TPM News

Appearing at the White House today with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, President Obama said he can get immigration reform done -- if Republicans will help.

"I have confidence that I can get the majority of Democrats both in the House and the Senate to support a piece of legislation," he said.

But I don't have 60 votes in the Senate. I've got to have some support from Republicans.


"I don't expect to get every Republican vote, but I need some help to get it done."

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This week should determine Texas' nationally influential U.S. history textbook standards, as the conservative-dominated State Board of Education prepares to vote on the new standards Friday amid intense interest from activists on both sides.

These are the standards that publishers seeking to sell textbooks in Texas will have to use as a guide. TPMmuckraker started covering the story back in September, and it has since attracted national attention for what critics see as the board's outlandish right-wing recasting of U.S. history. Given the [makeup](http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/conservative_vision_ascendant_in_latest_texas_hist.php) of the board, look for a big win for conservatives Friday.

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A far-reaching proposal to regulate derivative trading will not be scaled back in Wall Street reform legislation, at least for now, multiple Senate aides confirm. The development comes as welcome news to an unusual mix of progressives, financial officials, and at least one conservative Democrat: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR).

Lincoln is the author of the derivatives title in the Senate's financial regulation bill, and for weeks has faced opposition from Wall Street, the White House, and members of her own party over a provision to force financial firms to spin off their derivatives trading desks into stand-alone entities.

The proposal to weaken the derivatives title was ultimately drafted by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd--the Democrats' chief financial reform negotiator--and introduced yesterday at the eleventh hour of the debate over Wall Street reform. In it, Dodd proposed kicking the spin-off provision down the road for two years pending review by federal regulators, many of whom are already unfavorably disposed to it.

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The Club For Growth has made its choice in the Nevada Senate race, picking tea party-backed former state Rep. Sharron Angle in the three-way Republican primary to go up against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

This brings the Club's considerable heft into a race that has seen GOP establishment favorite Sue Lowden fumble from her suggestion that people use the barter system to lower their health care costs -- infamously discussing how her grandparents' generation would bring a chicken to the doctor as payment. Former UNLV basketball player Danny Tarkanian is also competing with Angle for hardline conservative votes, and the Club's choice could potentially have a big impact. They've already had a strong cycle for Republican nominations, advancing Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Marco Rubio in Florida -- and they have taken credit for Utah Sen. Bob Bennett losing renomination at his state GOP convention.

A recent Mason-Dixon poll showed Angle surging into second place, trailing Lowden by 30%-25%, with Tarkanian at 22%.

The third-place finisher in the May 4 North Carolina Democratic Senate primary endorsed Secretary of State Elaine Marshall this morning, increasing the chances that Marshall will defeat the Democratic establishment choice, Iraq veteran Cal Cunningham, in the June 22 runoff.

Marshall won the popular vote on May 4, leading the field with 36% of the total votes cast. Cunningham, who is the DSCC choice, came in second with 27%. Third place finisher Ken Lewis -- an attorney who was endorsed by most of the state's African American establishment -- took home 17% of the vote. Since none of the candidates crossed the 40% threshold required by state law, a runoff between Marshall and Cunningham was called.

Who Lewis would endorse in that race was one of the big questions for observers. Lewis brings with him a key component of the Democratic base, and who his voters choose June 22 could be the difference between victory and defeat. Today, Lewis made his choice, standing with Marshall at a press conference in Raleigh, NC.

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Kentucky Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo has announced that he will seek a recanvass of the votes in the Democratic primary for Senate, in which he has come up short against state Attorney General Jack Conway. However, the Secretary of State's office tells TPMDC that a recanvass would be unlikely to change the outcome.

From the Mongiardo campaign's press release:

Mongiardo trails Conway by 3,542 out of 520,412 votes cast, a razor thin margin of 0.68 percent.

Mongiardo campaign spokesman Kim Geveden said, "Make no mistake, Daniel accepts the results and congratulates Jack Conway on his hard-fought race. But Daniel also believes, in a race this close, he owes it to his supporters across the Commonwealth who gave so much of their time, energy and money to our cause, to make sure the results are accurate. With only 3,542 votes between the candidates, let's be sure the votes have been accurately reported."

"While it is unlikely there are sufficient errors to reverse the outcome, this re-canvassing process is quick and simple and will give the nominee of our party the ability to move forward into the fall against Rand Paul," said Geveden.

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Allen Stanford has been reduced to "a wreck of a man" and fears he is "losing his mind" as he awaits trial in a Texas prison, according to his attorneys. They've brought in celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz to argue that the conditions in which Stanford is being held are hindering his ability to prepare a defense, and to request his immediate release.

The former high-living billionaire is in a bad way, according to a motion filed yesterday by his team -- "malnourished and underweight," "slow in his gait ... and in his speech and thoughts," quickly losing his memory, frequently falling into "mental black holes," and largely unable to use his right eye to read, thanks to the effects of a brutal physical assault.

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Elected officials making bets over sporting events is nothing new. But they generally wager local foodstuffs like New Orleans gumbo, or having to blush a little while wearing the opposing team's jersey. They typically don't wager people.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has done just that though, although in a rather tongue-in-cheek way that takes some jabs at Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

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Until Monday, Rob Simmons was, arguably, a long shot for Chris Dodd's Senate seat. The Republican was trailing wealthy executive Linda McMahon for the GOP nod, and was behind uber-popular Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) by more than 20 points.

Then Blumenthal was outed for saying he had served in Vietnam when he never had.

Simmons, a Vietnam War veteran with two Bronze Stars, has gone full court press on the attorney general's scandal. He's running fund-raising ads, holdings press conferences and blasting out videos and press releases touting his own military service.

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