your family took a vacation in a giant tour bus plastered with American symbolism while begging the nation for cash for a future job you may or may not even want?

Neither does Stephen Colbert, who questioned what Sarah Palin is up to as she does just that, ostensibly traveling across the country on a family vacation, but while also asking for donations to her PAC.

"Thats the power of Sarah Palin," Colbert said on his show Tuesday night. "No matter what she does, America starts asking, 'Why is this happening.'"

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Add another potential late entrant to the GOP primary field: Senate Tea Party leader Jim DeMint.The South Carolina lawmaker told The Hill this week that he is discussing a presidential run with his family and praying on a final decision.

"It's humbling and out of respect, my wife and I have talked about it," DeMint said. "Out of respect for the people who have asked us to think about this, that's what we're going to do. I don't want to imply that I'm changing in mind, but I want to consider what all these folks are doing."

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It's hard to imagine a better setup for an occasionally puerile comedy show than the developing story about a congressman named Weiner allegedly posting a picture of his weiner on the Internet.

For The Daily Show, that kind of comedy was right in their wheelhouse, their "sweet spot" as Jon Stewart said Tuesday night, before launching into a series of jokes about bulges, shrinkage, and the phallic nature of dolphin snouts.

"This Twitter is something else," Stewart said. "In the old days, a Congressman had to chisel images of his penis on limestone, or sit for days for penis portraiture and then have a runner take it to the damsel they wanted to horrify."

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Whether or not Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is guilty of anything in connection to the so-called "Weinergate" Twitter "hack", his handling of the fallout is becoming a textbook example of how to keep a story alive. So far, the man for whom the image of Congressional Democrats is paramount, DCCC Chair Steve Israel (NY), is declining to weigh in on Weiner's newfound adversarial relationship with the press.

Asked about Weiner's combative interaction with reporters on Tuesday and other similar moments where he's dodged questions about the story, Israel said he's not really paying that much attention.

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Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who took his first steps into the Republican presidential field as a moderate, has over the past month turned himself into something far from the center when it comes to Medicare. From throwing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) more love than anyone to grabbing onto Ryan's Medicare-destroying budget with both hands, Huntsman's separating himself from the pack: No one running for president, it seems, is more excited about the Republican budget plan than him.

In an op-ed published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal, Huntsman calls Ryan's plan an "honest attempt to save Medicare" and he calls on critics to put up their own plan or shut up about the GOP's. But that's among the more subtle love he's thrown Ryan and his budget in the recent past -- on Tuesday, Hunstman called Ryan one of the two Republicans alive he admires most.

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It doesn't take much political savvy to note that Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) Medicare-destroying budget plan hasn't panned out all that well for the GOP. But a new poll out from advocates for the Democratic health care law shows that the Ryan budget fail goes even deeper than embarrassed presidential candidates and special election upsets.

Not only does the poll show huge opposition to Ryan's plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system, the poll shows Democrats winning the credibility war when it comes to Medicare and "protecting the middle class." And -- in a jolt of good news for the White House and Democrats -- the numbers show that when voters are given Ryan budget messaging from opponents, support for the Democratic health care law actually goes up slightly in response.

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An allegedly phony tweet sent from Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) Twitter account featuring a lewd picture is drawing increasing interest as the lawmaker refuses to answer reporters' questions on the incident.

TPM caught up with Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) after his vote on a debt limit increase to see if he would clear up some of the remaining issues that media outlets have raised since a photo of an unidentified man's crotch was publicly sent to a college student and then quickly deleted on his Twitter account. He has claimed that his account was hacked and the person who received the photo says they have no relationship. On Tuesday, he testily evaded follow-up questions from news outlets like CNN on the topic and conservative news site The Daily Caller has repeatedly pressed the congressman for a yes or no answer on whether the picture in question is of Weiner.

"Look here's the decision I made and you can disagree with it," he told TPM when asked for a clear answer on whether it was him in the photo, "that after two and a half days of statements that answer these questions that I'm not going to keep drilling into further details and further details, even one ... even the easy questions, even the obvious questions, even the ones I've answered before."

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