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2012: Romney and Perry -- "frenemies"?

“Vice President Biden found himself under fire Tuesday from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), who condemned alleged comments the vice president made attacking the Tea Party,” The Hill writes of Biden having said (per Politico) that Tea Party Republicans had “acted like terrorists.” Bachmann, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and Rick Santorum asked Biden to apologize. Palin on FOX called it “vile” to be called a terrorist for “taking a stand.” Santorum wants Biden to “apologize and mean it.”

BACHMANN: During a ten-minute phone call to an audience gathered in the parking lot of a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Newton, IA, Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann vowed to vote against the debt deal, NBC’s Jamie Novogrod says.  A crowd of about 25 people stood under a tent in noon heat. Bachmann apologized for not being there in person. She urged her audience to drink water, and explained she had returned to Washington for the vote. 

"Let me ask you this question. Raise your hand. Do you want me to vote 'no' on raising the debt ceiling?" she said.  After a pause, several people raised their hands.  "I can't see the results," Bachmann said, "but if the show of hands is anything like the rest of the country," Bachmann said, "it is a very strong 'no.' "

The Washington Post notes Rep. Gabby Gifford’s return to Capitol Hill that included teary reunion shared by Giffords, Bachmann, and Vice President Biden. 

HUNTSMAN: He tells New York Magazine of Bachmann, via GOP12: “She makes for good copy—and good photography.”

In the beautiful rolling hills of Rochester NH, Huntsman yesterday spoke to 40 or so people at a GOP picnic for local candidates running for city council, per NBC’s Jo Ling Kent.

PAWLENTY: His campaign will announce today 29 Iowa county chairmen.

PERRY: The Texas Tribune: "Two new political outfits, based in Austin and started by a former legislator who served with and worked for Gov. Rick Perry, will try to rally veterans to the governor's presidential race in Iowa and South Carolina. The Tribune also takes a deep look at Perry's time at A&M.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner emailed yesterday in response to a question about whether the governor believed the debt ceiling deal should be passed: "The Governor supports the cut, cap and balance approach."

ROMNEY: The Austin American Statesman reports on the possibility of two "frenemies" facing off for the GOP nomination: Govs. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. The paper recounts the two's sometimes fraught relationship going back to the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, and it speculates that while their relationship appears to have warmed in the last year or so, it will likely get frosty again quickly should Perry jump into the race.

Several outlets, including the LA Times, note Romney's stance against a debt deal after being largely absent from the debate that created it, but Politico goes one step further. They've coined a new phrase, the "Mittness Protection Program" to describe the campaign's strategy of non-engagement in daily political stories, and Romney's decision not to retail campaign aggressively thus far this cycle.

“Romney’s comments put him at odds with his party’s congressional leadership and some of its establishment groups, such as the US Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, which urged members yesterday to vote for the plan,” the Boston Globe notes of Romney’s last-minute opposition to the bill. “But Romney also put himself in line with the no-compromise, Tea Party elements of the party that have flexed their political muscle during the debate, and aligned him with Representative Michele Bachmann, a GOP presidential hopeful and favorite of the Tea Party movement.”

SANTORUM: Santorum made four campaign stops across Iowa yesterday and will make six more today, NBC’s Alex Moe and Anthony Terrell report. While speaking with voters at Elly's Tea & Coffee House in Muscatine, IA, Santorum spoke about the debt agreement. "I am not going to condemn the agreement, because it did accomplish two big things for the country, and we do at some point need to raise the debt ceiling," he said, adding, "Anyone who votes for me, I will be the most consistent pitcher and proponent for balancing the budget; it will be a No. 1 priority because it guarantees freedom."

And at the last stop at the Clinton Public Library -- after the House vote -- Santorum said Republicans "blinked” and that he would have preferred a grand bargain. "This is kicking the can down the road, that’s what this does, kicks the can down the road to the next president,” Santorum said. “So, my feeling is, from the very beginning I said what we need to accomplish is to pass the balanced-budget act, that we have to stop kicking the can down the road, little mini deals that just keep the situation perpetuating.

NBC’s Carrie Dann, Garrett Haake, Jo Ling Kent, Alex Moe, Jamie Novogrod, and Anthony Terrell contributed.