TPM News

More evidence that Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is in trouble this year: her first quarter fundraising numbers are lower than those reported by her primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in a single month.

Between Jan. 1 and March 31, Lincoln raised $1.34 million, according to a release from her campaign this afternoon. That's less than the $2 million Halter said he raised just in the month of March.

Lincoln still has the large campaign war chest many thought would scare away a primary opponent before Halter got in. According to her campaign, Lincoln has just over $4.3 million cash on hand for the several weeks left before the May 18 Democratic primary.

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In the end, it wasn't a tickle fight that led staffers for former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) to take their concerns about the congressman's conduct to House leadership. Rather, it was an incident in which Massa tried to pick up a young bartender at the wake of a 19-year-old Marine who was killed in Afghanistan, according to an epic Washington Post investigation.

The story of Massa and the allegations of sexual misconduct against male staffers has largely gone away since he resigned from Congress just over a month ago.

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Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released the following statement today announcing a meeting between President Obama and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

The President has invited the bipartisan leaders of the Senate and the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 21st to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Stevens. Senators Reid, McConnell, Leahy, and Sessions will travel to the White House on Wednesday morning for the meeting.

Republicans spent much of the recess gaming out their strategic posture on the Democrats' push to pass a major Wall Street reform bill, and it looks like they've finally settled on one: The GOP will oppose the proposed new regulations on the grounds that they will make future bailouts of big financial institutions more likely. And in adopting that line, they've taken a page straight out of the playbook of one of the conservative movement's top message men.

"We cannot allow endless taxpayer funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the floor this morning. "That's why we must not pass the financial reform bill that's about to hit the floor. The fact is this bill wouldn't solve the problems that led to the financial crisis. It would make them worse."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is asking his political supporters to fill out a three-question survey about the Supreme Court vacancy, but also tells them that once they do, "you will be given the opportunity to make a generous donation to our efforts to elect likeminded leaders." The questionnaire asks questions that are hardly surprising, including how liberal of a justice McCain supporters think President Obama should choose.

The funds are for his Country First political action committee, not his campaign, but the Supreme Court fundraising comes as McCain faces a tough primary challenge from conservative JD Hayworth.

"We are often reminded that elections have lasting consequences on our country, and nothing reminds us of this more than when a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court," McCain writes in the email, believed to reach millions of supporters of his presidential campaign.

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The FBI decided to infiltrate the Hutaree Christian militia after becoming alarmed by the group allegedly detonating bombs in the woods in rural Michigan, NPR reports in a long investigation of the group.

We already knew that the FBI had an undercover agent in the group, one who even recorded its alleged leader preaching against the New World Order.

Nine members of the militia are charged in an alleged plot to kill police. One of the specific counts is attempted use of weapons of mass destruction for an alleged plan to use IEDs during a police funeral.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are making a surprise visit to Haiti today.

They arrived in Port-au-Prince around 10:40 a.m., and are taking a helicopter tour of Port-au-Prince, where a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake three months ago left more than a million people homeless.

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