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Posted at 5:57 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Afternoon Fix: Rick Perry blocks journalists, Newt Gingrich moves closer to run

By Chris Cillizza

Texas governor Rick Perry is blocking journalists on Twitter, more detail on Newt Gingrich's announcement and another challenger for Ben Nelson.

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Nikki Haley offers hints at 2012 endorsement
Fast Fix: Sleeping in the Capitol?
Why the government won't shut down
The Fix's best state-based political Tweeters


* Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is blocking some local journalists from following him on Twitter, including Tom Benning of the Dallas Morning News, Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and KRLD's Scott Braddock. While Perry has blocked some liberal activists and Democratic politicians in the past, the extension to members of the media appears to be new.

* Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R), who is hoping to take down U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D) next year, is facing questions about why he was paid $152,000 in taxpayer funds for a book on politics that won't be published.

* The man behind the best fake Twitter account in the country has been revealed. @MayorEmanuel is Daniel Sinker, a journalism professor at Columbia College in Chicago and founder of a now-defunct but influential zine, Punk Planet. "I was never really making fun of the guy," Sinker told The Atlantic. "I was making fun with the guy."

* Former state representative Ray Sullivan is joining Marriage Equality Rhode Island as its full-time campaign director. A bill legalizing gay marriage in the state was introduced in January; Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) has indicated that he will sign it if it passes.

* U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman has a Facebook page with about 1,500 fans - but it's not run by potential 2012 contender or any of his advisers. It's actually the work of a 25-year-old Georgetown graduate student, Clifton Yin, who thinks Huntsman should run for president.


* Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg (R) will officially enter the Nebraska Senate race tomorrow. He is the third Republican to declare in the race against Sen. Ben Nelson (D). Stenberg lost narrowly to Nelson in 2000; in two other campaigns he failed to win the nomination. Polling suggests Attorney General Jon Bruning is the frontrunner.

* In what will be either a triumph for the human brain or the next step towards robot domination, four U.S. congressmen will compete against IBM supercomputer "Watson" on "Jeopardy" tonight. Five-time Jeopardy champ Rush Holt (D-N.J.), along with Reps. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) will all try to succeed where Ken Jennings failed. The competition, at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, is meant to "foster a conversation about how technology can positively impact society." By replacing all our lawmakers with robots?

* Yet more detail on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential ambitions - he'll decide this week whether to form a presidential exploratory committee, says ABC News.

* Wondering what Wisconsinites think of the standoff between Gov. Scott Walker (R) and public employees? The Pew Research Center will be releasing their polling on the issue online at 10 P.M. ET.

* With your help, we have compiled a list of the best political tweeters/tweeps in each state. Have suggestions for who should be added? Send them to us!


Natalie Portman's success explained:

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | February 28, 2011; 5:57 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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Next: Unions winning battle for public opinion in Wisconsin

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