TPM News

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) has come out strongly against the Muslim community center project near Ground Zero in New York, going so far as to invoke the "come on" exception to America's freedom of religion.

"I think that is the ultimate insensitivity," Cantor said during an interview with National Review. "Anyone looking at that with any common sense would say, 'What in the world would we be doing, you know, fostering some type of system that allows this to happen.' Everybody knows America's built on the rights of free expression, the rights to practice your faith, but come on.

"The World Trade Centers were brought down by Islamic extremists -- radicals who were bent on killing Americans and accomplished that in unimaginable ways. I think it is the height of insensitivity, and unreasonableness to allow for the construction of a mosque on the site of the World Trade Center bombings. I mean, come on."

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Rep. Kendrick Meek is up with yet another ad touting his Democratic credentials and slamming his opponent in the Senate primary in Florida, billionaire investor Jeff Greene, for making his fortune from betting that the housing market would collapse.

While Meek's first spots were aimed primarily at hitting Greene, this new ad spends about half the time (that's 15 seconds for those playing at home) talking Meek up as the only legitimate candidate in the race.

"Every major newspaper has endorsed Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate," the ad begins. "Presidents Obama and Clinton, [Florida] teachers and police all support Kendrick Meek."

With the clock ticking down toward the August 24 primary -- and Greene still running very close to if not ahead of Meek in polls -- Meek can't afford to let any endorsement go unheralded. He also can't afford to let an opportunity to rip Greene pass him by. That's why the back half of the ad is as negative as it is.

"And Jeff Greene?" the ad's narrator asks. "A flat-out liar."

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Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), in a campaign speech today in which he (again) defended himself against charges by the House ethics committee, said a middle finger well represents how he feels about the charges, the press and, indeed, the whole process.

Last night, at Rangel's star-studded birthday party fund-raiser, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins flipped off a protester who was calling for Rangel to resign.

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Did Glenn Beck defend gay marriage to Bill O'Reilly last night?

Beck was on O'Reilly's Fox News show, and O'Reilly asked why Beck doesn't talk about gay marriage more on his show, and whether he thinks it's a threat to America.

Beck's response? "A threat to the country," he repeated. "Will the gays come and get us?"

Quoting Thomas Jefferson, Beck said: ''If it neither breaks my leg, nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?"

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One potential Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, is now coming out against conservative efforts to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

"I don't think that's even possible," Huckabee said, when asked by NPR whether he would support repealing the language in the 14th Amendment that confers citizenship on all people born in this country. When asked whether he would favor the idea, Huckabee responded: "No. Let me tell you what I would favor. I would favor having controlled borders...but that's where the federal government has miserably and hopelessly failed us."

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Huckabee previously came out against efforts to amend the Constitution to end birthright citizenship. He was also attacked for his actions as governor of Arkansas, when he allowed in-state tuition at state colleges for the children of illegal immigrants, saying that children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents.

(Via the Huffington Post.)

Sharron Angle has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, clearly seeking to fight back attacks that she wants to destroy Social Security. In a sign of how hard she's working to reassure general election voters, Angle now says she'll protect the program.

"The real Social Security solutions are to stop Harry Reid from raiding the Social Security trust fund. He needs that money for his own pet projects," Angle says in the ad. "We have a contract with our seniors, who have put into Social Security in good faith. I'd like to save Social Security by locking the lockbox, putting the money back into the trust fund, so the government can no longer raid our retirements."

Angle has been hammered for previous statements that she would get rid of Social Security -- an accusation she has strongly denied. The problem is, the original video from a primary debate clearly shows Angle saying, "We need to phase Medicare and Social Security out in favor of something privatized." She also added: "I'm saying it [Social Security] can't be fixed, it's broken." Since then she has modified her position, saying she would offer an option for people to stay in the program or pursue private investment accounts.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Harry Reid a lead of 45.1%-42.7%.

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The Washington Post has an interesting look today at Kevin L. Cohee, the CEO of OneUnited, the bank at the center of ethics allegations against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Waters is charged with acting improperly by helping the bank, in the midst of the financial crisis, while her husband held hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock in the bank. She denies doing anything wrong.

According to the Post, Waters had helped Cohee in the past, intervening in 2002 with the governor so Cohee could buy the bank that became OneUnited.

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Stephen Colbert was pretty impressed with Newt Gingrich last night, following revelations of philandering by Gingrich's ex-wife in Esquire. "His moral compass is so great he can make it point wherever he wants," Colbert said, adding: "Newt is so pro-marriage he can't stop doing it!"

Colbert also described how Newt's ex described the night before he left her, when he gave a big family values speech. According to Colbert, she asked Newt, "and I'm paraphrasing here, 'How do you give that speech and at the same time be such a douchebag p*ssyhound?"

And Newt's reply, according to Colbert? "There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live. In short, do as I say not who I do."

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