Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy


Tim Murphy is a senior reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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Wall Street Goes After Elizabeth Warren For Being Too Nice to Wall Street

| Thu Dec. 8, 2011 11:50 AM EST

Republicans are sweating next year's Massachusetts Senate race, and for good reason. The latest poll, out on Wednesday from UMass–Lowell and the Boston Herald, gave Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren a seven point lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown—a 10 point swing from the group's previous survey. Which sort of explains this new ad hitting the airwaves in Massachusetts, from Karl Rove's dark-money outfit, Crossroads GPS:

Notice something odd? Just a few weeks ago Rove's group released an ad chastising Warren, a Harvard Law School professor who started up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for inciting Occupy Wall Street. Now, his group has done a complete 180. Warren's no longer a radical anti-capitalist crusader; she's Wall Street's best friend (albeit a friend one banker called "the anti-Christ").

The kicker: As Michael Isikoff reported, "A substantial portion of Crossroads GPS' money came from a small circle of extremely wealthy Wall Street hedge fund and private equity moguls." So Wall Street is attacking Warren for associating with Wall Street. Got it?

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Rick Perry: Kids Can't Even Celebrate Christmas Anymore

| Wed Dec. 7, 2011 10:38 AM EST

How do you know you're lagging in the polls and running out of time in Iowa? When you start cutting ads like this, accusing President Obama of waging a "war on religion":

What is this war on religion, anyway? Did Congress authorize it? How is it being paid for? If Rick Perry is a Christian and President Obama is at war with Christians, can Obama detain Perry indefinitely without trial?

Perry doesn't say. Instead, he leaves us with this: "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian. But you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." (Note: Kids are still allowed to celebrate Christmas.) This comes just one day after the Texas governor blasted President Obama for supporting human rights for gay people, warning that it was "not in America's interests." Perry has purchased $1 million worth of air time in Iowa in a last-ditch effort to turn around his campaign; he's looking pretty desperate at this point.

Aborted Fetus Campaign Ads Hit the Airwaves in Iowa

| Tue Dec. 6, 2011 1:00 PM EST
Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry.

If you're a resident of Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, or Minnesota, you're on notice. Starting this week, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, who is currently challenging President Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, will begin airing graphic campaign ads featuring what purport to be aborted fetuses, during local news broadcasts.

As I reported last month, the ad buy is part of Terry's nationwide strategy to take advantage of an FCC loophole barring censorship of campaign ads. Although networks and their local affiliates have the authority—and a legal imperative, in some cases—to block "indecent" material from the airwaves, there's an exception when it comes to political spots, so long as they're within 45 days of a primary or caucus.

Per a release:

The ad has multiple graphic images of babies murdered by abortion, and makes the argument that to vote for Obama knowing that Obama supports the murder of babies is a betrayal of the Catholic Faith.

The ad will run on every TV station in Iowa and the five state regions that surrounds Iowa (Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, and Minnesota). The ad will run on at least one news broadcast per station.

Last year, following a successful trial run in a Washington, D.C. congressional race (for the non-voting "delegate" position), Terry announced plans to field single-issue congressional candidates in the nation's 25 biggest media markets, for the sole purpose of running graphic anti-abortion spots that would otherwise never make it onto the airwaves. Terry's already recruited candidates in Cincinnati, the Twin Cities, and St. Louis—and he himself is taking on Obama.

It sort of puts that controversy over Herman Cain's smoking ad in perspective.

8-Year-Old to Bachmann: "My Mommy's Gay"

| Tue Dec. 6, 2011 11:00 AM EST

This video of an eight-year-old cub activist named Elijah confronting Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on gay rights hit the tubes on Sunday and went viral pretty fast. It's pretty easy to see why: Elijah tells Bachmann, "My mommy's gay but she doesn't need any fixing." Bachmann's response, other than momentary shock, is to wave "bye, bye" to the kid. 


Bachmann is currently lagging in single digits in Iowa, where by all accounts she needs a strong showing. But she's built up enough of a reputation for her opposition to gay rights that, even as she slides in the polls, she still has a pretty sizable bullseye on her back and has been on the receiving end of a number of similar video ambushes.

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