TPM News

The Kentucky Senate Republican primary is continuing to heat up, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) officially endorsing the establishment favorite Trey Grayson -- and another poll showing insurgent candidate Rand Paul way ahead in the race.

McConnell said in a statement that Grayson, the Kentucky Secretary of State, "has a track record of leading by example." This crucial endorsement for Grayson comes just a day after James Dobson dramatically retracted his endorsement of Grayson, and claimed that senior Republicans had misled him about Paul's views on abortion.

Meanwhile, the new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Paul continuing to maintain a huge lead in the race.

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Possibly today, but if not today then soon, the Senate will decide whether or not to follow the House's lead and adopt a provision requiring government auditors to open up the books at the Federal Reserve. The measure enjoys a great deal of popularity on both the left and the right, but is so fiercely opposed by powerful interests that it could nonetheless become a stumbling block in the way of financial regulatory legislation.

Right now Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is trying to round up 60 or more votes to overcome a likely filibuster and include an "audit the Fed" provision in the Senate's bill. There are just a few small obstacles: the White House, major financial institutions, and the Fed itself. Their resistance is fierce--but the measure is so popular that killing it will be difficult for them and that, in their eyes, threatens to put a grenade at the center of efforts to to tighten the rules on Wall Street.

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In a further sign that national Democrats are worried about the special election in Hawaii's First District, the Democratic National Committee is circulating a private poll making it clear that Ed Case, one of the two Democratic candidates splitting the vote, is the more electable choice over fellow Dem Colleen Hanabusa.

The numbers, among likely voters: Republican Charles Djou 36%, Case 34%, and Hanabusa 20%. The TPM Poll Average has Djou ahead with 32.3%, Case with 32.0%, and Hanabusa at 21.8%. A Democratic source has confirmed the authenticity of the poll to TPMDC.

From the pollster's analysis: "The bottom line is that with a split-Democratic vote, this congressional is more likely than not to fall into Republican hands. Ed Case is the only candidate who can beat Charles Djou in this multi-candidate special election in May."

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An investigation by Ken Cuccinelli of a climate scientist who was caught up in last year's "Climate-Gate" flap is being likened to a "witch hunt" -- even by global warming skeptics.

As we reported yesterday, the conservative Virginia attorney general last month demanded that the University of Virginia hand over a slew of documents relating to the grant-funded research of Michael Mann, a climate scientist who worked at UVA from 1999 to 2005. Among the materials requested by May 27 were email correspondence with a long list of other climate scientists, including several who, like Mann, were prominent figures in Climate-Gate. You can see Cuccinelli's "Civil Investigative Demand," first obtained by the The Hook, a Charlottesville newspaper, here.

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Speaking on the Senate floor moments ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that financial reform will be finished by next week.

"We have to finish it by next week, and we will finish it one way or the other by next week," he said. "We have to do that. We have so much more to do."

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Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac had a theory last night that the oil spill in the Gulf Coast is proof that "someone or something is trying to kill New Orleans."

"What's next?" he asked. "Sentient po'-boys hell-bent on revenge? Flashed breasts with nuclear warheads? Or maybe the world's largest pillow brought down on the city's face while it sleeps."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Fire In The Gulf: New Pictures Of The Deepwater Horizon]

When Jon Stewart asked who would want to kill New Orleans, Cenac responded that the city "has no shortage of enemies. I actually heard that last year it f*cked Houston's girlfriend."

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) reportedly suggested in a news conference yesterday that the massive oil spill in the Gulf Coast was "an act of God that cannot be prevented."

Here's how Perry responded to a question on the Obama administration's response to the spill, according to a Dallas Morning News report:

"From time to time, there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented," Perry said. "So until we know that, to make a judgment on this administration or any further activity may be a bit premature."

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The CEO of BP is trying to get out in front of potential lawsuits by casting the blame for the Gulf oil spill squarely on the owner of the rig: Transocean. But in doing so in media interviews Monday, BP's Tony Hayward appears to have also gotten out in front of the known facts.

"It wasn't our accident," he told the Today Show on Monday. Pressed by anchor Meredith Vieira, Hayward claimed: "the drilling rig was a Transocean drilling rig. It was their rig and their equipment that failed, run by their people, their processes."

But oil industry experts tell TPMmuckraker that BP, as the lease operator on the Deepwater Horizon rig, most likely did have a role in decision-making aboard the drilling vessel. And six BP employees were on the rig when it exploded April 20.

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Stephen Colbert was angry last night about the attempted bombing of Times Square, because he said this shows "they don't just hate us for our freedom. Now they hate us for our souvenirs of freedom. From our plastic Lady Liberty, to our foam crown Lady Liberty, to our green M&M Lady Liberty."

But, said Colbert, "they may take our safety and security, but they will never take our rhinestone studded Big Apple thongs."

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