TPM News

Former House Speaker/maybe future presidential candidate Newt Gingrich delivered a warning to incumbents after Utah Republicans ousted Sen. Bob Bennett -- change the system or you might suffer the same fate.

I caught up with Gingrich after a speech he delivered to the annual RNC gathering of state party chairs, hosted this year just across the Potomac from D.C. in Maryland. As he mingled with party chairs in a hotel ballroom, I asked him about Bennett's ouster by angry conservatives in Utah.

"It's a sign of the anger of the American people," Gingrich said. I asked him if there was a lesson for other incumbents to learn from Bennett's fate. "Any politician that wants to be reelected had very clearly be the candidate for change," he replied.

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The wrangling over Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's investigation of a climate scientist continues...

After indicating last week that it would comply with a subpoena sent by the AG, demanding documents relating to the work of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann, the university is now equivocating. "Our intention is to comply but we are looking at some options," a UVA spokeswoman told the Washington Post yesterday.

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The new survey of North Carolina from Public Policy Polling (D) finds Republican Sen. Richard Burr vulnerable against either of his two Democratic challengers, who are currently fighting it out in a June 22 runoff.

The numbers, among registered voters: Burr edges North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall by 43%-42%, and leads former state senator and Iraq War veteran Cal Cunningham by 44%-39%. The margin of error is ±3.9%.

The TPM Poll Average has Burr leading Marshall by 47.1%-37.7%, and leading Cunningham by 47.7%-35.3%. It should be noted, however, that almost all of this polling predates the first round of the Democratic primary from last week, and the Dems are expected to increase their name recognition.

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Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), who all of a sudden finds himself in a tight primary battle with Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), seems to be hoping President Obama can help.

A new ad released today ties the longtime senator to Obama.

"President Obama and newspapers across Pennsylvania agree: Arlen Specter is the real deal," the ad's narrator says.

President Obama, speaking at an event with Specter, declares, "Arlen Specter cast the deciding vote in favor of a Recovery Act that has helped pull us back from the brink."

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Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum personally pushed to hire George Rekers to testify in defense of the state's gay adoption ban in 2008, even when the Department of Children and Families balked at the cost, according to letters obtained by the Florida Tribune.

But with Rekers now embroiled in a scandal involving a gay escort, McCollum said he wouldn't do it again.

"We've been defending the constitutionality of the state law and we've been representing the Department of Children and Families, who hired him and paid him and needed expert witnesses and he was available and credentialed," McCollum told the Tribune. "I wouldn't do it again if I knew what I knew today but I didn't know that then and neither did anybody else."

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Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) has been retooling his image since he left the Republican Party to run for Senate as an independent. And a look at his website shows an amusing example.

About two weeks ago, I took a screen-capture of the front page of Crist's campaign site shortly before he announced his party switch. One element of the site that caught my eye was an image linking to an issues page, which said: "*Consistent Leadership* The Charlie Crist Conservative Record." This had been a part of his site for some months, in an effort to defend credentials on the right when he was running in the Republican primary against Marco Rubio.

Now the "consistent leadership" remains, but in a slightly different form: "*Consistent Leadership* The Charlie Crist Record." The word "conservative" has been deleted.

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Vice President Joe Biden's oldest son, Beau Biden, is at a Delaware medical center "undergoing treatment" for an undisclosed condition, the White House announced moments ago.

It wasn't immediately clear why Beau Biden was undergoing treatment, though the White House says he's "alert and awake." Vice President Biden and his wife are at the medical center with him.

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Vice President Joe Biden said on the Today show this morning that he'll be campaigning this week -- and possibly next -- for Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA). But will President Obama? Biden's not so sure.

Specter is locked in a tight race with Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) in the May 18 Democratic Senate primary. The current TPM Poll Average shows Specter leading Sestak 44.7% to 39.8%.

Biden said this morning that Obama "already has gone out and campaigned for Arlen Specter." But will he do so again before next Tuesday's primary?

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