TPM News

Sen. Mitch McConnell released the following statement today in response to President Obama's selection of solicitor general Elena Kagan as his SCOTUS nominee:

I congratulate Elena Kagan on her nomination. As we did with Justice Sotomayor last year, Senate Republicans will treat Ms. Kagan fairly. She has been nominated for a lifetime appointment on the nation's highest court, and we will carefully review her brief litigation experience, as well as her judgment and her career in academia, both as a professor and as an administrator. Fulfilling our duty to advise and consent on a nomination to this office requires a thorough process, not a rush to judgment.

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A hard-hitting TV ad that has been widely denounced as offensive could have an impact in next week's hard-fought Democratic primary election in Arkansas. The group behind the ad is run by an up-and-coming GOP operative, but won't say who's funding it.

The GOP-tied conservative advocacy group Americans for Job Security has said it's spending $900,000 -- a hefty sum in the state's relatively inexpensive media market -- to run a TV ad that accuses Lt. Gov. Bill Halter of shipping jobs to India when he helped run a tech company. On top of stereotypical "Indian" images and music, actors playing Indians thank Halter. The candidate has called the ads "despicable," and even his opponent, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, has labeled them "offensive."

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It's official.

President Obama officially announced this morning that he's nominating Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court created by Justice John Paul Stevens' retirement.

Introducing her as "our solicitor general and my friend, Elena Kagan," Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and Kagan, said that "Elena is widely regarded as one of the nation's foremost legal minds."

Kagan, 50, is the country's first female solicitor general and was also the first female dean of Harvard Law School.

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While Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) are caught in a fierce Democratic Senate primary battle (new polls now show Sestak leading), former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has released his first television ad of the campaign.

The ad touts Toomey as a "taxpayer hero" who's against "trillion dollar bailouts and deficits, government-run health care, record unemployment."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is facing a heated challenge in the Republican primary from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, has a TV ad taking a hard line -- and a folksy line, as well -- on border security, essentially countering Hayworth's attacks against Mccain's past support for comprehensive immigration reform.

The ad shows McCain walking along the Mexican border with a county sheriff, who for his part endorses McCain's proposal to bring the National Guard to the border. McCain adds: "And complete the danged fence."

The TPM Poll Average currently gives McCain a lead of 49.2%-38.2%.

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Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) wants to hear from Solicitor General Elena Kagan on health care.

One issue in Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Barrasso said on Fox News this morning, "is this whole health care bill that has just come out. There's a mandate that everybody in the country has to buy a product. That's a 10th Amendment issue. Twenty states right now are suing the federal government."

She is going to have to make a decision, if she is on the court, about how that goes forward with these 20 states suing.

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Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday that an FBI surveillance team watching Faisal Shahzad last week lost contact with the Times Square bomb suspect for "about an hour.

"We lost contact with him for just a bit of time," Holder said, adding that, "we had a layered approach so at the end of the day, I think, we were always confident that he would be picked up. And the question was only where would he be picked up and when would he be picked up."

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After months as the underdog, Gov. Charlie Crist is back out front in the Florida Senate race, according to public polling. Since Crist dropped out of the GOP primary to run as an independent, polls have shown him leading the three-way contest with likely Republican nominee Marco Rubio and likely Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek.

In the latest poll of the race, conducted late last week by Mason-Dixon, Crist leads the race with 38% of the vote. Rubio is running second with 32% and Meek is a distant third with 19%.

The TPM Poll Average of the race shows a similar result. Crist is polling at 37.9% in the average, with Rubio drawing 32.0% and Meek trailing with 17.6%

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"Lucien," the young male escort hired by George Rekers to carry his luggage and give him erotic massages on a trip to Europe, spoke on Anderson Cooper 360 Friday night.

Lucien says that, although the massages were sexual, the two did not have sex. He also said that Rekers -- a leader of the ex-gay movement who has testified in favor of banning gay couples from adopting children -- maintains that he is not gay.


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