TPM News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry defended his support of giving in-state tuition rates to the children of illegal immigrants at the Fox News-Google Republican presidential debate on Thursday.

"If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart," Perry said of the 2001 state legislation he signed into law.

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Rick Perry's campaign is finally walking things back a bit on Social Security under concentrated fire from Mitt Romney, claiming in a press release that Perry never said in his book that the program was unconstitutional. But their explanation isn't too convincing, especially given that Perry has repeated the claim in interviews as well.

Perry was pressed on his Social Security statements in the debate and, while he did not address his thoughts on the program's constitutionality, he denied that he wanted to dissolve the program and turn it over to the states. Romney, however, went right at the constitutional issue and accused Perry of flip flopping.

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Former IRS lawyer Michele Bachmann has an interesting approach to taxation: she thinks Americans should get to keep "every dollar" they earn, though she says the government needs to get money somehow.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked Bachmann about a question at a previous Republican debate on how much of every dollar taxpayers should get to keep. Bachmann said that she talked to the young man who asked the question at the last debate.

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Ah yes -- it's the time of the year when wealthy powerful people battle over whom is more "common man."

Rick Perry picked up on Mitt Romney's quote at a town hall Wednesday where Romney counted himself among the middle class -- one of a string of similar statements that's caught the attention of Democrats -- to attack Romney for pretending to be something he's not.

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TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro is at the GOP Debate. He tweets this conversation with Jon Huntsman:

Jon Huntsman tells TPM booing of gay soldier at debate was “unfortunate.” Says DADT is “done…we all salute the same flag.”

Mitt Romney told Sean Hannity after the GOP debate that, despite his numerous attacks on Rick Perry’s general election viability, he hasn’t declared him “unelectable” entirely. “Frankly thats a little presumptuous of me to say who’s electable,” Romney said.

ORLANDO, FL -- Before they take the stage for the big Fox News/Google debate, many of the Republicans running for president stopped off for a short Faith And Freedom Coalition meeting here.

The FFC, run by Ralph Reed, works to combine the grassroots of the tea party with the evangelical ideology that still fuels much of the conservative movement. In a string of short speeches, each candidate reached out to the religious conservatives gathered here.

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Fox is doing its famous Frank Luntz “focus group” after the debate. Interestingly, the majority seem to think that Romney won. They’re describing him as “Presidential,” “decisive,” and “elegant.” Perry, meanwhile, is being called “too much of a waffler” by one woman in the group. The crowd also seem angry about the moment when he turned on his immigration critics and accused them (and Bachmann in particular) of not having a heart.

The candidates were asked who they might select as their running mate. Rick Perry gave an interesting response.

Perry said he would play with the “game show” format of the question, and the debate itself: “If you could take Herman Cain and mate him up with Newt Gingrich, I think you would have some really interesting guys to work with.”

After the laughter of all the participants died down, it became Mitt Romney’s turn to answer the question. He opened with a deadpan comment. “There are a couple of images I’m going to be having trouble getting out of my mind,” said Romney, saying he was referring to the cross-breeding of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, and also to Gary Johnson’s neighbor’s dogs creating shovel-ready jobs.

A homeless man upset over an anti-camping law in Santa Cruz took part in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the city's computer servers last December, the feds charged Thursday.

As we told you earlier today, the feds arrested two men for hacking attacks today: an Arizona 23-year-old who allegedly hacked into Sony's servers and a California man who Fox News reported is homeless.

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