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2012: T-Paw talks Lady Gaga

“The IRS announced Thursday that it will suspend its examination of possible gift taxes owed for prior contributions to nonprofit advocacy groups, which are poised to be influential players in the 2012 elections,” Roll Call reports. One of us takes a look this morning on The Daily Rundown on the role outside groups, who in many cases can raise unlimited funds from anonymous donors, have played in the past and will likely play in 2012.

BACHMANN: The Pew Research Center tracked Michele Bachmann’s popularity in social media, finding that between June 26 and July 1, fully one third of links on blogs were to content about Bachmann.

GINGRICH: “Four days before featuring thrice-married former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich in its presidential lecture series, the Iowa Christian conservative group called The Family Leader made it clear that personal fidelity to one’s spouse should be a top priority for all presidential candidates,” IowaPolitics writes. Chuck Hurley, the president of the Iowa Family Center, a 501(c)3 organization that is part of the Family Leader, said, “We acknowledge and regret the widespread hypocrisy of many who say they defend marriage, yet turn a blind eye toward the epidemic of infidelity and the anemic condition of marriages in their own communities.”

HUNTSMAN: One day after Mitt Romney announced a list of endorsements from Utah, the former governor of that state, Jon Huntsman, released three endorsements from Massachusetts Republicans, according to a release sent out by his campaign.

PAWLENTY: In an editorial board meeting with the Des Moines Register, Tim Pawlenty said he hasn’t caught on in the first caucus state because “this week is the first time that I’ve campaigned in earnest in Iowa.” But the Register notes that Pawlenty has made more appearances there than any other candidate except former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. According to Politico, Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant said Pawlenty meant that the “preseason” is over and “we’re on the first of many campaign swings through the state doing lots of press and public events.”

Pawlenty criticized the findings of a committee, headed by former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, charged with giving recommendations on how to resolve the Minnesota budget stalemate: “This commission is the political equivalent of Jurassic Park. Their proposed solutions are antiquated, out of touch with today's realities and needs, and they won't work."

After an interview, Pawlenty asked a group of pop-culture bloggers to name their favorite Lady Gaga song. Clearly itching to answer the question himself, Pawlenty got the chance and showed that he knows his Gaga, the Washington Post writes. “Well you know, in terms of the beat, I like ‘Bad Romance,’” Pawlenty said. “I gotta say, even though she’s a little unusual, ‘Born this Way’ has some appeal. She’s actually very talented. Now if you go to the end of the HBO special, the Lady Gaga HBO special, and you watch her sing a cappella ‘Born This Way,’ she can sing. She can definitely sing. She’s talented.”

ROMNEY: An article in the Boston Globe suggests Mitt Romney relies on a small group of advisers for his foreign policy guidance – and is not exceptionally engaged in those issues, just as he stayed away from them on the campaign trail for the 2008 election. “A small group of Romney’s inner circle has held weekly conference calls to hash out recent and upcoming issues on foreign policy. Romney is on some of the calls, but generally they are coordinated through a staffer who collects the views of the advisers and prepares them for Romney to read later.”

London calling: “Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) met Thursday with David Cameron, the United Kingdom's prime minister, during a trip to London,” The Hill notes, adding, “The meeting has symbolic importance, if nothing else, as a meeting between a potential would-be president and the prime minister of a top ally of the United States.”