TPM News

Former Rep. Rob Simmons dropped out of the Republican primary for Chris Dodd's Senate seat this week -- but he's not about to throw his support behind the presumptive GOP candidate.

Simmons told National Review Online today that he doesn't think Linda McMahon can win.

"No, I don't think so at all," he said. And he's not looking to stump for her, either:

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The South Carolina Republican operative whose texts to blogger Will Folks referred to an affair between Folks and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley said this afternoon that he did not know one way or the other if there had actually been a relationship.

"I don't know if the rumors are true," said Wes Donehue on his Web radio show Pub Politics. "I don't want to be in the situation I'm in."

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Here's how the Family Research Council envisions things going if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed: first, more straight soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines will be fellated in their sleep against their will. Then, commanders afraid of being labeled homophobes will refuse to do anything about it. Eventually, the straight service members will quit out of fear.

On a conference call with reporters today, FRC Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg delivered the results of what he said was the first-ever study of "homosexual assault" in the military. Joined by several former military officers opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, he warned Congress that the DADT repeal language currently under discussion with the agreement of the White House will turn the U.S. military into a terrifying free-rape zone where no heterosexual is safe.

"We are today releasing an analysis of publicly available documents which show that homosexuals in the military are three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals are relative to their numbers," Sprigg said. "We believe this problem would only increase if the current law against homosexuality...were to be repealed."

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The state chairman of the Libertarians of Kentucky has disavowed statements by the party's vice chair, that suggest the group is considering running a real Libertarian candidate against Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul.

Chairman Ken Moellman told TPM that those statements were "not an official communication or an official stance." However, Moellman did insist that Paul's views are not in line with those of Libertarians'.

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Bill Halter has a new ad in the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary runoff, touting his opposition to privatizing Social Security and accusing incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln of voting to cut the program.

The ad features friends and family members of Halter, most notably his father Bill Halter, Sr. "Bill fought Bush's plan to privatize it," says one of his friends. "And Bill will never do what Blanche Lincoln did," another friend says, followed by another: "Vote to cut Medicare and Social Security."

The ad's press release includes a speech that Halter, a former Deputy Commissioner of Social Security, gave in 2002 while stumping for Mark Pryor's Senate campaign: "If you divert a sixth of the Social Security payroll tax into private accounts and out of the Social Security trust fund, you've just created more than a trillion dollar hole in the trust fund."

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Several military service chiefs have written to Congress to lay out their opposition to the new compromise on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The chiefs, of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army, have opposed DADT repeal in the past. In their new, separate letters they wrote that the deal, which would repeal the law now but allow the Pentagon to implement repeal after they complete a policy review, undermines the policy.

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Progressives are hoping to keep congressional Wall Street reform negotiators on their best behavior as they iron out the difference between House and Senate legislation. But they fear that at least one Democratic conferee might be a bit meddlesome: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is the fourth ranking member on the Bankng Committee, who, despite close ties to Wall Street, laid very low during the financial reform floor fight, raising his head only occasionally to support fellow Democrats as they worked to advance and improve the bill.

Now suddenly he's one of only a small number of legislators who will get to influence the final product.

"It did surprise me," said Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's future. "I didn't expect him to be on it, I have to admit. I assume he must have really asserted himself to get that position."

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