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INSIDE POLITICS

The Washington Times' political blog.

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**FILE** Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks April 11, 2012, during a visit to the Newark Senior Center in Newark, Del. (Associated Press/The Wilmington News-Journal)

Gingrich campaign debt grows

The former presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich raised $185,000 in June to help pay down its significant debts to airlines, security firms and staffers, according to records filed Friday. But it also refunded $505,000 in contributions to people who asked for their money back, leaving it with $4.9 million in debt and about $60,000 in the bank.

**FILE** Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney, talks in Chicago on March 19, 2012, with audience members after her husband spoke at the University of Chicago. (Associated Press)

Dems eat crow over Romney horse gibe

The Democratic National Committee apologized Thursday for featuring footage of Ann Romney's dancing show horse, which she uses in therapy for her multiple sclerosis, as part of an attack video against her husband, Mitt.

House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, talks July 19, 2012, to reporters on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)

House leaders differ on Romney's tax returns

House party leaders acknowledged Thursday they don't release their own tax returns — even though GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney faces sharp pressure to do so. But Republican Speaker John Boehner insisted Mr. Romney's records are his own business, while Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said presidential candidates face a tougher standard than members of Congress.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes a qualifying lap for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Friday, July 6, 2012, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

NASCAR wins fight to keep taxpayer funding

A deeply divided House voted late Wednesday to continue letting the Pentagon use taxpayer money to sponsor sports leagues and teams — a victory chiefly for NASCAR, which had fought feverishly to maintain tens of millions of dollars that go to some of its teams every year.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack talks about the drought during the press briefing at the White House in Washington on Wednesday, July 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Vilsack: Farmers need help from Congress

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday he prays for rain every day, but farmers need action from Congress more than prayers to ease the effects of a drought that is affecting nearly two-thirds of the U.S.