TPM News

The Rick Santorum campaign took in a measly $920,427 in the final three months of 2011, a figure lower than two GOP candidates who have already dropped out of the race.

By comparison, Michele Bachmann took in $1.7 million and Rick Perry took in $2.9 million in October, November and December.

Santorum’s campaign spend $831,049 during that same period. He had $278,934 on hand at the end of the year was carrying $184,836.34 in debt. The candidate himself loaned the campaign $20,000 back in August, a sum the campaign hadn’t yet paid back as for Dec. 31.

If Republicans drop their political motivations for pursuing the Keystone XL pipeline, they'll find a sympathetic ear in House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

The second most powerful Democrat in the House suggested on Tuesday that both the will and the legislative vehicles exist to move forward on Keystone in a bipartisan fashion if Republicans attach it to forthcoming infrastructure legislation in away that allows the administration to fully assess the project's merits as required under existing law.

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Rep. Allen West (R-FL), the freshman Congressman and hero of the tea party, announced on Tuesday that he will seek re-election in a different district this year.

West will shift to Florida’s 18th district, which was freed up by Rep. Tom Rooney’s ® decision to run in the 17th district.

The 22nd district, where West won in 2010, was made far more favorable to Democrats under a new redistricting plan that was released last week.

It is little surprise that Rick Santorum’s new ad in Nevada features a card game motif; the fact that the spot focuses its attack exclusively on Newt Gingrich, while sparing Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, might catch some observers off guard.

The ad, titled “Deal,” takes aim at Gingrich for his previous support of cap and trade, amnesty for illegal immigrants and support of health care mandates, suggesting that such a record places the former House Speaker on par with President Barack Obama and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

A super PAC supporting Texas Gov. Rick Perry received $1 million in contributions from Contran Corporation, the single largest donations to Make Us Great Again.

Harold Simmons, the owner of Contran Corporation, developed the practice of the leveraged buyout, a technique Bain Capital would later use to take over failing companies and later sell their assets for a profit. While he was still a candidate, Rick Perry criticized Mitt Romney for his work at Bain Capital, calling his use of leveraged buyouts and the resulting layoffs at those companies “vulture capitalism.”

Other individuals made contributions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, including a $100,000 donation from Swift Boat funder Bob Perry. See all the disclosures here

Additional reporting by Clayton Ashley.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the United Nations on Tuesday said it’s “time for the international community to put aside our own differences and send a clear message of support to the people of Syria.”

The UN Security Council is meeting to decide whether it should support a resolution to force Syrian President Assad to step aside. Russia — a member of the council with veto power — opposes the resolution, warning that it could send Syria on a path toward civil war.

Via NPR.

Facebook is expected to raise $5 billion in a preliminary initial public offering on Wednesday, International Financing Review reports. It’s less than initially expected. The report suggests the decision was made to start small and then decider later whether to increase.

President Obama sacrificed an awful lot last year to take the debt limit off the legislative table until his second term, or some lucky Republican's first term. More importantly, he wanted it off the table until after the 2012 elections, to prevent a replay of last year's debt limit fight from playing out in the middle of election season, when the political consequences would be farther-reaching. And by "farther-reaching" we mean the doomsday scenario of legislators succumbing to a collective action problem and allowing the country to default on its debt.

Well, it looks like Obama will probably get his wish, but it will be an awfully close call.

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The U.S. economy will suffer over the next few years as a result of fiscal austerity measures including the recent spate of spending cuts, according to the Congressional Budget Office's latest forecast issued Tuesday.

Economic growth and the employment rate will be reduced for many years to come as a result of the August debt limit law's steep $2.4 trillion in spending cuts and expiration of expiring tax provisions including the Bush-era tax cuts, the budget office report concluded.

To illustrate this point, CBO made separate projections pegged to two baselines -- current law, in which the spending cuts and tax increases go into effect, and an alternative fiscal scenario in which these fiscal policy changes are voided.

Without the austerity measures, deficits are higher, but real GDP growth is projected to be as much as 0.8 percent higher this year and up to 2.9 percent higher next year, when the debt limit law's sequestration cuts kick in and the Bush-era tax breaks expire. The baselines even out after a decade but the near term hit to the economy is salient.

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On the heels of Rep. Cliff Stearns' (R-FL) call for Google to brief lawmakers on its new privacy policy, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) released a statement blasting the search engine for the new policy, which Markey said “undermines privacy safeguards for consumers” and doesn’t allow a satisfactory “opt-out” provision. Markey also requested that Google meet with him.

Markey’s statement in full:

“Sharing users’ personal information across its products may make good business sense for Google, but it undermines privacy safeguards for consumers. Despite Google’s recent response, it still appears that consumers will not be able to completely opt-out of data collection and information sharing among Google’s services. Congress and consumers need more details, and I look forward to meeting with Google to get clarification about what the options are for consumers who wish to say no to these new changes.”

Markey and Stearns are among the eight House lawmakers who signed a letter to Google CEO Larry Page on Friday, asking for Google to answer 11 in-depth questions about its new privacy policy.

Google responded on Tuesday with a lengthy explanation, again saying its policy was meant to “simplify” its user experience, allowing the search giant to collect and combine data across its myriad products — including Gmail, YouTube and Google Search.