TPM News

Rick Santorum's communications director confirmed to TPM that the campaign is behind a robocall in Michigan urging Democrats to vote for Santorum in the state's primary Tuesday. Santorum's message of balancing the budget and restoring the nation's manufacturing sector appeals to Reagan Democrats, Hogan Gidley said.

"If we can get the Reagan Democrat in the primary, we can get them in the general," Gidley added.

CNN reports:

Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece's credit rating Monday to "selective default" after the government took legal steps to impose losses on all holders of Greek government bonds.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich railed against the President Obama's energy policy on the campaign trail in Nashville, Tennessee, saying as president he would abolish the Energy Department and return to a free market for the industry. 

"They don't like big trucks and big cars," Gingrich said about the Obama Administration. "I want a system where we have American energy for national security, American energy for jobs...I want you to have the freedom to have the highest quality of life in the world."

Gingrich has been assiling President Obama for the entire campaign on developing an American energy policy. Gingrich claimed on Monday that if were government to get out of the way, the US could produce enough energy domestically to back away from Middle East producers. But when it came to Obama's stateside efforts, he described them as solutions for five to ten years from now, not for high gas prices now.

"I believe in biofuels," Gingrich said about renewables. But he described Solyndra as "A half-billion dollar photo-op."

"Drilling won't work, but alge will?" he said sarcastically, referring to a new round of research and development grants for algal biofuels the Energy Department is set to disburse. "Do you know how out of touch you have to be to say that with a straight face?"

The campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) announced Monday -- the deadline today to submit challenges against the signatures to recall him -- that they will not file any challenge, saying that they did not have enough time to fully review the more than one-million signatures filed against him.

This decision comes a week and a half after Dane County Judge Richard Niess, who had previously granted a 20-day extension to the Walker campaign for the review period, refused their request for another two weeks.

"We faced an impossible timeline," Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews told WisPolitics. She also added: "It obviously takes more time to verify signatures than it does to collect them."

Matthews has not responded to TPM's request for comment, to determine whether this move means the campaign is essentially conceding the signature-challenge phase of the recall -- and going straight to certification and triggering of the election -- or on the other hand, would they file any additional legal challenges or appeals, on the basis that they did not have enough time to review the signatures?

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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is looking to shake legislative politics out of unconsciousness as early as this spring, and force a vote on a bipartisan legislative proposal - which would include higher taxes and cuts to federal programs -- to reduce deficits by trillions of dollars over the coming years.

The push is intended to disrupt the consensus among most political leaders that Congress will punt budget consolidation efforts until after November -- when the election returns are in, and the January 1, 2013 expiry of the Bush tax cuts and deep across-the-board spending cuts make real action inevitable.

In a speech hosted Monday morning by Third Way, Hoyer revealed that he and other lawmakers are looking for the right moment to introduce a bill that would achieve the sorts of deficit reduction goals that have eluded Congress and the White House thus far.

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A campaign finance watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Restore Our Future, the "super PAC" backing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, broke campaign finance law by running television commercials origianlly produced and aired by the Romney campaign back in 2007.

“Restore Our Future’s expenditure to republish a Romney campaign ad is considered a contribution from the Super PAC to the Romney campaign under FEC regulations, but Super PACs are prohibited from contributing to candidates,” explained Campaign Legal Center counsel Paul S. Ryan.  “The airing of these ads constitutes a clear violation of federal law by the shadow campaign committee Restore Our Future.”

Here's the 2007 Romney ad:

...and the Restore Our Future ad:

At an event in Lansing, Michigan Monday, Rick Santorum put forth an alternate theory for the cause of the financial crisis: that rising gas prices caused Americans to default on their mortgages, leading to the wave of foreclosures that sparked Wall Street's near collapse in the fall of 2008. 

"We went into a recession in 2008 because of gasoline prices," Santorum said to a hotel ballroom of supporters. "The bubble burst in housing because people couldn’t pay their mortgages because of $4 a gallon gasoline."

As BuzzFeed's Zeke Miller points out, the extensive report on the causes of the crisis by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission made no mention of gas, gasoline, or energy as triggering the crisis.

A group of orthodox Jews in New York have formed a group called Jews Pick Rick to boost Rick Santorum's campaign. Thus far, the group has decided to issue press releases on Santorum's positions that are relevant to the orthodox Jewish community. “The sole goal of Jews Pick Rick is to turn the Orthodox community into Santorum territory, spreading Rick’s conservative message to Boro Park, Flatbush, Monsey, Lakewood and Five Towns," the group's spokesperson said. The group noted that Romney's Jewish advisors are more secular, while "there are several distinctly Orthodox names in Santorum’s list" and that "Santorum has a longstanding relationship with Agudath Israel, and the Orthodox community in his home state of Pennsylvania speaks highly of him.” (h/t New York Observer)

 

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