TPM News

1||As TPM has documented, President Obama loves to play sports. But we noticed that when he's not actually participating in athletic contests, he sure spends a lot of time hanging around athletes...

On January 25, 2010, Obama welcomes Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, and the rest of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers to the White House. ||Newscom/UPI&&

2||April 5, 2010: Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman congratulates the President after he throws out the first pitch at a game. ||Newscom/UPI&&

3||May 21, 2009: President Obama talks with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward at a community service event on the South Lawn of the White House.||Newscom/UPI&&

4||July 14, 2009: Obama talks with baseball great Willie Mays aboard Air Force One en route to the MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis, Missouri.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

5||April 26, 2010: New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera shakes hands with the President. The Yankees were welcomed at the White House after winning the 2009 World Series.||Newscom/IconPhotos&&

6||April 27, 2009: Obama watches as members of the NCAA champion University of Connecticut women's basketball team shoot hoops at the White House. President Obama earlier honored the team at a ceremony on the South Portico of the White House.||Newscom/White House via CNP&&

7||July 14, 2009: Obama talks with Seattle Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki in the locker room before the start of the MLB All-Star Game. ||Newscom/Rapport&&

8||September 10, 2009: The President holds the Stanley Cup while honoring the 2009 champion Pittsburgh Penguins.||Newscom/UPI&&

9||September 16, 2009: Obama fences with Tim Morehouse, who won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008, at a White House event to promote Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.||Newscom/UPI&&

10||August 9, 2010: Obama greets quarterback Drew Brees and the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints at a White House celebration. ||Newscom/Sipa&&

11||August 1, 2010: The President slaps hands with Tulsa Shock player Jennifer Lacy during a WNBA game. ||Newscom/RCP&&

12||July 14, 2009: Obama talks with Milwaukee Brewer slugger Prince Fielder, left, and the Phillies' Ryan Howard while visiting the National League locker room before the start of the MLB All-Star Game.||Newscom/Sipa&&

13||August 8, 2010: Obama jokes with Chicago Bulls players Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. The President played basketball with friends and college and professional basketball players before an audience that included wounded warriors at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

14||May 27, 2010: Vice President Joe Biden, Obama, and former President Bill Clinton pose with the U.S. soccer team at the White House.||Newscom/Black Star&&

15||July 14, 2009: Obama embraces St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols.||Newscom/kyodo&&

16||August 19, 2009: The President poses with 2008 Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson at a ceremony for NASCAR drivers on the South Lawn of the White House. ||Newscom/CNP&&

17||May 11, 2009: Obama waves to coach Roy Williams and the 2009 NCAA men's basketball champion University of North Carolina Tar Heels at the conclusion of a ceremony honoring the team at the White House.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

18||October 2, 2009: President Obama greets former Olympic athletes, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee and David Robinson, at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

Sarah Palin continues to defend Dr. Laura Schlessinger's use of the word "n****r" and blame liberals for forcing the controversial conservative radio show off the air. But just a few months ago Palin was adamant that using the "N-word," and other offensive terms, should be a firing offense...if you're a Democrat.

"I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of [his] inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel," Palin wrote in February. "The Obama Administration's Chief of Staff scolded [liberal critics] calling them, 'F---ing retarded,' according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Just as we'd be appalled if any public figure of Rahm's stature ever used the "N-word" or other such inappropriate language, Rahm's slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities - and the people who love them - is unacceptable, and it's heartbreaking."

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A new poll out of Kentucky shows Democratic Senate nominee Jack Conway closing the gap with his Republican counterpart, Rand Paul. The race stands as essentially a dead heat, according to the poll, with Conway just barely ahead 41.7-41.2.

The survey of 801 likely voters was conducted Aug. 16-18 by Braun Research on behalf of Kentucky cable news channel CN2. The margin of error is 3.46%.

The new poll shows a big swing toward Conway. The last Braun research poll, from August 4, showed Paul leading Conway 40.6-31.4.

Other recent polling has shown Paul with a lead in the contest. The TPM Poll Average shows the Republican ahead 45.4-41.0.

But the numbers also show that Conway could be making up ground against the Republican. Check out the polling trendline:

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A Republican nominee for a big House race in Ohio is now declining to say whether he thinks President Obama is a Muslim.

"I don't have a position on whether he's a Muslim," said Tom Ganley, an auto dealer and self-funding GOP nominee for Congress in Ohio's 13th District, in an interview with Roll Call. This interview came in the wake of a Pew national poll showing that 18% of Americans think that Obama is a Muslim -- nearly twice the number from last year.

Ganley is running against second-term Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton, in a district that voted 57%-42% for Obama in 2008. He had initially been running for Senate, challenging Rob Portman for the GOP nomination, but was recruited by the party back in February to switch races and go for the House. He has already put $6.5 million of his own money into the race.

Hot on the heels of the Prop 8 ruling in California that determined a ban on same sex marriage violates California's constitution, a federal judge officially entered his judgment in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, giving the federal government 60 days to decide whether to appeal.

Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in early July that DOMA, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, is unconstitutional. Yesterday, he officially entered the judgment, starting a 60-day clock for the Justice Department to decide whether to appeal his ruling.

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A new Rasmussen poll of the Washington Senate race finds Democratic Sen. Patty Murray ahead of Republican rival Dino Rossi, 50%-46%.

The poll found an equivalent four-point advantage for Murray, 48%-44% prior to establishing leaners' preferential candidate in the race with a follow-up question. The latest survey is the first conducted since Murray and Rossi easily advanced out of Washington's "Top Two" primary earlier this week. In a July 28 Rasmussen survey, Murray was favored 49%-47%. An earlier Rasmussen poll from July had Rossi on top, 48%-45%. All three of these polls' margin of error are ±4.0 percentage points.

The TPM Poll Average shows Murray ahead in the race, 48.7%-46.6%.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is strongly supporting the right of Muslims to build a community center near Ground Zero in New York, saying that its opponents are guilty of "gutter politics."

He called the opposition "one of the worst things I've ever seen done in politics."

WisPolitics reports:

Asked where he comes down on the proposal to build a mosque and community center near the site of the World Trade Center attacks, Feingold said it's tragic there isn't a proper memorial at the site.

"It's just wrong after all these years that there isn't that kind of memorial," he said.

Feingold said those who are looking to use the issue as a political wedge are guilty of "gutter politics" and "one of the worst things I've ever seen done in politics."

"In the end I believe in freedom of religion," he said. "If somebody owns property and it's within the zoning rules, if they want to build a house of worship that is a fundamental right. And I would make the point I am for freedom on this point, and freedom of religion is fundamental."

Kentucky Democrats waiting to hear their Senate nominee's take on the controversial Cordoba House project in lower Manhattan finally got their answer today -- and it sounds a lot like the response from GOP nominee Rand Paul.

"I think we have to keep the families of the victims of 9/11 foremost in our minds and because of that I would prefer to see it located elsewhere," Conway told the Knox County, KY Times-Tribune. Conway also said the project is "an issue for New York primarily."

Earlier this week, this is what Paul's campaign told me about their man's take on Cordoba House:

"While this is a local matter that should be decided by the people of New York, Dr. Paul does not support a mosque being built two blocks from Ground Zero," Paul spokesperson Gary Howard said. "In Dr. Paul's opinion, the Muslim community would better serve the healing process by making a donation to the memorial fund for the victims of September 11th."

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