TPM News

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters today that NASA Administrator Charles Bolden "misspoke" when he said that one of NASA's goals was to reach out to Muslim nations in an interview with Al Jazeera recently. Bolden's interview raised the hackles of right-wing commentators, at least one of whom suggested that Bolden's comments meant the Obama administration was "leading a sensitivity session" for Muslims at NASA.

Today, under questioning from CNN's Ed Henry, Gibbs told reporters at the daily press briefing that Bolden "misspoke" in the interview with Al Jazeera, when the NASA chief had said that Obama wanted Bolden "to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations, to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and engineering."

"That was not his task, and that is not the task of NASA," Gibbs said.

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Gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman is out today with a new 30-second television ad portraying her rival Attorney General Jerry Brown as in the pocket of labor unions and special interests. The narrator charges that "the special interests have chosen their governor," and features gloomy photos of Brown.

Whitman (R-CA), who already has poured $90 million of her own money into the race, will run the ad statewide. As TPM detailed in a piece last week about Whitman's strategy, the ad goes right at the campaign's attempt to make Brown seem like a relic of days past.

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The Connecticut Post reports that another Connecticut political candidate -- this time Tom Foley, a Republican candidate for governor -- may be stretching the truth about his time in a war zone.

Foley lived in Baghdad's Green Zone in 2003 while working for the Coalition Provisional Authority. On his campaign web site, he describes his time there as pretty hairy.

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Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has made his views known on the Birther controversy: He supports lawsuits to force President Obama to produce his birth certificate.

"I personally don't have standing to bring litigation in court," Vitter said. "But I support conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court. I think that is the valid and most possibly effective grounds to do it."

But on the other hand, Vitter takes a relatively enlightened approach to the issue, telling conservative activists that they shouldn't let the Birther issue distract them from the important work of this November's elections.

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Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) apologized this afternoon for getting testy at a recent town hall, decrying the unflattering viral video that caught him yelling at a constituent as "cynical tactics by political operatives."

In an edited, less-than-45-second clip posted by BreitbartTV, Rodriguez is seen sparring with someone in what appears to be a restaurant. "Don't say that I'm not saying the truth," Rodriguez says in the video, smacking a sheet of papers for emphasis.

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1||July 11, 2010: Spain defeats the Netherlands 1-0 in the FIFA World Cup Final to become world champions for the first time in the competition's history. The cup began in 1930 and is held every four years.||Newscom/imagosports&&

2||Spanish players Andres Iniesta, Joan Capdevlla, David Villa and Xabi Alonso before the match.||Newscom/imagosports&&

3||The final took place at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel were in attendance.||Newscom/ptsphotos&&

4||Fabio Cannavaro, captain of the 2006 championship Italian team, presents the World Cup trophy before the game. Cannavaro announced his retirement from international football on June 25 after Italy failed to advance to the knockout stage of the cup.||Newscom/ptsphotos&&

5||A fan tries to nab the trophy before the game.||Newscom/AFLOsports&&

6||The final match was tense and often brutal -- here, Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso takes a hard foul straight to the chest from the cleats of Dutch player Nigel de Jong. De Jong received a yellow card for the tackle and said afterwards he feels lucky to have avoided a red card. Alonso left the pitch following the injury but came back on to play the majority of the game.||Newscom/Zuma&&

7||Though de Jong avoided being sent off, his teammate John Heitinga was booted from the pitch in extra time, leaving only ten Dutch players on the field. The Netherlands received nine of the 14 yellow cards that referee Howard Webb doled out during the game, the most ever in a World Cup final (the previous record was just six in the 1986 final between West Germany and Argentina).||Newscom/ptsphotos&&

8||Paul the psychic octopus became an international phenomenon during the World Cup because of his accurate predicting ability -- he correctly predicted the outcome of all of Germany's matches as well as Spain's final victory, making him eight for eight.||Newscom/imagosports&&

9||After more than 90 minutes of regulation, neither team had scored. Then, in the 116th minute, just a few minutes before the end of extra time and the possible beginning of a penalty shootout, Andres Iniesta scored for Spain -- a drive past Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg that would be Spain's winning goal.||Newscom/Zuma&&

10||Iniesta celebrates after the winning goal. His shirt says "Dani Jarque, always with us," in honor of the Spanish footballer who died last year from a heart attack at the age of 26.||Newscom/Zuma&&

11||Queen Sofia of Spain celebrates Iniesta's goal in the stands. In front are Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, also of the Spanish royal family, and to the side of the Queen is Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (in the orange scarf).||Newscom/pacificphotos&&

12||Thousands of fans at the Cibeles Fountain in Madrid celebrate the victory.||Newscom/EFE&&

13||Dutch player Wesley Sneijder on the pitch after the match. The Netherlands have reached the World Cup finals three times in their history but have never won the title. Though Spain are the reigning European champions (they beat Germany in the Euro 2008 finals), this was their first time in the World Cup finals.||Newscom/ptsphotos&&

14||Spanish keeper and captain Iker Casillas and the Netherlands' Arjen Robben after the match.||Newscom/ptsphotos&&

15||Prince Willem-Alexander and Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk at the trophy ceremony. Marwijk took his silver medal off after leaving the stage.||Newscom/Zuma&&

16||FIFA President Sepp Blatter and South African President Jacob Zuma hand the trophy to Spanish captain Casillas.||Newscom/ptsphotos&&

17|| ||Newscom/Zuma&&

18||Shakira singing "Waka Waka," the official World Cup anthem, at the closing ceremony.||Newscom/pacificphotos&&

19||Elephant puppeteers at the closing ceremony.||Newscom/Zuma&&

20||The national flags of Netherlands and Spain displayed at the closing ceremony at Soccer City stadium.||Newscom/ptsphotos&&

Here we go. Despite the precious little time left for Congress to get anything done, Republicans tomorrow will ask for the committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan to be delayed for an additional week.

Hotline on Call reported this afternoon that Republican aides plan to ask for the delay tomorrow when the Judiciary Committee arrives for the planned vote on Kagan. GOP aides haven't yet confirmed this for TPM, but Sen. Jon Kyl may have tipped his hand yesterday on "Fox News Sunday."

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Rick Scott's multi-million dollar foray into electoral politics has broken the bank for the Republican Party's choice in the Florida gubernatorial race. State Attorney General Bill McCollum has just $800,000 left in the bank, according to court documents filed by McCollum in response to a Scott lawsuit over campaign finance.

The St. Petersburg Times reports:

McCollum's campaign manager, Matt Williams, disclosed that because of Rick Scott's primary challenge, the campaign began advertising on TV weeks earlier than they had planned and that the campaign has $800,000 on hand as of Saturday.


Less than a million bucks in the bank puts McCollum at a severe disadvantage in the race against Scott, who has spent millions of his own money so far and shows no sign of stopping.

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The second highest ranking Republican in the Senate doubled down on a controversial statement he made this weekend, arguing in greater detail that tax cuts for wealthy people should never be offset by tax increases in other areas -- but that unemployment benefits need to be fully paid for by either spending cuts or tax increases. In so doing, he claimed candidly that the very existence of unemployment insurance is a "necessary evil," while tax cuts ought not be paid for by increases in order to make it easier to shrink the size of government.

"My view, and I think most of the people in my party don't believe that you should ever have to offset a tax cut," Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl told a handful of reporters outside the Senate chamber this afternoon. "That clearly reduced savings is a better way to offset increased spending than a tax increase is."

The rationale, Kyl said, goes back to the fundamental conservative goal of shrinking the size of government. If tax cuts are offset by tax increases in other areas, then it's hard to drown government in a bathtub.

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