Newt Gingrich’s campaign explains his Twitter followers, Emanuel Cleaver explains what’s in a real Satan sandwich, and Rick Santorum is offering free jelly.

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* Newt Gingrich’s campaign has responded to a report in Gawker alleging that the candidate paid for Twitter followers. “At no time has the campaign or Gingrich Communications employed an outside group to inflate the number of followers of @newtgingrich,” said R.C. Hammond, a spokesman for the former House Speaker in a statement. “Any accusation of the kind is a lie, a smear and unsubstantiated.” The campaign points out that Gingrich was on Twitter’s Suggested User List, which helps explain his huge follower count.

* Bad blood? One of the recent donors to Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign is a former campaign manager for Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) — who is hoping to unseat the senator in 2012. Jason van Eaton, who now runs a consulting firm, gave $1,000 to the Democrat. Warren Erdmanand Matt Roney, two one-time staffers to former Republican senator Kit Bond, are also McCaskill donors.

* Recipes have been floating around, but Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) gave his own “Satan sandwich” ingredients on MSNBC today: “You’ve got a little bit of sourdough on one side of the sandwich for poor people. And then you have some onions for people who are on unemployment benefits and realize that’s not going to be in the deal. It’s got a lot of stuff in it . . . very few things that are good.”

* In an interview with the Wall Street Journal‘s Opinion Journal today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) suggested Republicans were still committed to entitlement reform along the lines of the plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Younger Americans, he said, will have to “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.” People over 55 will still be protected; “the rest of us have got ample time to try and plan our lives so that we can adjust to reality.”


* Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) is really going to resign, really. He promises. Officials are still waiting for the scandal-ridden lawmaker to actually submit his resignation paperwork; Wu’s spokesman says that it “won’t be long.” Meanwhile, Rob Cornilles — Wu’s 2010 challenger — is running for the seat again.

* Tim Pawlenty will be back in Iowa on Friday for the launch of an eight-day tour ending with the Ames straw poll on Aug. 13th. He will hit 26 cities in 21 counties, covering 1,366 miles. The former Minnesota governor has gone all-out in hopes of a good Ames showing.

* One straw poll trick Pawlenty isn’t trying: homemade jelly. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum will be handing out samples of peach preserves, made fresh by his family from their backyard orchard, at his straw poll tent. Seriously, can anyone top that?

* Not only is the straw poll next Saturday, on Thursday there’s an Iowa debate. Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Chris Wallace will be joined by Washington Examiner correspondents Byron York and Susan Ferrechio to moderate. Gingrich, Pawlenty, Santorum, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, and Jon Huntsman are all participating.


There are some important life lessons here.

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake