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Michael Lester

Originally from Scotland, Michael was a freelance video editor before joining TPM in the summer of 2011. He lives in New York with his wife and two cats and is a lifelong fan of The World Famous Dundee United.

Articles by Michael

Remember when Michele Bachmann was a heavyweight rival to Mitt Romney, even winning the Ames Straw Poll and being referred to by CNN as "a viable contender for the White House"? So do we, vaguely... But only very vaguely. So we got to reflecting on what happened to Michele Bachmann. Obviously a large part of it has to do with the rise of Perry and Cain, and the consequent fracturing of support from the tea party and evangelicals. But TPM's Thomas Lane thinks that something else is at work... and he explains what in the video below.

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As the candidates' talking points become more and more familiar, the seemingly numberless GOP debates are becoming tougher to mine for substance. However, that doesn't mean we can't get our kicks elsewhere, and in Tuesday night's debate, much of the fun came from Ron Paul's facial expressions. His reaction shots are particularly golden. Watch for yourself below:

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It's Thanksgiving, so time to tuck into some turkeys. But it's not just on this special day that the GOP presidential candidates have been dishing out the turkeys: they've been at it for months now. In honor of that here are TPM's top 5 turkeys of the 2012 campaign so far.

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Once again, the GOP candidates gathered for a debate, this time in the heart of dysfunction and argument, Washington DC, to talk national security.

Amid the sabre-rattling and brushing off of immigrants people got on a first name basis and sometimes on a middle name, fake name or nickname basis to discuss all the big scary things out in the world. Watch for yourself:

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Mitt Romney: "America's just another nation with a flag".

Context is supposed to be important right? Otherwise, anything we ever say could be taken and twisted and applied to any situation to make it look like we think the exact opposite.

Politicians know this well, and use this trick to malign their opponents all the time. But Mitt Romney's latest anti-Obama ad really turns things up to eleven. Benjy Sarlin explains.

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OK, Herman Cain.....

If there was one thing you would think would sink a presidential campaign it would be not one but five separate people accusing you of sexual harassment. However, buoyed by a conservative media certain these were scurrilous accusations, Cain used it as a fundraising platform.

But, like a photo negative exposed to too much light, the more scrutiny Cain came under, the more and more he faded. Evan McMorris-Santoro reflects on what you really have to do these days to lose the GOP nomination.

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Since its inception, the Occupy movement has had to deal with a number of problems that come with the spontaneous setting up of a community. Trash, crime and unrest have seen people's opinions of the protesters slide and in case that wasn't enough to contend with, they have to get by with only a little help from their friends at Fox News...

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Any time Republican candidates gather to discuss foreign policy, it can result in some curious observations about how the world works. The latest example is a flat-out assertion from Mitt Romney that "If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon." Simple, right?

However, when it comes to specifics about how a Republican president's course would differ from the current administration's, things start to get a lot less clear...

Benjy Sarlin looks in to it.

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Mention "flip flops" to anyone in political circles and two things will probably come to mind instantly: Mitt Romney and a mind-blowing ability to be strongly in favor of one position, before getting behind another, as though it has been your firmly-held belief all along. This strategy has been a favorite of politicians since the dinosaurs lined up to vote (sorry, creationists).

Newt Gingrich, however, has elevated the flip-flop to a finely-honed art form. The ability to hold one position, then the opposite; then if anyone questions you, to smack them down in their ignorance that, not only are the two views not mutually exclusive, but they were wrong to even question you and that whatever you did and whatever you said, you retained the moral high ground the entire time.

Benjy Sarlin explains...

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Aside from the epic fail moments like Rick Perry forgetting his own policies, the best moments of the GOP debates so far have almost undoubtedly been the introductions.

Grandiose, otiose and verbose, you could be forgiven for thinking they're teasing some epic Hollywood movie, rather than a handful of middle-aged people bickering on stage. Here's TPM's tribute to this underappreciated part of campaign kitsch: the Ultimate Debate Intro Mash-up.

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