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Palin’s presidential plans: Will she or won’t she?

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has authorized a feature-length film about her rise, added staff and recently said she has “that fire in the belly” for a presidential bid — all steps that fuel speculation she’s inching toward a White House run. Her supporters are putting together a campaign-in-waiting in Iowa, the lead-off nominating caucus, in the hopes the Republicans’ 2008 vice presidential nominee decides to join the race. There are even reports she bought a home in Arizona, not far from her daughter’s, which aides have suggested could be a campaign headquarters if she goes forward. Clearly Palin will
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John Edwards under criminal investigation

Multiple reports say former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards will soon be indicted by the Justice Department on criminal charges for allegedly violating campaign finance laws in an effort to cover up his extramarital affair. Overnight reports cite sources close to the investigation who say that the government is preparing to indict Edwards, though a plea deal could still be reached, perhaps in the next two weeks. The plans were first reported by ABC News. Months after bowing out of the 2008 presidential race, Edwards admitted to having an affair with Rielle Hunter, who was at one time hired
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Tea Party pushes right-wing propaganda on schools

America’s kids will be learning about the U.S. Constitution this coming school year with help from a decidedly conservative Idaho publishing house, if a tea party group gets its way. The Tea Party Patriots, Georgia-based but claiming 1,000 chapters nationally, are instructing members to remind teachers that a 2004 federal law requires public schools to teach Constitution lessons every Sept. 17, commemorating the day the document was signed. And they’d like the teachers to use material from the Malta, Idaho-based National Center for Constitutional Studies, which promotes the Constitution as a divinely-inspired document. The center’s founder, W. Cleon Skousen, once
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Tea Party is over: Democrat takes New York race

Democrat Kathy Hochul drew on voter discontent over Republican plans to revamp Medicare to score an upset win on Tuesday in a special election to represent a conservative upstate New York congressional district. Hochul defeated Republican Jane Corwin in a three-way race that also included self-described Tea Party candidate Jack Davis. The outcome did not affect Republican control of the House of Representatives. “Tonight the voters were willing to look beyond the political labels and vote for a person, and vote for message that they believe in,” Hochul told cheering supporters minutes after taking a phone call from Corwin, a
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Congress set to vote on Patriot Act extension this week

The Senate voted Monday to open debate on the rights-robbing USA Patriot Act — the Bush-era anti-terrorism law passed by a shell-shocked Congress in the days following the September 11 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.   Critics of the act argue that it violates several sections of the Constitution by allowing the federal government to spy on Americans without oversight or review. In a 74-8 vote, the Senate approved debate on the bill. A final vote on extending the law for four years is expected later this this week. Extending the law represents another flip-flop by
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Pawlenty has plenty of problems with the truth

A parsing of Pawlenty’s opening-day statements shows they were not the whole truth. Here is a sampling of his claims Monday and how they compare with the facts. ___ PAWLENTY: “The truth is, people getting paid by the taxpayers shouldn’t get a better deal than the taxpayers themselves. That means freezing federal salaries, transitioning federal employee benefits, and downsizing the federal work force as it retires.” — Campaign announcement. THE FACTS: A federal pay freeze is already in effect. Obama proposed and Congress approved a two-year freeze on the pay of federal employees, exempting the armed forces, Congress and federal
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Budget talks resume: Don’t expect much

Talks to avert a potentially catastrophic U.S. debt default resume on Tuesday after signs Republicans might soften their stance over a key obstacle to a deal with Democrats, but hopes for a breakthrough remain slim. Vice President Joe Biden leads senior lawmakers in their third round of negotiations to lift the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt limit before an August 2 deadline for action. Top Republicans say Biden’s talks are laying vital groundwork for an eventual compromise on measures to reign in growth in the U.S. budget deficit, but President Barack Obama will ultimately be required to seal the deal. No
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Playing the political flip flop game

Political flip-flops are in fashion these days, in red and in blue, from the White House to the Congress to the 2012 campaigns for both. Raise the debt limit? Democrats who voted against it when George W. Bush was president now say Republicans could wreck the economy if they do the same. Republicans who voted for it then demand spending cuts before committing now. Remake Medicare, as recommended in the House Republican budget? Republican Newt Gingrich, running for president, was harshly critical, then apologized after conservatives attacked him for his remarks. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. and seeking re-election in 2012,
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Democrats step up the heat in GOP primary

Maybe President Barack Obama and his friends got tired of waiting for the 2012 campaign to start. The early action was supposed to be in the competitive Republican primary. But the White House and its allies are meddling from the sidelines with a good cop, bad cop routine, hoping to exploit the GOP’s late start. A pro-Obama group called Priorities USA is airing a TV ad in South Carolina that jabs Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, two of the best-known Republican contenders. The ad coincided with Romney’s visit to the state Saturday, his first since forming a presidential exploratory committee.
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Tea Party-backed GOP freshmen pack defense bill with pork

Remember all those grand promises by the tea party-backed Republicans who promised to put an end to wasteful spending and pork-barrel earmarks? Just more hypocritical political posturing. While talking the big plan to be fiscally responsible the Republican freshmen have packed a huge $553 billion spending bill with millions of pet defense projects for their home districts. Yep. Pork barrel is still alive in the halls of Congress and the pigs at the trough are the ones voters sent to Washington to end the wasteful practice. Of course, Republicans claim the money for the projects aren’t pork. Of course not.
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