TPM News

Now that House Republicans have concluded that Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) can keep his post as top GOPer on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Democrats are associating that decision with Republican members in contested districts, highlighting their complicity with party leadership and Barton himself.

"House Republicans like Representative Dave Reichert are keeping British Petroleum apologist Joe Barton as their top Republican on energy policy and continue to back his unbelievable obstruction to holding British Petroleum accountable for this disaster," reads a statement from DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer. "This is another outrageous example of Representative Reichert putting Big Oil, like British Petroleum, before American taxpayers. Voters will not tolerate Republicans like Reichert who want a British Petroleum apologist to lead their party's energy policy and their continuing efforts to block holding British Petroleum fully accountable."

If you're keeping track, Barton first apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward over the government response to the oil spill, then apologized for his apology, then basically took back his apology, until his spokesman took responsibility for taking back the apology.

This push will be made in Reichert's Washington state district as well as the districts of the members below the fold, including GOP leadership.

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Gen. Stanley McChrystal released a statement a few minutes after President Obama announced that he had accepted McChrystal's resignation and would appoint Gen. David Petraeus to lead the Afghanistan War.

"This morning the President accepted my resignation as Commander of U.S. and NATO Coalition Forces in Afghanistan," McChrystal wrote. "I strongly support the President's strategy in Afghanistan and am deeply committed to our coalition forces, our partner nations, and the Afghan people. It was out of respect for this commitment -- and a desire to see the mission succeed -- that I tendered my resignation."

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Minnesota state Rep. Tom Emmer, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, has further expounded on his theories of nullification, declaring that states have the power under the Constitution to undo federal legislation.

There's one problem that Emmer and other nullifiers -- or to use a modern term from the blogosphere, "Tenthers," after the Tenth Amendment -- would face: State nullification of federal laws has consistently been found to be unconstitutional throughout this country's history.

MinnPost asked Emmer about his support for a proposed state constitutional amendment that would presumptively nullify all federal laws in the state of Minnesota, declaring that they only take effect if the governor and two-thirds of each House of the Minnesota legislature were to sign off.

Interestingly, Emmer minimized his role in that proposal, saying that he was only a co-sponsor. Instead he pointed to a different proposal, of which he is the chief author, which would provide an alternative avenue for the state to reject federal laws.

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President Obama announced that Gen. Stanley McChrystal has been relieved from duty, a "difficult decision" reached in the aftermath of a Rolling Stone profile that ends his tenure as the top commander for the war Afghanistan.

"Today I accepted General McChrystal's resignation," Obama said in making public the decision this afternoon in the Rose Garden. MSNBC broke the news, also reporting that the president has selected Gen. David Petraeus to take over in Afghanistan. Petraeus, who led the mission in Iraq, stood at Obama's side. "It is the right decision for our national security," Obama said.

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Last night Stephen Colbert took a look at Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul's dissident ophthalmology re-certification group, which Paul created after a dispute with the national board.

Colbert established his own "USA Board of Ophthalmologist Freedom" to compete with the major existing certifying board, the American Board of Ophthalmology, and the one based at Paul's Kentucky home, the National Board of Ophthalmology. (See TPMmuckraker's coverage of Paul's board here.)

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is here to serve Arkansas...or at least its wealthiest residents.

While she finalizes new rules on derivative trading, which have been well received by pro-Wall Street reformers, she's undertaking separate efforts to protect a major Arkansas bank from a different part of the financial reform bill.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Lincoln is hoping to make one of the bill's provisions apply only to banks with $15 billion in assets, thus exempting Arvest Bank Group, largely owned by the same Walton family that founded Wal-Mart.

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Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, the Republican nominee for governor of California, has a new TV ad attacking her Democratic opponent, state Attorney General and former Gov. Jerry Brown, as a failed political retread.

The ad attacks Brown's record in politics from the 1970s onward, from his tenure as governor to unsuccessful runs for Senate and the White House, and his time as mayor of Oakland. The announcer declares that Brown has "a lifetime in politics, a legacy of failure."

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Adm. Thad Allen, commander of the Gulf oil response, announced today that BP has removed the containment cap collecting some of the oil spewing out of the Deepwater Horizon rig after encountering problems.

According to Allen, workers noticed gas rising in a pipe that sends warm water down to prevent hydrates from freezing and clogging up the cap. Out of what Allen called "an abundance of caution," BP removed the containment cap to investigate.

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Let this be a lesson to you: Hometowns are off-limits. Democrats in Ohio are having a field day today over comments made by a staffer on former Rep. John Kasich's (R) gubernatorial campaign suggesting incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland (D) doesn't know how to manage Ohio's urban communities because he's not from 'round those parts.

Here's the quote from Kasich spokesperson Rob Nichols, as reported in the Dayton Daily News:

"Not until Ted Strickland feared needing their votes did he give urban Ohioans a second thought. Having grown up in a chicken shack on Duck Run, he has all but ignored our cities' economies and their workers. It's a disgraceful record."

You can imagine what Strickland -- a former Representative from Appalachia -- did with that one.

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The landslide defeat of Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who lost his Republican primary last night by a whopping 71%-29% margin against Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy, could provide a stern warning to Republicans everywhere: If you deviate from the talk-radio and Tea Party line, this could happen to you.

In interviews this morning, two separate Republican sources cited to me two key events in Inglis's political downfall: When he told a town hall meeting last year to turn off Glenn Beck, and when he voted with House Democrats in September 2009 to reprimand Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) for yelling "You lie" at President Obama during a speech to Congress. Other factors that were cited included Inglis's vote for the TARP bailout -- an issue that also helped sink Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) at his state Republican convention in May -- and his work on the issue of climate change.

"It's one thing to be moderate on a couple things. It's another thing to go out of your way to essentially insult your own base," said one GOP source, who also added: "This is why people are forced to apologize to Rush Limbaugh if they say something fairly negative about him. You cannot be pro-actively poking your finger in the eye of your base."

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