TPM News

While his controversial Super Bowl ad may prove to be a liability in the general election, former Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra remains the prohibitive favorite to claim his party's nomination in the United States Senate race in Michigan. 

A new poll conducted by the Glengariff Group and comissioned by The Detroit News, WDIV-TV and WZZM-TV shows Hoekstra dominating his GOP rivals. In the statewide survey of likely Republican primary voters, Hoekstra claims the support of 50.2 percent of respondents. No other candidate eclipses the five percent threshold.

A PPP (D) survey released earlier this week showed Democratic incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow holding a commanding lead over Hoekstra, with many respondents giving the congressman's television ad unfavorable reviews. 

A new ad from the pro-Rick Santorum super PAC -- the Red, White and Blue Fund -- is sticking to a positive message. Santorum is a "leader with a bold plan to restore America's greatness," the ad claims. Watch:

Foster Friess, the billionaire backer of the pro-Rick Santorum super PAC, apologized early Friday for "joking" that women should put "aspirin between their knees" as a form of birth control. Friess wrote on his blog:

After listening to the segment tonight, I can understand how I confused people with the way I worded the joke and their taking offense is very understandable. To all those who took my joke as modern day approach I deeply apologize and seek your forgiveness. My wife constantly tells me I need new material—she understood the joke but didn’t like it anyway—so I will keep that old one in the past where it belongs.

 On MSNBC Thursday night, Friess also laughed off the remark as a bad "joke."

Rupert Murdoch's newspaper company will launch a new Sunday tabloid "very soon," as the media mogul is in London after a string of arrests at his Sun newspaper. Murdoch reportedly emailed his staff to resassure his commitment to the company.

Via Reuters.

A new poll from Suffolk University of the likely Massachusetts Senate shows incumdent Senator Scott Brown (R) with a nine point lead over probable Democratic nominee Elizabeth Warren, 49 - 40. Other polls have show Warren with a small lead as the race seems to be seesawing back and forth ten months before election day. The contest will be one of the most watched Senate races of 2012.

“Scott Brown’s popularity and appeal are overpowering the efforts of Elizabeth Warren, who struggles to introduce herself to the larger pool of Massachusetts voters,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in a release. “Warren’s support does not have traction among independents.”

The TPM Poll Average shows a very tight race so far.

Very neatly, and on three separate fronts, conservatives in America turned the clock back to the 1950s with their rhetoric about women's rights Thursday, according to women in politics on both sides of the aisle. This could be a big problem for the GOP when the calendar reaches November.

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Foster Friess, the wealthy backer of the pro-Rick Santorum super PAC, said Thursday night that he was joking when he suggested women should put "Bayer aspirin between their knees" as a form of birth control.

Viewers didn't get the "context of that joke," Friess told MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. Back in his day, Friess said, the birth control pill wasn't available, so the thought of aspirin used as birth control would be pretty "silly" and "funny," he said. 

Friess also used the interview as an opportunity to attack the Obama administration's birth control rule, saying that forcing insurance plans to cover birth control is like asking Muslim soup kitchens to serve pork. 

Friess said he didn't talk to Santorum about the comment Thursday. His campaign denied to comment to TPM on the statement. Santorum in Michigan Thursday also called it a "bad joke."

Republicans across the board were popping up everywhere today with their unique views on medication. Whether it was Santorum backer Foster Freiss suggesting woman replace their birth-control with an "aspirin between the knees", or O'Reilly ranting that people shouldn't do crack. Or, even just good old Eric Bolling who issued a similar prescription for Rep. Maxine Waters.

And just in case you didn't get enough of her at CPAC the other day, Fox News helped us to a big dose of the inimitable Sarah Palin...

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As the success of Downton Abbey attests, Americans are often impressed by a British accent. And Americans are also impressed by their fellow countrymen and women who are able to pull off a good imitation of a British voice. After all, one of the best ways for an American actress to win an Oscar (other than playing a disabled person or a victim of the Nazis) is to pose as a member of the aristocracy.

But what happens when things work the other way? When a Brit enamored with the U.S. tries to ingratiate himself to Americans by trying out *their* accent?

Well, the results are often atrocious. And none more so than when Stuart Varney tried it on Fox News today. Watch, if you dare.

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Anthony Shadid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Middle East correspondent for the New York Times, died on Thursday of an apparent asthma attack while on assignment in Syria. Shadid wrote three books and spent most of his career covering the Middle East. He was 43.

Executive Editor Jill Abramson said in a statement Thursday: “Anthony died as he lived — determined to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East and to testify to the suffering of people caught between government oppression and opposition forces.”

Read the Times' obituary here.