TPM News

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) may have hoped she'd put the primary behind her, but it will continue to haunt her for weeks to come. Now that she's running full-time in the general election against Rep. John Boozman, Lincoln is once again shoring up her right flank, tiptoeing away from the rhetoric she used to defeat Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. The results are...awkward.

For instance, in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Lincoln tried to dispel the notion that she cast the deciding vote for health care reform, which remains unpopular in Arkansas.

"I wasn't the deciding vote," Lincoln said. "I was among a handful of five Democrats that worked on getting consensus."

There's some truth to that. But where did the Democrat-Gazette get the notion that Lincoln tipped health care into the Democrats' win column? From Blanche Lincoln, who in the below ad said, " I grew up in an Arkansas family where we were taught to solve problems, not through hate and anger, but by coming together and getting something done. That's why I cast the deciding vote to pass health care reform."

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Dozens of financial industry lobbyists have ties to lawmakers serving on the conference committee negotiating financial reform legislation, according to data reported by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics. Among them are seven former chiefs of staff and a total of 16 former employees of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL).

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A Democratic primary challenger in South Carolina who has been accused of being a "plant" hired for his Congressional campaign a GOP consultant who as recently as late last year was the campaign manager for Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), according to campaign finance reports.

Businessman Gregory Brown says he challenged Rep. James Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in Congress, in the Democratic primary on Tuesday because he's worried about the state's poverty rates and failing schools. Clyburn (D-SC) charged this week that Brown is such a political novice that he must be a "plant."

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The new Rasmussen poll of the California Senate race shows Republican former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina continuing to trail Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, despite Fiorina's landslide win in Tuesday's GOP primary.

The numbers: Boxer 48%, Fiorina 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. The previous Rasmussen poll from a month ago had Boxer ahead of Fiorina by 45%-38%.

The TPM Poll Average has Boxer ahead by 45.7%-40.2%.

Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in the top-tier race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has recruited some big-name talent coming off her win in the Republican primary: The media team that previously helped Republican Sen. Scott Brown pull off his big victory in Massachusetts.

Angle has signed up Prosper Group, which managed Brown's website and fundraising operation, the Associated Press reports. Brown was able to raise $12 million online, in a race in which he defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in heavily-Dem Massachusetts. Reid already had over $9 million on hand as of May 19, according to FEC reports, and reportedly plans to raise as much as $25 million total for the race.

The TPM Poll Average has Angle ahead of Reid by 45.2%-40.5%. The Democrats plan to take down Angle by playing up her various extreme stances and associations, such as her ties to the Oath-Keepers, her backing of a Scientologist-designed prison drug rehab program, her opposition to Social Security, etc.

The first tapes made from wiretaps on the phones of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his associates were played yesterday in Blago's corruption trial in Chicago federal court.

The tapes paint the former governor as desperate for campaign funds.

In one tape, Blagojevich can be heard telling his brother, Rob, to hit up everyone he can for donations, hoping to reach a $4 million campaign goal.

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Democrats are continuing to hammer House Minority Leader John Boehner for suggesting that the government should bear some of the financial burdens of the Gulf oil spill, despite the fact that his office now insists BP should cover every last cent.

At her weekly press event this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed her commitment to holding BP fully accountable for the spill, and backed a legislative initiative to lift a $75 million liability cap on oil companies...but she also snuck in a pot shot.

Asked by a reporter to respond to Boehner's contention that any changes to the liability law should be kicked down the road, Pelosi couldn't resist.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Nevada gubernatorial race shows Republican Brian Sandoval, a former federal judge who easily defeated incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons in the GOP primary, way ahead of Democratic Clark County Commission Chair Rory Reid, son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The numbers: Sandoval 54%, Reid 31%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. This result in fact shows little movement from previous polls, before Sandoval's much-expected primary win over the scandal-plagued Gibbons. The previous Rasmussen poll, from all the way back in late March had Sandoval ahead 55%-34%. The TPM Poll Average has Sandoval ahead 52.3%-36.2%.

As we've previously noted, this race is quite unique, with a father and son appearing together on the same statewide ballot as the elder Reid simultaneously seeks re-election to his Senate seat. At the time I wrote the post in December, I asked various political experts whether they knew of a prior high-profile example. They did not -- this might actually be the first time in U.S. political history.

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