TPM News

A top official with a leading social conservative group recently laid out the view that Adolf Hitler deliberately recruited gays to be his "enforcers," because they had "no limits" to "the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict."

During a radio broadcast, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association explained:

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Tim Crawford is the ex-Republican Democratic nominee for Congress in Indiana's fifth district. He appeared at an event hosted by the Hamilton County Democrat Women over the weekend. It did not go well.

The heated meeting ended with Crawford saying he would withdraw, which was followed by Crawford withdrawing his withdrawal -- in the form of an apology letter that also cited his mother's illness as an explanation for his "emotional actions."

So what exactly happened at this meeting?

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After months of being accused by gay rights supporters of not pushing aggressively enough for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, what finally got the White House moving and sealed the deal on a DADT compromise?

From interviews with those deeply involved in the issue over the past few weeks, including people on the Hill and in the advocacy groups in Washington, the picture that emerges isn't one of a single catalyzing event that suddenly moved the process forward. Rather, according to participants and close observers, there was a confluence of political conditions and practical considerations that gave those pushing for repeal the upper hand in dealing with a reluctant White House.

The final push came from the Hill, where key members of Congress who support repeal, like Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made it clear that they were moving forward with repeal legislation with or without the White House's blessing.

"Levin and others made it clear that the train was leaving the station and the White House not only was not conducting but they weren't even on board," Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, an advocacy group for gays in the military, said in an interview with TPMDC. "They were backed into a corner and and it was blatantly obvious so they finally decided to get on board."

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In yet another sign of how Gov. Charlie Crist's (I-FL) switch from Republican to independent in the Florida Senate race has altered his partisan relationships in the state, he is now being attacked by one Republican for his handling of the BP oil spill -- and being defended by another Republican.

On Tuesday, northern Florida Republican state Sen. Don Gaetz publicly criticized Crist's handling of the situation for his region's tourism. "It is now Day 35, and I regret to say that thus far, the state of Florida has not done enough," said Gaetz, who later added provocatively: "It's in days like this that I miss Jeb Bush," said Gaetz.

A response to Gaetz came from state Sten. Durell Peaden, a northern Florida GOPer who is still supporting Crist: "Now is not the time to score political points. We should unite together behind the families and businesses that are hurting the most. As a Senator from the Panhandle region, I recognize the Governor's hard work and stand ready to continue the fight against those who caused this terrible spill."

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) thinks today should be BP's last chance to plug the leak that's still gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. If BP fails today, Nelson says, it's time for President Obama to step up and take over.

"If this thing is not fixed today, I think the President doesn't have any choice, and he better go in, completely take over," Nelson said on CNN this morning. "Perhaps with the military in charge, not because the military can do this, but the military has the apparatus, the organization by which it can bring together the civilian agencies of government, and to get this thing done."

And I think the President is gonna have to have Secretary Salazar clean house in the Minerals Management Service, which has had such a cozy, incestuous relationship with the oil industry, and basically let the oil industry rule the roost.

Vaughn Ward, dubbed the "worst candidate ever" by TPMDC, has lost the Republican contest to take on Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID) in the state's first Congressional district.

Ward was the Republican establishment's pick for the seat. The National Republican Congressional Committee had named Ward a "Young Gun," and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin stumped for Ward at a rally last week.

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With friends like these...

Senate candidate Sue Lowden (R-NV), who has become nationally known (and joked about) for her suggestion that people use the barter system to lower health care costs -- discussing how her grandparents' generation would bring a chicken to the doctor as payment -- is now being dubbed with the nickname "Suicidal Sue." And the person doing it, Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, is one of her supporters.

The Reno Gazette-Journal asked Cashell last week whether he was worried about Lowden's missteps, ranging from "Chickens For Checkups" to finance questions surrounding her campaign bus. Cashell shook his head, the paper reports. "She's suicidal," he said. "Suicidal Sue."

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