TPM News

Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) is taking care of his state's beaches in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill. Or, to be more precise, he's taking care of the business leaders who make billions of dollars a year thanks to the state's miles of coastline -- none of which has been touched by a drop of Deepwater Horizon oil.

According to the AP, Crist has asked BP to pony up $35 million to pay for new ads touting how not oil-covered his state's beaches are:

Crist said the additional funds are needed immediately to buoy the state's $65 billion tourism industry that has taken a hit because of national images of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20.

Where did Crist get the idea? The state hospitality industry. It's another example of Crist pulling his friends closer now that he's running all alone in the Senate race.

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The Arizona anti-illegal immigration law is now catching on in the race for governor of Florida, with state Attorney General Bill McCollum saying that he would back bringing it to Florida -- after his new opponent in the GOP primary, former health care executive Rick Scott, began pushing it.

The St. Petersburg Times points out that McCollum previously said a few weeks ago that the law was "far out" and not suitable for Florida. But then Scott praised the law in a new radio ad. McCollum now cites changes that have been made to the law in response to complaints about potential racial profiling, and says he supports it.

Now McCollum says: "As state and local law enforcement officials in Arizona begin to implement the state's aggressive new border security law to crackdown on illegal immigration, I applaud Gov. Brewer and the Arizona Legislature for stepping up their enforcement efforts at a time when President Obama's administration has let states down. I support Arizona's law as amended, and if the federal government fails to secure our borders and solve the problem of illegal immigration, I would support a similar law for Florida."

By now Pennsylvania voters have been inundated with an ad showing Sen. Arlen Specter say with a knowing voice that, "My change in party will enable me to be reelected," a damning clip that hasn't done the Republican-turned-Democrat any favors. But Pennsylvania station WGAL dug up the original video, and it gives a bit more context to an unhelpful statement.

Specter, now about tied with Rep. Joe Sestak in advance of the Democratic primary on Tuesday, was speaking to reporters in early 2009, just after announcing he was leaving the Republican party.

Specter says, "My change in party will enable me to be reelected, and I have heard that again and again and again on the street. 'Senator, we're glad you'll be able to stay in the Senate and help the state and the nation.'"

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Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), who recently left the Republican Party in order to run for Senate as an independent, says he likes Elena Kagan's nomination for the Supreme Court -- and he seems to like being able to say that, too.

The St. Petersburg Times asked Crist what he thought of Kagan. "A lot. I think she'd do a great job," Crist said. He also added: "Isn't that fun."

Last year, when Crist was still running for Senate as a Republican and facing a stiff challenge from his right by Marco Rubio in the GOP primary, he publicly opposed the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court. But now, he seems to be enjoying the strange new experience of praising a Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court.

Call it Operation Chaos, the sequel. It's the battle for the Keystone State and Rep. Joe Sestak has made up huge ground to catch up with Sen. Arlen Specter with days to go before Tuesday's primary. Some Republicans who sneered at Specter and called him a RINO when he was on their side now think he'd be the easier Democrat to beat come November.

It's a bit early to game out the general election since Republican candidate Pat Toomey is holding strong, but one conservative blogger is urging GOPers to get involved -- in the Democratic primary -- just in case. Sound familiar? Back during the battle royale between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, radio host Rush Limbaugh asked the GOP to vote for Clinton in state primaries to prolong the fight and (the idea was) to wound the eventual nominee before the general election. That didn't quite work out, and it's difficult to prove there were many Republicans who followed his advice.

"If any of those Pennsylvania Republicans who switched their affiliation to support Hillary two years ago are still listed as Democrats, this would be a very smart time to be voting for Specter, because he will be easier to beat than Sestak," said blogger Stacy McCain, who is urging people to help keep Specter in the race.

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Notwithstanding a bit of internal dissent and confusion, Democrats want to pass a Wall Street reform bill sooner rather than later. They have a lot on their plate, they say, are pleased with the bill as it is, and it's high time, in their view, to move on.

GOP leaders, by contrast, wouldn't mind keeping the bill on the floor for another two weeks. They say they oppose most of the key sections of the bill as they're currently written, yet just about every time they try to change them in any significant way, Democrats band together to block them.

That dynamic could set the parties on a collision course much like the one they found themselves on a few weeks ago, which resulted in brief but dramatic GOP efforts to block debate on the bill altogether.

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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) has a new campaign manager for his independent bid for Senate: big sister Margaret Crist Wood.

The St. Petersburg Times reports that Crist's sister's official title is "interim campaign manager" -- but only to give her an exit strategy if she doesn't like the job.

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Rumors about Elena Kagan's sexuality have been flying since she appeared on President Obama's short list for the Supreme Court. Now that's she's been officially nominated, the rumors -- that Kagan is gay -- have bubbled right up to the surface: Cable news.

The debate officially entered mainstream media when the Wall Street Journal published a front page photo of Kagan playing softball some 17 years ago. Some argue that playing softball signifies playing for the other team (although it seems it only does so for those over 50). Others argue that we shouldn't be discussing her sexuality at all. And besides, they say, the White House and Kagan's friends have publicly said she's straight.

All we know is that the debate has been entertaining:

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Arizona's new law restricting ethnic studies is the brainchild of the state's ambitious top education official, Tom Horne, who is locked in a Republican primary for Attorney General against a prominent ally of hardline Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Horne, the state's superintendent of public instruction since 2002, has long sought to kill the Tucson school district's ethnic studies classes, including La Raza studies -- and he wrote the bill to target that single program. "It's just like the old South, and it's long past time that we prohibited it," he has said of ethnic studies classes that, he claims, teach Hispanics to resent whites.

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