TPM News

The American Patriot Foundation, which set up a legal defense fund for Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, reports that the Birther army doctor's charges have been referred to a General Court Martial, and that an arraignment is scheduled for Friday.

Lakin is charged with refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he believes President Obama may not have been born in the United States, and is therefore ineligible to be Commander-in-Chief.

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In light of a new SurveyUSA poll showing Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff edging appointed incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado's Democratic Senate primary, Bennet's campaign released an internal polling memo showing the incumbent senator ahead 41%-37%.

The survey, conducted by Harstad Strategic Research and documented in a memo released Sunday night, also found that Bennet is ahead five points among the one-fourth of voters who have already sent in their mail-in ballots. Colorado's primary elections are being conducted by mail this year.

The TPM Poll Average of the Democratic Senate primary gives Bennet a 43.0%-41.9% lead. The margin of error of Harstad Strategic Research's survey is 4.0 percentage points.

The political fallout from the post-Citizens United spending by Target and other Minnesota companies on the state's gubernatorial race continues, with gay-rights activists attacking business interests for supporting the anti-gay Republican Tom Emmer.

As we noted last week, Target's donation of $150,000 to MN Forward, a business group supporting Emmer, has been causing a backlash among gay rights activists in the state, due to Emmer's support for a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and his close associations with the religious right.

Target and other companies supporting MN Forward and Emmer have made it clear that their support is based on Emmer's position on economic issues, and that the companies remain committed to their own pro-LGBT business policies. Still, that hasn't stopped pro-gay rights Minnesotans from boycotting Target and returning already purchased goods.

Now the Human Rights Campaign has entered the fray, taking out a full-page ad in the Star Tribune -- directed at both Target and Best Buy, which contributed another $100,000 to MN Forward, and signaling that the companies' support for Emmer could be a "horribly short-sighted business decision." See the ad here.

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Wither the stripped-down energy bill?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had hoped to pass a scaled-back energy bill ahead of August recess. But with only a week left until break, a packed schedule and an expected Republican filibuster, that's not looking very likely.

Democrats and Republicans remain most heavily divided over a provision in the Democrats' legislation that would eliminate a cap on liability for oil companies in the event of an offshore spill -- something Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) last week called "an affront to those who are serious about enacting good policy."

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The creator of the now-infamous "Tea Party Comix" has spoken. The response, sent to Comics With Problems' Ethan Persoff last week, ends speculation by some that the black-and-white comics featuring a racist caricature of President Obama might be a liberal parody gone wrong (or just misunderstood). In the rambling email sent early Thursday morning, the unnamed creator of the comics (the name was withheld by Persoff) suggests that they were created out of anger at Obama, but -- according to the creator -- not out of any intention to make a racial statement.

"I do not understand the connection with 'big ears' and 'racism', and I do not understand how a 'dark face' implies racism," the creator of the comics wrote to Persoff. "The accusation of 'Hate' is true, but it is the hate of an IDEOLGY [sic], not a of race of people..... I understand that the ideology has captured 80 or 90% of the race(s) in question, but it is STILL a AN IDEOLOGY and NOT a "race" that this comic book attacks."

Despite the denial of any racist intent, the creator told Persoff the comics are just too hot to handle and are being removed from sale.

A number of tea party leaders disavowed the comic books last week, claiming that they're an obvious plant by tea party opponents.

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Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) continued feuding Friday on Sean Hannity's radio show about the failure of a bill that would provide health care to 9/11 rescue workers. The result was, unsurprisingly, another ten-minute shouting match.

This time, though, it was Sean Hannity doing most of the yelling.

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In Colorado's Democratic Senate primary, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff has pulled ahead of incumbent Michael Bennet, a new SurveyUSA poll finds. The survey shows Romanoff with 48% and Bennet with 45%.

The is the first poll of the race that shows Romanoff ahead. The last SurveyUSA poll out of Colorado, from June 17, showed Bennet with a commanding 53%-36% lead. A Zata3 survey from July 27 showed a closer contest, with Bennet up 43.8%-40.0%.

The TPM Poll Average of the race gives Bennet a slim 43.0%-41.9% lead. The margin of error of the latest SurveyUSA poll is 4.3 percentage points. The primary is August 10.

SurveyUSA is out with a new poll of the Kentucky Senate race, and the numbers look good for Republican nominee Rand Paul. The new survey, conducted from July 27 to July 30, shows Paul up 51%-43% over Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway.

This is SurveyUSA's second poll of the race since the May 18 primaries. The first, from May 27, found Paul up 51%-45%. And although SurveyUSA joins Rasmussen in showing a seven- or eight-point race, other pollsters have depicted a tighter contest. A PPP (D) poll from June 30 found things all tied up at 43%, and a Braun Research survey from July 21 showed Paul up by about three points.

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President Obama today will hail the drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq in a speech to the national convention of Disabled American Veterans in Atlanta, reminding the nation the combat mission in a war he opposed will be over at the end of this month.

"As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end," Obama will say today, according to excerpts from the White House. "I made it clear that by August 31, 2010 America's combat mission in Iraq would end," Obama will say. "And that is exactly what we are doing--as promised, on schedule.

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