TPM News

Yet another Republican presidential candidate is declining to sign the controversial "Marriage Vow" pledge put forward by the Iowa conservative group Family Leader: Herman Cain.

"While I commend their intent regarding the pledge, I believe my stated position encompasses their values without the need to sign the pledge," Cain said, the Des Moines Register reports. He also added: "I am, and will continue to be, an ardent defender of traditional marriage and will work to preserve and protect the sanctity of human life, which I believe begins at conception."

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Conservative provocateur James O'Keefe has his digital alms bowl out. He says his non-profit group "needs $30,000 RIGHT AWAY" to finish his latest sting operation that he claims "dwarfs anything Project Veritas has exposed to date."

His attacks on ACORN, Planned Parenthood, CNN, and NPR had varying degrees of success in taking down their targets or coming up with evidence to back his rhetoric. So who's next on his list? Government employees.

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Josh Green is out with a story that could rock the religious-conservative foundations of Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) presidential campaign. Bachmann's church, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stillwater, MN is affiliated with a strain of Lutheranism that believes the Pope is the anti-Christ.

Bachmann has been asked about this before, and denied it -- while professing her own "love" for Catholics. Green digs up strong proof that her branch of Lutheranism, which he says is "the most conservative of the major Lutheran church organizations," believes the leader of the Catholic church is among Christianity's most evil figures.

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The death penalty in California could be on its last legs.

A bill that passed out of committee in California's Assembly last week would create a ballot measure in the next statewide election that asks voters to decide whether to end the death penalty.

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Seems like a certain candidate in the Sunshine State got Sen. Jon Cornyn's (R-TX) memo about dissing Democrats and President Obama for allegedly using Social Security scare tactics as leverage in the debt talks and is repeating it almost verbatim.

Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who is running for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) next year, wasted no time in repeating the contents of the Cornyn memo almost verbatim Tuesday, criticizing President Obama for threatening to stop sending seniors their Social Security checks if the government defaults on its loans and has to stop paying for some government functions.

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A Republican on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission tried to get his colleagues to help House GOPers repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, according to documents released by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.

Democrats released their report on the evidence uncovered by congressional investigators on the same day that Rep. Darrell Issa scrapped a hearing on the FCIC that was supposed to take place. Issa cancelled the hearing because, Democrats said, Republicans uncovered some evidence which didn't fit their narrative.

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TPM spoke with Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa conservative activist and former gubernatorial candidate who has pitched the "Marriage Vow" pledge for presidential candidates competing in the state caucuses. And while he's not too perturbed that Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty are not signing it (at least not yet), he's got some pretty strong words for Mitt Romney.

Tuesday night, Romney's campaign slammed the pledge, saying that it "contained references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign.

"One of the reasons we put the pledge together was for a person or candidate like Gov. Romney," Vander Plaats told TPM, "because it's been well documented that Gov. Romney has been all over the board when it comes to marriage, or abortion, or universal health care."

Vander Plaats also added: "These types of no-commitments on my part to marriage and family, I don't think that's going to do his campaign any favors in the state of Iowa.

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A new survey of Utah from Public Policy Polling (D) shows longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch vulnerable for the Republican nomination, trailing his potential opponent Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

The numbers: Chaffetz 47%, Hatch 43%. The survey of Republican primary voters was conducted from July 8-10, and has a ±4.9% margin of error.

Chaffetz, who was first elected to Congress in 2008 by defeating an incumbent in the GOP primary, has been considering a challenge against Hatch. The poll gives Chaffetz a favorable rating of 61%, to 17% unfavorable. Hatch's approval rating is actually a very similar 60%, to a disapproval of 28%.

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