Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

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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Herman Cain's Number-One Foreign Policy Priority is Impossible

| Sat Nov. 12, 2011 8:38 PM EST

Saturday night's GOP presidential debate in South Carolina focused on foreign policy, which was bad news for Herman Cain. By his own admission, it's a subject he doesn't know much about. And it showed. Taking the first question of the debate, about how he would address the prospect of a nuclear Iran, he offered a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

Cain's big point—one he's made before—is that he would defeat the Iranian regime by choking their economy. Specifically, he would develop American energy sources (in the form of offshore oil drilling, among other things) so that we're no longer reliant on hostile nations for resources. That sounds nice. He sounded confident enough as he rattled off his talking points.

But there's a problem: The United States doesn't currently get any oil from Iran. If a Cain administration would try to curb Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's power by increasing domestic oil production, that wouldn't have any impact on the Iranian economy. In the long-term, domestic energy self-suffiency is a positive. But in response to the immediate threat of a nuclear Iran—a long-term energy plan doesn't mean anything.

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Montana Senate Race: Who Hates Wolves More?

| Fri Nov. 11, 2011 3:47 PM EST
Does Sen. Jon Tester's disdain for wolves also extend to t-shirts that become Internet memes?

Next fall's Montana Senate race is shaping up to be the most expensive election in the state's history. Karl Rove's dark money outfit, Crossroads GPS, is already saturating the airwaves in the state (it's also going after Elizabeth Warren). The race, pitting incumbent Democrat Jon Tester against longtime Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), could well decide which party controls the Senate. There's a lot at stake—so naturally, the race has come down to the important question of which candidate hates the endangered western wolf more.

Eli Sanders files a dispatch from Montana and highlights this element of the race:

While in most states you won't find a Democrat trying to out-hustle a Republican over who got an endangered animal like the Western wolf less federal protection, this, again, is Montana — where a lot of voters see wolves as livestock predators. So when Rehberg, who has a stuffed Canadian Black wolf in his office, suggested he's the one responsible for the de-listing of American endangered wolves, Tester's campaign pounced, reminding people that Rehberg's bill actually didn't go anywhere in Congress. "The record is clear as to who did what," Tester told me. "It is absolutely, unequivocally clear. He could not get his bill out of committee. I got my bill signed by the president."

Boom. Maybe noted coyote-killer Rick Perry is running for the wrong office.

Rick Perry's Debate Gaffe, Coming to a Mall Near You

| Thu Nov. 10, 2011 6:54 PM EST

Wednesday night's presidential debate debacle left many Republicans wondering if Rick Perry had totally lost his marbles. As one top donor told Aaron Blake, "Perry campaign is over. Time for him to go home and refocus on being Governor of Texas." Perry thinks, at least publicly, that he can make things better by going on a media blitz. But this promotion that just landed in our inbox, from Marbles, "the brain store," can't be a good sign:

Courtesy of MarblesCourtesy of Marbles

Brain Games, the site helpfully notes, is "a great choice for those who want a mental workout that's fun and challenging at the same time." The cost? You guessed it: $9.99.

Rove's Crossroads GPS Takes On Elizabeth Warren

| Thu Nov. 10, 2011 10:50 AM EST
Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren (D) is taking on Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.

On Tuesday, iWatch's Peter Stone reported that the GOP groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which are affilaited with Karl Rove, expected to raise and spend $150 million to recapture the Senate for Republicans in 2012. Crossroads GPS has been on the air in Montana for a while now, and on Tusesday it began what is likely to be an extended and very expensive campaign to take Massachusetts Senate candidate and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau architect Elizabeth Warren down a notch.

Noah Bierman reports that Crossroads GPS is targeting Warren with a $560,000 ad buy, attempting to define her as the candidate of the increasingly unpopular Occupy Wall Street:

Quote of the Night, Rick Perry Edition: "Oops."

| Wed Nov. 9, 2011 9:33 PM EST
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).

A few weeks back, Rick Perry's presidential campaign floated a daring idea: acknowledging that debates aren't really his thing, the Texas governor would consider skipping any future GOP candidate confabs. It seemed like an act of desperation, but given his performance on stage in Michigan on Wednesday, it might have been a good idea.

Perry's shining moment, the one that will likely live on long past Perry's candidacy, came when he was asked to provide specifics on how he would fix Washington's business climate. He started strong: "When I get there there’ll be three agencies I'll end: commerce, education..."

So far, so good. Except Perry's answer ended there. He grasped, visibly struggling, for the third agency on his list and couldn't come up with it. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) jumped in, helpfully, to offer that there were actually five agencies that should be abolished, and mentioned the EPA. Perry thought that sounded right, but then reconsidered, noting that he was pretty sure he thought the EPA should be rebuilt, not abolished.

CNBC's John Harwood asked Perry to clarify. Could he name the third agency he'd abolish?

"No," Perry said. Long pause. "Oops."

The answer, it turns out, is "Energy." Leave your jokes in the comments.

Thu Oct. 1, 2015 10:23 AM EDT