(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's increasing his support of Republican candidates running in November's midterm elections.
The possible 2012 GOP presidential hopeful announced Tuesday that his political action committee, Freedom First PAC, is endorsing 30 candidates in New Hampshire, from the statewide to the local level. The PAC is also contributing approximately $18,000 total to the candidates' campaigns.
"Voters around the country know government spending is out of control," said Pawlenty in a statement. "This fall, New Hampshire voters will send a message that we've had enough. Each of these candidates will fight to hold the line on taxes and cut spending – I'm proud to endorse them."
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - Senate Democrats are aiming to force a vote extending tax breaks for the middle class - and not for those in the top income bracket - before they adjourn for the midterm elections.
But it's not clear the vote will happen; and it depends on Democrats working out a procedural deal with Republicans, two aides and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Tuesday.
If the vote happens, it will likely be a test vote on extending tax cuts – now slated to expire at the end of the year – for families earning less than $250,000 and individuals earning less than $200,000.
At this point, the chances of such a measure passing look slim.
Programming note: Watch the full interview on "The Situation Room" tonight beginning at 5 p.m. ET
(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Tuesday that it would be a "mistake" for Democrats to underestimate the Tea Party movement.
"In their purest form the Tea Partiers are saying, 'I've been let down by big business and big government. I've been let down because the big banks were bailed out but nobody helped me. And the government that bailed them out, they're doing fine, they all have a job, they make their mortgage payments, have health care, send their kids to college. I want reform in both,'" Clinton said.
The former president, though, also lashed out at the movement, saying that its founders "tend to be pretty far-right extremists whose goal is to destroy the power of government to mediate the power of corporations."
Washington (CNN) - Senate Republicans just said they will move tomorrow to strip Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, from her post as ranking Republican on the Senate Energy Committee.
Republicans say Wednesday they will vote to elect an acting ranking member and then the full GOP conference will ratify the vote.
Republicans will also vote to elect a replacement for Murkowski in the leadership. She resigned Friday as vice chair of the Senate GOP conference.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, John Cornyn, R-Texas, told CNN this is, "the appropriate thing to do. When you chose not to accept the judgment of the primary voters and run as a write in... it has consequences."
Another Republican came out of the Senate GOP lunch and told CNN it was clear Murkowski has virtually no support among her colleagues anymore. That senator spoke on condition of anonymity, in order to speak freely about a private meeting.
Our colleagues over at Time always have interesting things to say. Here's what we're reading at the Ticker:
Jay Newton-Small has a piece on Time's Swampland blog on the write-in candidacy of Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski– reported from the Senator's home state of Alaska. Murkowski is the 800-pound gorilla in the room that the two other candidates, who are officially on the ballot, are taking very seriously.
And California is on the mind of Adam Sorenson who writes for Time.com about whether the Republicans can win the Governor's mansion and a Senate seat in California this November.
Washington (CNN) - A defense bill that includes the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy failed to advance in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday as Republicans closed ranks to keep the bill from coming up for debate.
The bill stalled on a 56-43 vote, four short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican-led filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, joined the opposition as a tactical move, allowing him to bring it up later.
Republicans stood united against the measure even though some GOP senators favor lifting the Pentagon's requirement that gays and lesbians keep their sexuality a secret. Republican opponents complained that Democratic leaders are limiting the debate and could have refused to allow GOP amendments to the broader National Defense Authorization Act, which included the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal provision.
President Obama had promised to repeal the congressionally enacted ban on military service by openly gay and lesbian sevicemembers. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the White House is "disappointed" at the Senate vote, "but we'll keep trying."
Updated 4:05 p.m.
(CNN) - Sarah Palin has struck a campaign chord again, so to speak, with a new web video replete with sweeping images of Tea Party rallies and orchestral music usually reserved in politics for the glowing profile ads candidates use to kick off their campaigns.
The 80-second video, entitled "Tea Party," primarily features clips of Palin's speech in March to Tea Party rally-goers in Searchlight, Nevada.
"This party that we call the Tea Party is the future of politics," Palin proclaims as the video concludes.
The web video highlights Palin's continuing efforts to establish herself as a leader of the conservative movement. It comes one week after Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party-endorsed, Palin-backed candidate in Delaware's GOP Senate primary, secured a major upset victory over Rep. Mike Castle, the party-backed establishment politician. No politicians–other than Palin–appear in the video.
Washington (CNN) - While 2010 might be the year of the Tea Party, a second storyline is the rise of Republican women candidates.
In the 2010 election cycle, five female Republican candidates are running in competitive Senate seats. And a slew of Republican women are running in congressional and gubernatorial races that have made national headlines.
So why the increase this year?
Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez says former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is a catalyst.
"She opened the door and showed that women could pass the money test," Sanchez said.
Palin also appeals to a certain group for women - pro-life, evangelicals, mothers and fiscal conservatives - who have wanted to be a part of the system for a long time, Sanchez said.
2 p.m. ET - The Senate's number two Democrat was very candid in a gaggle with a few of us just now that the Senate is likely to adjourn late next week – a week earlier than planned.
"I think we're going to try to get out of here next week if we can," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill, said.
"Why?" I asked.
Washington (CNN) - After several weeks of news coverage indicating Democrats could be on the verge of losing control of the House of Representatives, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer proclaimed Democrats are a "party on the move," and maintained the more the public learns about what Republicans are proposing, the better Democrats' chances are of keeping their majority.
"No I don't think there's a death knell. I think there's a resurgence of Democrats throughout the country," Hoyer said, responding to a reporter's question about whether recent news stories show a "death knell" for Democrats.
The number two House Democrat mocked news coverage of a generic ballot poll done by Gallup several weeks ago that showed the American people favored Republican candidates over Democratic ones by double digits. He noted that he didn't see the same blaring headlines this week when a the same poll showed the parties were virtually tied.
Although Hoyer's tone was confident about Democrats' chances in November, he admitted that the massive budget deficit is a major issue his party must confront.