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North Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge (D) is battling back against an allegation of a past physical altercation with a high school student in the wake of his videotaped altercation with a college student this week. At the same time, reports have emerged that the viral internet video of the event that has pulled him from obscurity into the headlines may have been connected to the national Republican party.

Etheridge publicly apologized for the taped altercation, which took place last Thursday. While a video camera rolled, Etheridge physically confronted a self-described student who was asking him about his political positions.

The representative has taken a very different approach toward a new assault allegation, leveled by a Mississippi man, Brandon Leslie, who told the Southern Pines Pilot then-candidate Etheridge manhandled him in 1996 when Leslie was a senior at a North Carolina high school.

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BP isn't standing alone with one foot on the ground and the other in its mouth. Since the spill began in April, Republicans have demonstrated an exceptional tendency to blurt out their inconvenient beliefs about the disaster and the federal response. And we're not talking about backbenchers here -- the dirty talk has come from their most powerful and visible members. From Capitol Hill to the Gulf Coast, we bring you, in chronological order, the top six GOP oil spill slip-ups.

1. Rand Paul
He's since gone into hiding, likely on NRSC orders, but back when the Kentucky Senate hopeful was still flapping his gums (to hilarious effect) on national television, he let slip that he wanted the Obama administration to leave BP aloooooone!

"This sort of, you know 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business," Paul said on Good Morning America last month.


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The Democratic National Committee has a new national TV ad, aiming to nail the whole Republican Party to Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) public apology to BP for the $20 billion escrow account that the Obama administration worked out with them, to pay for damages from the big oil spill.

The ad makes hay of Barton's status as the ranking Republican on the House committee that oversees the oil industry. The announcer says: "Now, at President Obama's direction, BP's set aside 20 billion for recovery on the Gulf coast. But if Republicans were in charge, this is the guy who'd be overseeing BP."

The GOP clearly knew how politically damaging this would be, as they ordered Barton to retract his apology immediately. But that's not stopping the Dems from putting out a message that Barton said what his party was really thinking about making BP pay for the damages.

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Colorado Senate hopeful Jane Norton (R) has given her campaign website a facelift. And as part of that facelift she's hitting Barack Obama for...not going to war against Islam.

The site, screencapped below features a still frame from a new ad, attacking Obama and Washington liberals for abandoning the War on Terrorism.

The ad includes a May 26, 2010 Reuters headline saying "Obama doctrine to make clear no war on Islam." This is supposed to be a bad thing.


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Former South Carolina judge and ex-state legislator Vic Rawl has officially conceded the Democratic primary for Senate, after he had attempted to contest his upset loss to unemployed veteran Alvin Greene.

Rawl had originally insisted that there were irregularities or errors in vote-counting in his loss to Greene. A more common explanation has been that both candidates were unknown, and Greene's 60% victory owed something to his name having been listed in the first position on the ballot. And last night, the state Democratic Party upheld Greene's win, despite the embarrassment and scandals surrounding his arrest last fall on an obscenity charge.

In his statement, Rawl thanks his supporters, and announced that he will not further contest the result: "We hold our heads high, and know that the friendship of people like you is far more important in life that the outcome of any election."

However, he also said: "The issues we raised about the lack of election integrity in South Carolina are real, and they are not going away unless people act. I assure you that I will continue to speak out about our frail, vulnerable and unverifiable election system in the months to come."

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The Clinton Presidential Library this afternoon released a massive batch of emails from Elena Kagan's inbox when she worked in the White House, the final pages to paint a portrait of President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

We'll be reading through them, but in the meantime you can check out emails Kagan wrote, messages she received and email related to Kagan.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

• Fox News Sunday: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), former Shell Oil Company president John Hofmeister, Katty Kay of the BBC, TARP Executive Compensation Special Master Ken Feinberg.

The Office of Congressional Ethics has sent letters to several residents of the C Street Christian fellowship house informing them that there is no "probable cause" to believe legislators are getting improper gifts in the form of below-market rent, Roll Call reports.

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This Tuesday's South Carolina Republican gubernatorial runoff is shaping up to be a major battle for the GOP -- and a sneak peek at what the 2012 Republican presidential primaries could be like, as the party's wings do battle in this major early primary state.

Assuming that the GOP keeps the governorship of this red state, the new governor will be highly influential with the party's base and various organizations -- and somebody that a national candidate will want to have supporting them. Already, some of the GOP's potential presidential candidates have been involved in the race. Sarah Palin strongly endorsed state Rep. Nikki Haley during the first round, backing her up in the face of scandals when Haley was accused of having extra-marital affairs.

Mitt Romney also supported Haley in the first round, after Haley had supported him during the 2008 primaries. Romney returned to the state today to campaign for Haley again -- and also, as the Politico reports, he's donated $42,000 to Haley's campaign, taking advantage of a loophole that allows him to donate from his national PAC and various statewide PACs.

During the first round, Mike Huckabee endorsed and recorded a commercial for Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who had supported Huckabee in 2008 -- and unfortunately for Huck, Bauer came in fourth place with 12%.

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