TPM News

So we all know that Rand Paul, at least until recently, had some serious concerns about the part of the Civil Rights Act that banned racial discrimination by private businesses. But people may not know much else about the GOP's new Senate nominee from Kentucky.

Here's a quick primer:

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Campaigning for his father in Montana back in 2008, Rand Paul spoke out against the NAFTA Superhighway, encouraging Congress to stop the mythical project that would connect Mexico, the U.S., and Canada and, critics say, deal a fatal blow to American sovereignty. Long a bugaboo on some segments of the Right, the NAFTA Superhighway does not actually exist.

"It's gonna go up through Texas, I guess, all the way to Montana," said Paul, at an event in Bozeman. "So, it's a real thing, and when you talk about it, the thing you just have to be aware of is that, if you talk about it like it's a conspiracy, they'll paint you as a nut."

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A pipe bomb exploded at a mosque in north Florida May 10 and is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The FBI says they have few leads, and have joined the mosque and a nearby church in offering a $20,000 reward for information.

The bomb went off during evening prayers, when about 60 people were at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville. No one was injured.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the California Senate race shows that former Rep. Tom Campbell, a Republican who is widely opposed by the national right wing, is continuing to run away with the GOP primary for Senate.

The numbers: Campbell 37%, former Hewlett Packard CEO and establishment favorite Carly Fiorina 22%, and Tea Party favorite state Rep. Chuck DeVore 14%. Back in March, Campbell had 33%, Fiorina 24%, and DeVore 7%. The survey of likely primary voters has a ±5% margin of error. The TPM Poll Average has Campbell 30.1%, Fiorina 22.7%, and DeVore 15.4%.

The primary will be held in just two and a half weeks, on June 8.

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Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) aren't alone. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) also supports televising the financial reform conference debate between key House and Senate members.

Boehner wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today suggesting "C-SPAN coverage" and "live webcasting" for the conference, during which details will be ironed out between the House and Senate financial reform bills.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of California provides further corroboration that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman's once-formidable lead in the Republican gubernatorial primary has collapsed, putting her in a competitive race against state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

The numbers: Whitman 46%, Poizner 36%, with 18% undecided. Back in March, Whitman led by 52%-19%, with 29% undecided. The TPM Poll Average gives Whitman a lead over Poizner of 40.8%-31.9%, after having led by over 40 points in March.

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Rand Paul warned last year that a worsening economy could lead to "a Hitler" coming to power in the U.S.

During an August 2009 speech at a "machine gun shoot" in Knob Creek, Kentucky, the GOP Senate candidate -- last seen walking back his opposition to a key piece of the Civil Rights Act -- declared that "we are on the precipice of an economic calamity", and asked: "What happens if the entire dollars collapses because we have so much debt?"

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