In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Updated: March 20, 2014, 3:41 PM

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-NC) has listed two different colleges as his alma mater. Tillis, who's running in the GOP primary to face Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), is a graduate of the University of Maryland but he actually went to the independent online school University of Maryland University College.

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Allegations of email hacking and impersonation. A defamation lawsuit. New Mexico Republicans don't have much hope for stealing a U.S. Senate seat away from Democratic incumbent Tom Udall this November, but they sure are having a lot of fun in the meantime.

Allen Weh, a 71-year-old former state party chair and 2010 gubernatorial candidate, should have coasted to the GOP nomination to challenge Udall. But then a virtual unknown, attorney David Clements, surprisingly scored nearly half the delegates at the state party's preprimary convention earlier this month. There was suddenly a real race, even if Weh still holds every structural advantage.

That might help explain the heightened sniping between the campaigns, which have traded harsh allegations in recent weeks. The first was from Clements, who said that Weh's campaign manager hacked his campaign email, which resulted in a formal investigation. Then came a counter lawsuit by Weh's campaign manger, alleging defamation by Clements.

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear two landmark cases about the validity of a rule under Obamacare that employer health plans must cover emergency contraceptives for female employees without co-pays.

The cases carry potentially far-reaching implications for Obamacare, access to birth control, the concept of corporate personhood and the extent to which religious liberty can exempt entities from laws they object to.

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The country's most aggressive anti-tax lobbyist is taking aim at Chris Christie over a new sales tax on electronic cigarettes endorsed by the New Jersey governor in his recent budget proposal.

Grover Norquist, the guardian of the notorious anti-tax pledge signed by most national Republicans, name-checked Christie in a recent letter calling on the New Jersey legislature to reject the GOP governor's "misguided" proposal, which would tax e-cigarette products at the same rate as traditional cigarettes.

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The Georgia state legislature passed a bill on Tuesday to prohibit abortion coverage from being included in insurance sold under Obamacare within its borders. It is now the 22nd state, almost all of them with statehouses controlled by Republicans, to pass such a bill since the federal law took effect in March 2010.

GOP lawmakers are taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act's approach to abortion coverage, a hotly contested issue when the bill was being debated, but pro-choice advocates have no illusions about what's happening: Conservatives are using the hated health care reform law to further the effort to restrict abortion coverage.

"This has been a big trend in state legislatures since as soon as the ink was dry on the ACA," Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice advocacy organization, told TPM.

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Engaged in all-out war with the liberal group MoveOn.org over a pro-Obamacare billboard, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has accused the organization -- and liberals in general -- of endorsing discrimination against the disabled through their support of the federal health care reform law and its Medicaid expansion.

"Liberal groups like MoveOn.org won’t say one word about caring for individuals with disabilities, or how Obamacare prioritizes coverage of childless adults ahead of the most vulnerable," Jindal wrote in an op-ed in the Shreveport Times last Thursday. "They just want to intimidate states into accepting Obamacare’s massive new spending programs."

The Louisiana state government and MoveOn have been feuding over a pro-Medicaid expansion billboard that the organization put up. After the group refused to take it down, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) sued MoveOn last Friday. The Medicaid expansion has become a hot issue in the state: MoveOn attacking Jindal, Jindal attacking MoveOn; Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) attacking Jindal, and Jindal giving it right back. About 242,000 Louisianans have been left without health coverage under Obamacare because the state didn't expand Medicaid.

Of Landrieu, who's facing a tough re-election race in the state, Jindal inquired in the Times op-ed: "Why did she support -- and provide the critical 60th vote to enact -- legislation that discriminates against individuals with disabilities, by prioritizing coverage for childless adults over the needs of the most vulnerable?"

There's only one problem: According to health policy experts, Obamacare does no such thing. Furthermore, it actually sets up new demonstrations to help improve care for the disabled enrolled in Medicaid -- and Jindal should know that because his state has participated in several of them.

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