TPM News

First things first: Indiana Democrats are not thinking about 2012, according to state party chair Dan Parker -- they've got enough on their plate with the 2010 elections just few months away. But when I asked him about D.C. rumors that retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D) is gearing up for a gubernatorial bid in two years, Parker wasn't afraid to let his mind drift a bit past November.

"A lot of folks in the party would love to see Evan back," Parker told me.

Parker said that Bayh would be welcome back to the campaign trail in Indiana, despite his sudden decision to drop his reelection bid this year, which left state Democrats high and dry in a tough year.

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TPMmuckraker's favorite voter-suppression guru, Hans Von Spakovsky, is back in the saddle.

As you might remember, Spakovsky, a northern Virginia resident, was appointed earlier this year to a seat on the three-member Fairfax County Board of Elections, after a stint as a consultant to the US Commission on Civil Rights. And this week, Spakovsky and the board's other Republican member sparked outrage by voting to direct the BoE registrar to not distribute voter registration forms in languages other than English.*

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Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is looking to get still more mileage out of the party-switch of his long-time nemesis, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) -- with a new money-bomb fundraiser to commemorate the anniversary of Specter's switch from the Republicans to the Democrats.

Toomey's campaign has announced the online fundraising event for April 28, a year to the day since Specter crossed the aisle. The campaign has set a goal of reaching $280,000, in honor of the April 28 date.The TPM Poll Average currently gives Toomey a lead over Specter of 43.1%-39.6%.

Specter was first elected to the Senate as a Republican in 1980. As a moderate Republican, he was challenged from the right for the GOP nomination in 2004 by then-Rep. Pat Toomey, and won by only a 51%-49% margin. Specter's support among Republicans plummeted in 2009, after he provided a crucial vote to pass President Obama's stimulus package, and he subsequently switched parties when polls showed he would lose a primary rematch against Toomey.

In her latest quest to reveal President Obama's "true" birthplace and have him removed from office, birther queen Orly Taitz has filed motions trying to combine her lawsuits with one filed by several attorneys general challenging the constitutionality of health care reform.

In a motion to intervene filed in a Florida court this week, Taitz asked to be added to the health care lawsuit with the attorneys general.

"It is readily apparent that Dr. Taitz is an interested party in this litigation," the motion reads. "Dr. Taitz as a medical provider has a direct and immediate interest in this present lawsuit, and this interest will not be fully protected by the present parties."

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Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released the following statement today on recent unrest in Kyrgyzstan:

The President has been closely following the events in Kyrgyzstan, and continues to monitor the situation with his National Security Team. We urge that calm be restored to Bishkek and other affected areas in a manner consistent with democratic principles and with respect for human rights.

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano released the following statement today in response to a national security scare involving a Qatari diplomat aboard United Airlines flight 663:

I commend the Federal Air Marshals on board United Airlines flight 663 last night, who swiftly responded to a potential threat to passenger safety while the plane was in flight. These highly trained individuals took appropriate and immediate action to secure the aircraft and communicate the potential threat to authorities on the ground--ensuring that the flight was met by TSA and law enforcement officials when it landed safely in Denver.

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) took so much flak this week for declaring April "Confederate History Month," without mentioning slavery, that he eventually had to apologize and add an extra clause to his proclamation declaring that slavery was evil and led to the Civil War.

But McDonnell is certainly not alone. Over the past several years, other states that were part of the Confederacy-- Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama -- have also proclaimed that April, the month the Civil War began and ended, be dedicated to the study of the Confederate side of the Civil War.

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Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in the Florida Senate race, is sitting back watching the fight between his two Republican rivals, Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio, insisting that the contest over which one is more right wing will help him in the general election. On a conference call with liberal bloggers just now, he may have added some fuel to the fire when he said that Rubio winning the GOP nomination would provide a clearer choice.

"I think there would be more clarity with a Rubio nomination out of the Republican primary, because he has made a number of statements that have place him in a position in that primary to attract the most conservative voters in the state of Florida," said Meek, when asked by TPMDC how he might have altered his strategies since a year ago, as the nature of the GOP race has changed significantly.

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