TPM News

South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley, leading in the latest poll on the GOP primary, met a scrum of reporters after her radio appearance today and fielded question after question about an alleged affair with blogger Will Folks.

It makes for some compelling video that also highlights how Haley, clearly a talented communicator, has distinguished herself in the crowded GOP field.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

• CBS, Face The Nation: White House Energy Adviser Carol Browner, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Louisiana State University environmental scientist Edward Overton, Ph.D.

• CNN, State Of The Union: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).

• Fox News Sunday: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

• NBC, Meet The Press: White House Energy Adviser Carol Browner, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ).

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) issued a press release today that partially blames Muslims for the Department of Justice's attempts to challenge Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

"The ACLU, SEIU and the Muslim American Society are calling the shots at the Justice Department," the press release says, later blaming "the ACLU and their radical affiliates" for "dictating the policy of the White House."

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The Hamilton County Democratic Women have released video of their heated meeting with Tim Crawford, Democratic candidate for the House in IN-05, who local Democrats see as an inept right-winger ruining their chance to take control of the seat.

As we previously reported, Democrats questioned Crawford to the point where he offered to quit the race, and then a few days later changed his mind.

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In the Nevada state senate's ninth district race, the Republican primary is getting brutal, with allegations of bribery, defending child rapists and insanity.

The back story: The incumbent, state Sen. Dennis Nolan, in 2008 testified as a character witness in defense of his friend, Gordon Lawes. Lawes was on trial for raping his 16-year-old sister-in-law. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Now, Nolan's primary challenger, Elizabeth Halseth, is using that testimony against him. She ran radio ads all last week in which the victim's father accuses Nolan of "defending child rapists."

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The White House's heavy hand continues to guide financial reform negotiations as they enter their last days, creating a dynamic that has been frustrating to those who want to truly change the way business is done on Wall Street. As House and Senate principals put their heads together to iron out the differences between their two bills, the Obama administration is closing off most opportunities to impose the sorts of new rules that critics say will be needed in order to prevent another financial crisis.

And though the Obama administration is on guard against some of the flagrant efforts on the part of lobbyists to weaken the bill, it has also set strict parameters on the extent of the legislation, leaving some of the bill's supporters concerned that the overall approach simply isn't strong enough.

Perhaps the best example of this dynamic revolves around a far-reaching proposal to regulate derivatives. The White House and its lieutenants in the House and Senate are prepared to scale back or remove a provision that would require big financial firms to spin off their derivatives trading desks. And they're arguing to members that a different measure, limiting the extent to which those firms can engage in speculative trades with their profits, will accomplish the same goals as the spin off plan.

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Presenting his lawsuit against health-care reform in apocalyptic and grandiose terms, Ken Cuccinelli has said that health-care itself is a "secondary" issue in the legal challenge. The real goal, the Virginia Attorney General acknowledges, is to limit federal power. "If we lose, it's very much the end of federalism as we've known it for over 220 years," he said.

Cuccinelli's comments came in response to the Justice Department's motion, filed earlier this week, to dismiss his lawsuit.

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Shortly after the White House released a memo in an attempt to diffuse the dust-up over claims there was a quid pro quo to influence the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Joe Sestak is confirming the administration's account.

The nominee's statement includes the first real details Sestak (D-PA) has offered since first acknowledging there was an offer, an issue which heated up since he won the May 18 primary over Sen. Arlen Specter.

Sestak said he was called last summer by President Clinton, who "expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background." Sestak said that during the call, which the White House said was in June and July, Clinton relayed a message from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel there was interest in Sestak serving on a presidential board.

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Florida Sen. George Lemieux (R) said this morning that President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden should be down at the Gulf Coast leading the effort to contain and cleanup the oil spill. Obama's actually there today. But Lemieux seemed to suggest that one of them should be there at all times.

"I wanna see my president not in a suit in Washington D.C.," Lemieux said. "I wanna see him down on the Gulf Coast, not just for a day of photo shoot, but on the job, leading the effort. When he's not there, I want Joe Biden. I don't want him in Africa going to a soccer game. Let's show some leadership."

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