TPM News

On an Iowa radio program Tuesday, Ron Paul said he would not have ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden, saying, “No, not the way it took place.” He went on to explain that the U.S. should have worked with Pakistan to capture him instead. ABC summarizes Paul’s argument on the issue:

Paul said the U.S. government should have worked with the Pakistani government, respecting borders, to get at Osama bin Laden. He pointed to other terror suspects who were captured and tried. Paul pointed to the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, widely accepted as the 9/11 mastermind, by Pakistani authorities. Mohammed now sits at Guantanamo Bay awaiting trial by a military tribunal.

The House GOP has in effect rejected a Senate-passed compromise on the payroll tax holiday extension, setting the stage for a possible protracted fight over the next two weeks. Some of the Senate GOPers who helped the Senate bill pass with 89 votes have expressed annoyance at their House counterparts. It looks like Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in the latest. Politico reporter Manu Raju tweets:

Sen. Scott Brown on House vote: “It angers me that House Republicans would rather continue playing politics than find solutions."

In his daily briefing to reporters, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said there’s no good reason for House Republicans not to support the Senate’s compromise legislation on extending a payroll tax cut. Carney said the Senate compromise was “a result that was deemed by the Speaker of the House as a good deal.”

“The president is not, and should not be a marriage counselor” between House and Senate Republicans, Carney said, when asked whether the president would work to bridge the divide between the two chambers.

NASA announced on Tuesday afternoon that its Kepler unmanned spacecraft discovered the first two planets nearly identical in size to Earth.

The two planets, named Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, orbit the same star 1,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Although both planets have radii close to Earth’s, they are thought to have rocky surfaces and are located outside the “habitable zone,” too close to their star to be able to support liquid water, thought to be a necessary condition for life.

Pivoting off an interview with Fox News’s Chris Wallace Sunday, Democrats are launching an effort to contrast Mitt’s plan to save the middle class with Obama’s. In a video, the DNC uses footage from the interview to highlight the weakness of Romney’s plan.

In the interview, Chris Wallace tells Romney that a family making $75,000 under his plan would only save $167. Romney replied, “Well, first of all, $167 is not zero.”

Watch below:

The new CNN poll gives President Obama a 49% approval rating, to 48% disapproval. This is up significantly from the CNN poll a month ago, when his approval was 44%-54%.

The survey of adult Americans was conducted from December 16-18, and has a ±3% margin of error.

Note: see update below

Newt Gingrich’s campaign is clearly frustrated by a multi-million dollar flood of negative ads produced by a Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. According to Wall Street Journal Reporter Jonathan Weisman, Gingrich spokesman RC Hammond responded to a recent claim by Romney that he is personally against Super PACs thusly: “He’s either a lying politician or a piece of shit.”

Updated: Weisman appears to have taken the Tweet down.

Herman Cain says he is still mulling his endorsement, but has ruled out Rick Perry and Ron Paul. In fact, it could be months till Cain announces because, he told National Review, “I’m going to wait until a clear leader emerges.” He doesn’t want to alienate anyone, Cain explained.

Bob Vander Plaats, the prominent Iowa evangelical and head of the evangelical organization The Family Leader, has given his endorsement to Rick Santorum. Previously, there was speculation that his endorsement would go to Newt Gingrich, who contributed to Vander Plaats’s campaign to unseat three Iowa judges. The endorsement is personal, not on behalf of his organization.