TPM News

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) got in a light-hearted dig at Vice President Joe Biden today, CNN reports.

At a dedication event for the Ernest "Fritz" Hollings Special Collections Library, Clyburn introduced Biden: "Ladies and gentleman, it's a pleasure for me to present to you a mainstream American who is an articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy." Biden then grinned and hugged Clyburn.

Clyburn was referring to then-Senator (and then-presidential candidate) Biden's remarks in January 2007, when he offered this explanation of Barack Obama's appeal: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." Biden apologized shortly afterward -- and interestingly enough, went on to become Obama's running mate.

Here is another reason why Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been running so well against his primary challenger, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth. It has to do with another major American political figure who was never president -- namely Benjamin Franklin.

As the Arizona Capitol Times points out, McCain has spent about $15.6 million on his re-election bid, including $10.1 million in just the previous quarter from April through June, while Hayworth has only spent a total of $1.5 million. Headed into the August 24 primary, McCain has $1.7 million cash on hand, compared to $922,000 for Hayworth.

The TPM Poll Average gives McCain a lead of 52.3%-30.6%. Many other reasons for McCain's lead include his early recognition that Hayworth posed a threat in an anti-incumbent environment, and Hayworth's own political problems.

One of the most prominent men in the tea party movement, Tea Party Express spokesperson and former chair Mark Williams, is abandoning the group he helped propel into the role of the tea party's public face.

"Over a month ago, Williams stepped down as Chairman of the organization to pursue other activities, but still offered to remain available as a spokesperson as needed in the future," TPE spokesperson Levi Russell said in a statement to reporters today. "Today, he went further to completely cut his ties to the Tea Party Express."

In his resignation letter to the TPE, Williams says he left the group after the past week's public battle with the NAACP made him too hot to handle.

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Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans was forced to resign Wednesday, the same day that a local news station aired a slick six-minute video Evans made to pitch a reality TV show called The Chief, starring himself. Evans' ouster, and the public release of the video, ends a weeks-long story that began in tragedy but culminated in something closer to farce.

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Things aren't looking up for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). The latest Rasmussen poll of the Arkansas Senate race shows the GOP's John Boozman crushing Lincoln 60%-35%.

These latest numbers are in line with a Talk Business poll released Monday, which showed Boozman ahead 57%-32%. And they're slightly worse for Lincoln than Rasmussen numbers from July 18, which had Boozman at 54% and Lincoln at 35%.

The TPM Poll Average for the Arksansas Senate race puts Boozman in the lead 57.1%-33.3%. The margin of error for the latest Rasmussen poll is ±4.5 percentage points.

In one small theft for man, a customs officer has been charged with stealing a customs form signed by astronaut Neil Armstrong and trying to sell it at auction.

The Customs and Border Patrol tech, 50-year-old Thomas Chapman, allegedly helped Armstrong with his bags when the astronaut went through customs at Boston's Logan Airport in March. He then took the declaration form, signed by Armstrong, and, instead of filing it, took it home.

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Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), who is running in a heated three-way Republican primary for governor of Tennessee, has a dire warning about the new health care reform law: If a new Congress and president aren't elected in order to repeal the bill, states might just have to secede.

"I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government," said Wamp, who has also promised to refuse to implement the law at the state level if he is elected, in an interview with the Hotline.

Wamp also praised Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) -- who has also floated the idea of secession -- for leading the fight against the health care bill. "Patriots like Rick Perry have talked about these issues because the federal government is putting us in an untenable position at the state level," said Wamp.

The Hotline asked Wamp's GOP primary opponents whether they are opposed to secession. A spokesman for Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam answered, "Yeah," while Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey blasted "Rep. Wamp's trademark over-the-top temperament and overheated, sometimes crazy rhetoric."

Las Vegas -- Former White House green jobs "czar" Van Jones told progressive activists and bloggers today that, rather than bash President Obama for not changing the country as fast as they'd thought, they should maintain hope and help him with his agenda.

"I can't stand it. President Obama volunteered to be the captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg," Jones said at Netroots Nation while being interviewed by journalist Ari Melber of The Nation. (Follow our live coverage here.)

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Las Vegas -- Lt. Gov. Bill Halter said in an interview that his one-time primary rival embattled Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln can win reelection this fall, and believes she can frame it as a "classic" Republican v. Democrat race on the Arkansas ballot.

Can she win? "Yes, I think yes," Halter told TPM in an interview Thursday afternoon from the Rio Casino's Starbucks. Of course, he also believes he would have won the primary if he'd had more time. "Winning a primary against an incumbent senator is one of the hardest things to do in American politics," Halter said.

"Obviously it's a difficult year and everybody knows what the current polls show," Halter said. "I don't think there's any question that it's a tough year."

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