TPM News

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman wants to be America's Ryan Budget hero.

The committed moderate and former Obama administration ambassador to China kicks off his campaign today, and according to previews, he plans to make strong support for Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) proposal to end Medicare as we know it a key component of his kick off speech.

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According to a Gallup poll released Monday, slightly more than one in five Americans say they would not consider voting for a presidential candidate who is Mormon, even if they think that person is otherwise qualified to be the nation's chief executive.

In the survey, 22% of adults said they would not vote for a Mormon, while 76% said they would.

That finding came one day before former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman was expected to formally launch his campaign, making him the second Mormon, along with Mitt Romney, in the Republican field. Further, it shows that faith could once again become an issue in this year's presidential election, as it was in 2008. In that election cycle, Romney was so dogged by questions about his faith that he ultimately delivered a speech aimed at assuaging those concerns, telling voters that as a Mormon he was still a Christian.

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Democratic members of Congress who pressed the consulting giant McKinsey & Company to open the books on its disputed health care study are piling on, now that the firm's released its survey materials.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), who took a leading role in the pressure campaign, just lambasted the firm for inadequately addressing the controversy. Baucus also provided new details about a private meeting the firm's representatives had with members of his own staff about the survey.

"McKinsey has long held a reputation for fair-minded analysis, so it is particularly disappointing that this study does not live up to that reputation -- or even come close. McKinsey made clear and definitive predictions, and, in the face of tough questions, simply changed their story" said Baucus. "This report is filled with cherry-picked facts and slanted questions - it did not provide employers with enough information for them to make honest choices and fair evaluations. Rather than correct the major deficiencies in their report, McKinsey has chosen to again stand by their faulty analysis and misguided conclusions."

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GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is now boasting the value of conservative economics, with a tweet noting that Canada's economy has performed much better than the United States in the global recession, and that it had no stimulus spending.

Just think -- a Republican who wants the U.S. to be more like Canada!

One problem: Canada did undertake a major stimulus program.

Bachmann's campaign tweeted earlier on Monday:

Lesson in economic recovery: Consider Canada. No stimulus & unemployment is 20% lower than US. is.gd/jxebtd #tcot #teaparty #canada


It is true that Canada's unemployment in May 2011, the most recent month for which data is available, stood at 7.4%, compared to 9.1% in the United States. But the absolute fact of the matter is that Canada undertook a thorough stimulus program under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party -- one that was relatively smaller than the one here, but given the apples and oranges situation of having different economic needs, it was still a very considerable one. In addition, it should be explained that even this stimulus was undertaken under some very high-profile political circumstances.

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Refreshing? A strong leader? Given Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) devastatingly low approval ratings, these may be words Floridians would have a hard time using to describe their state's chief executive. But don't worry, Florida -- Rick Scott's happy to help you out.

A new feature on the governor's website allows constituents to a sign a pre-written letter to the editor and send it to one of seven newspapers in Florida.

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And you thought we were finished with political Twitter stories? C'mon, this is Washington we're talking about! The National Republican Senatorial Committee's getting blowback today from both the left and right for a series of fake re-tweets sent from the NRSC's official @nrsc Twitter account. The bogus RTs each make reference to Democrats failing to produce a budget, and include a link to a webpage, www.demsplanforamerica.com, that is-wait for it-a blank page.

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It's official: after declaring his intention to step down from Congress last week, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) will officially resign his office Tuesday on midnight.

He announced his intentions on Monday in a brief letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Speaker John Boehner, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

I hereby resign as the Member of the House of Representatives for New York's Ninth Congressional District effective at midnight, Tuesday, June 21, 2011. It has been an honor to serve the people of Queens and Brooklyn

Sincerely,

Anthony. D. Weiner Member of Congress


The future of Weiner's district is unclear. While the governor is likely to call a special election to find a replacement, it's possible the seat will be lost entirely to redistricting, leaving whoever wins as a brief caretaker.

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