Michele Bachmann makes another pop-culture gaffe, Mitt Romney makes another awkward joke, Fox News says Ron Paul wasn’t shut out, and Sarah Palin is headed back to Alaska.

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* Another slip-up over an American icon from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). The presidential candidate, who frequently uses Elvis Presley as her entrance music, yelled to a crowd in South Carolina. “Happy birthday! ... You can’t do better than Elvis Presley. We thought we’d celebrate his birthday as we get started to celebrating the ‘Take Our Country’ back tour.” Unfortunately, today is the anniversary of Elvis’ 1977 death, not his birth.

* Touring an elevator company in New Hampshire today, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continued to ignore his GOP rivals and focus his attacks on President Obama. He also insisted on guessing the origins of every attendee’s name, and on leaving he looked at the owner’s girlfriend and said: “Nice. Nice choice. Just like me.”

* A “Fox News Sunday” producer says the network never went back on a promise to put Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on the air. An aide to the presidential candidate says he was “shut ... out” despite his second place Ames Straw Poll finish and a planned Fox News interview. Andrea DeVito says Paul was made available Saturday night, but “nothing was ever set in stone.”

* Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — who denies any plans to run for president — is one of a number of congressmen whose only recess appearances will be pay-per-view. He’s holding no free town halls, but you can see him at a $15 rotary club luncheon. Reps. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) and Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) are also avoiding free-for-alls, where angry confrontations are more likely.


* Sarah Palin is headed back to Alaska for the start of the school year. But the former governor is expected back in the lower 48 pretty soon — she’s supposed to keynote a tea party rally in Iowa on September 3rd, and she set September as her deadline to make a final decision on the 2012 race. She’s also scheduled to appear with Glenn Beck at a rally in St. Charles, Missouri in early October.

* Detroit charter school co-founder Clark Durant will challenge former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) in the Michigan Senate primary, meaning a potentially tough fight to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Durant is known for his impressive fundraising skills, while Hoekstra has struggled a little in that area. That said, Hoekstra still far better name-recognition in the state — for now.

* Democrats are trying to avoid a serious primary in the New Mexico Senate race, but they might not be able to stop it. Five local AFSCME chapters are breaking with their national leadership to support state Auditor Hector Balderas over Rep. Martin Heinrich, the candidate preferred by the Washington establishment.

* Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) is reportedly considering challenging Rep. Bill Shuster (R) to avoid a primary fight with fellow Rep. Jason Altimire (D). Redistricting will probably put Critz’s home in Altmire’s district, while other parts of the district will be put in Schuster’s territory. But Shuster’s district will likely still be strongly Republican and tough for a Democrat to win.


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