TPM News

It looks like the drama at the Washington Times isn't quite over yet.

Newsroom sources tell TPM they aren't expecting executive editor John Solomon -- who hasn't been seen since the firing of three top executives late Sunday night -- to come back and suggested there may be a larger problem with the paper's growth and revenue figures. But Solomon's in a three-year contract -- which began in January 2007 -- so it may be difficult for him to break with the organization. Staffers were surprised he didn't check in amid all the turmoil and bad press yesterday, and as he lost one of his top reporters.

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White House Communications Director Anita Dunn is stepping down from her position at the end of the month, TPM has confirmed. While NBC News White House Correspondent Chuck Todd says the move is as expected, the news does come a bit earlier than planned -- the move was always expected at the end of the year.

Dunn was an interim replacement for Ellen Moran, who quit the position earlier this year to take a job as Commerce Secretary Gary Locke's Chief of Staff. Dunn was named as Moran's replacement in April. She was actually President Obama's first choice for the job, but declined due to family considerations.

Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer will replace Dunn, who will remain a consultant to the White House on media strategy issues.

Dunn made a name for herself in the temporary position as she led the charge in the Obama administration's battle with Fox News. In October, she called Fox "more a wing of the Republican party" rather than a news organization (video here).

"The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," Dunn said. The cable network lashed out at the White House in response, calling Dunn's remarks "self-serving." Rather than backing down, the feud became protracted when senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said "it's not really a news station" and Fox once again responded.

In an interview with SkyNews last week, Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox News, said Glenn Beck "was right" when he called President Obama "a racist" this summer.

Some background: In August, after a white cop mistakenly arrested a black Harvard professor in his own home, touching off a nationwide debate about race, Obama said during a news conference that James Crowley, the police officer, "acted stupidly."

Beck jumped on the comment, saying Obama has "a deep-seated hatred for white people." He later said, "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people. ... He has a, this guy is, I believe, a racist."

Asked about that comment last week, Murdoch -- ultimately, Beck's boss -- said Beck was right, even though he maybe shouldn't have said as much.

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A new survey of Maine from Public Policy Polling (D) has some dire news for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), with the moderate Republican potentially losing her 2012 Republican primary against a generic conservative challenger -- and by a landslide, no less.

The numbers: Conservative challenger 59%, Snowe 31%, with a ±4.8% margin of error. It is of course a long way from the idea of a generic conservative challenger to having an actual candidate, but the potential for success by just such an insurgent is certainly there.

Snowe's overall approval is 51%, to 36% disapproval. Democrats approve of her by 60%-29%, Republicans disapprove by 40%-46%, and independents approve by 51%-33%.

The pollster's analysis notes the importance of her vote for a health care bill in the Senate Finance Committee: "Snowe's numbers are steady with independents but down with both Democrats and Republicans compared to three weeks ago, an indication of the perilous political position she finds herself in. Republicans are mad at her for supporting any Democratic bill, while Democrats still are not completely happy with her because of her hesitance to support a public option."

This morning, Fox News host Bill Hemmer made the argument that the shooting at Fort Hood should be classified as terrorism.

If you're despondent, if you're depressed, if you don't want to be shipped out or deployed to be overseas, you take out yourself, and you commit suicide. You don't try and take out as many people as you can with you. So is this the act of a suicidal person, or is this the act of a terrorist?

Gov. Charlie Crist may have the backing of the national GOP establishment in the Florida Republican senate primary, but the man who personally represents Crist in Washington isn't ready to add his name to the list of Republicans who say he'd make a better candidate than Marco Rubio.

Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young represents Crist's home district in Pinellas County, near Tampa Bay. When the St. Petersburg Times caught up with him at a Rubio speech yesterday, he stayed mum on the GOP civil war that's grabbing headlines across the country.

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The Washington Post's Dana Priest has obtained the slides of a June 2007 lecture given by Fort Hood shootings suspect Nidal Hasan when he was a psychiatric resident at Walter Reed.

The 50-slide PowerPoint, titled "The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military," was designed to describe "what the Koran inculcates in the minds of Muslims and the potential implications this may have for the U.S. military." Hasan's final recommendation was that Muslim soldiers should be eligible for conscientious objector status "to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events."

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The Stupak amendment blocking abortion funding has become the hot button of the left, replacing (for now) the fight over the public option.

As President Obama suggested he doesn't think the measure belongs in the bill, reproductive rights groups are mobilizing to make sure the amendment doesn't make it any farther in the process.

"This is a middle class abortion ban and I don't think women are going to accept it," said Laurie Rubiner, Planned Parenthood Federation of America's vice president of policy.

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As the Politico first pointed out, Fox News contributor and syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham said on Fox News this morning that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stopped just short of selling "her own body" to get the House's health care reform bill passed.

Nancy Pelosi basically did everything except sell her own body to get this bill passed. OK. [laughter] She did everything!

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