TPM News

An army of lobbyists and financial professionals is swarming into Washington D.C. this week to push against financial reform.

As The New Republic reports, "some two dozen executives from large corporations will be descending on Capitol Hill today to make the case against over-regulating derivatives." That push is being organized in part by the Chamber of Commerce. And The New York Times reports today that "more than 1,500 lobbyists, executives, bankers and others have made their way to the Senate committee that on Wednesday will take up legislation to rein in derivatives, the complex securities at the heart of the financial crisis, the billion-dollar bank bailouts and the fraud case filed last week against Goldman Sachs."

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As Gov. Charlie Crist appears to inch toward dropping out of the Florida GOP Senate primary to run as an independent, Marco Rubio's list of endorsers is growing by leaps and bounds. Here's the full list of Florida and national pols standing with Rubio now.

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Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) told the National Review that he will not drop out of the Florida Senate race, declaring: "damn right. I'm staying in this race."

Crist said that he would never run as a Democrat, but is "still undecided" about whether to continue running in the Republican primary -- in which he is trailing badly in the polls -- or to run as an independent. "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," said Crist.

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Rep. Joe Sestak launched his first salvo in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary air war this morning. In a 60-second spot running statewide, Sestak touts his bio as a Navy officer and his credentials as a Democrat.

Sestak has been struggling to catch up to Sen. Arlen Specter (D) in public polling, and the ad suggests Sestak's campaign thinks that's partially because Pennsylvania voters don't know him well enough in advance of the May 18 primary. Heavy on bio, the spot doesn't mention Specter -- or the myriad of negative attacks Sestak has leveled at him since the campaign got started.

The TPM Poll Average for the Sestak-Specter primary shows Specter in the lead by a margin of 45.0-29.8.

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The corporate lawyer who acted as the Justice Department's inside man at AIG is reportedly set to take the number two spot at DOJ.

James Cole, an attorney with Bryan Cave, was placed as a government monitor inside AIG -- reporting back to DOJ and SEC -- as part of a 2004 deferred prosecution agreement after AIG had been charged with helping a client, PNC Bank, avoid taxes. AIG also paid an $80 million fine as part of that deal.

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It wasn't that long ago that Marco Rubio was the outsider candidate in the Florida GOP Senate primary. But with Gov. Charlie Crist flirting more and more with dropping out of the race and switching to an independent bid -- not to mention Rubio's surging poll and fundrasing numbers -- Rubio is racking up establishment endorsements faster than you can say "bandwagon."

Case in point: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor endorsed Rubio this morning, joining the list of establishment Republicans that includes Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.

"Marco Rubio is just the type of leader our country needs and will make an excellent Senator for the State of Florida," Cantor said in a statement today.

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Rahm: I Want To Be Mayor Of Chicago White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told PBS that he would like to eventually run for Mayor of Chicago. "I hope Mayor [Richard] Daley seeks re-election. I will work and support him if he seeks re-election," said Emanuel. "But if Mayor Daley doesn't, one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago. That's always been an aspiration of mine, even when I was in the House of Representatives."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart from Los Angeles, California, at 11:40 a.m. ET. He will arrive at Andrews Air Force Base at 4:05 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 4:20 p.m. ET.

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President Obama was heckled by gay rights protesters last night during a campaign fundraising speech for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Several protesters interrupted Obama's speech to show their anger over the slow progress on repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" -- the military's ban on gay service members.

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As Democrats prepare for a financial reform battle with Republicans, the Democratic National Committee this morning is going up on national cable television with an ad reminding voters about the 2008 election. The new 30-second spot stars none other than Sen. John McCain and a flashback to his "fundamentals" of the economy "are strong" line that Democrats played on an endless loop in the final weeks of the campaign.

"For years Republicans stood by while Wall Street ran wild," the narrator says in the ad, obtained early by TPMDC.

Before replaying the the McCain line from September 2008, the narrator reminds voters of when the economy collapsed at the close of the campaign. That was a major factor in Barack Obama's surge in the polls and eventual electoral victory. The spot goes after Senate Republicans who appear to be united against the bill backed by Obama and Democratic leadership, saying they are "working with Wall Street lobbyists to block reform" that would prevent the need for future bailouts.

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