TPM News

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is hammering his main Republican opponent in a new ad, saying that businessman Ron Johnson would "hand over the Great Lakes to the oil companies" -- with the BP oil spill shown as being moved right up to Wisconsin.

"I said no to drilling in our Great Lakes," says Feingold. "But one opponent, Ron Johnson, disagrees. He's willing to hand over the Great Lakes to the oil companies -- threatening Wisconsin's economy, and a way of life for generations of Wisconsin families. We won't let that happen." The ad shows a graphic of the oil spill along the Gulf Coast, with the blotted area then being superimposed over Lake Michigan and spreading all the way across Wisconsin.

The TPM Poll Average gives Feingold a narrow edge of 45.7%-44.0% against Johnson.

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NRSC Chairman John Cornyn disagrees with his colleague, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) that the rise of the Tea Party is bad news for Republicans this election cycle. Late last week, Bennett made waves by declaring, among other things, that the Tea Party will allow Harry Reid to save his Nevada Senate seat. Cornyn responded yesterday by speculating that Bennett's recent defeat at the Utah Republican convention.

"I disagree with that," Cornyn told TPMDC. "I respect Sen. Bennett a lot. He's been through a tough experience because of the unusual selection process in his state and that may have had some impact on his views."

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Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin told reporters this morning at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that he supports surveying troops about the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on LGBT people in the military. Levin said it can't hurt to take the temperature of military rank-and-file, but cautioned that troops should not feel like they can influence the policy's outcome.

"The military is not a democracy," Levin said. He also said he "can understand the resentment in the gay community" about the phrasing of the survey.

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Ohio Republican Senate nominee Rob Portman has fractured his collarbone in a mountain biking accident, he announced on Twitter.

just got out of x-ray, fractured my collarbone mtn biking w my son Will. will be in a sling for a couple weeks. great ride until i fell!

The TPM Poll Average shows Democrat Lee Fisher leading Portman 42.5-41.4.

The new SurveyUSA poll of the MN-06 district gives Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, perhaps the single biggest star of the Tea Party movement in Congress today, the lead over her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Tarryl Clark.

The numbers: Bachmann 48%, Clark 39%, Independence Party candidate Bob Anderson 6%, and independent Aubrey Immelman 2%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.2% margin of error. There is no prior SurveyUSA poll for direct comparison.

The district is very friendly to Republicans, having voted for John McCain by 53%-45% in 2008 and George W. Bush by 57%-42% in 2004. However, Bachmann nearly lost re-election in the Democratic year of 2008, after her infamous Hardball interview in which she called for a media exposé of Barack Obama and other Democrats for possible anti-American beliefs -- citing as evidence Obama's association with such nefarious figures as his wife, Michelle Obama. Since then, she's only gotten more vociferous, ranging from calls for "orderly revolution" to decrying America's new status as a "nation of slaves." And it's all paid off handsomely -- with Bachmann massively out-raising Clark's seemingly impressive haul.

The Democratic National Committee is gearing up its efforts of spreading money throughout the party infrastructure, a party official tells us, transferring its first $2 million to various party arms as part of its $50 million Vote 2010 plan.

The next FEC report will show the following transfers in June: $666,666 to the DSCC, $666,666 to the DCCC, $333,333 to the Ohio Democratic Party, and $333,333 to the Florida Democratic Party. These sort of numbers could potentially drive Sarah Palin and Iron Maiden fans mad.

The overall Vote 2010 plan will involve $20 million in cash to the DSCC, DCCC and state gubernatorial races, plus another $30 million in direct spending by the party.

Government Hopes New Drilling Moratorium Can Survive The Associated Press reports: "Rebuffed twice by the courts, the Obama administration is taking another crack at a moratorium on deep-water drilling, stressing new evidence of safety concerns and no longer basing the moratorium on water depth. But those who challenge the latest ban question whether it complies with a judge's ruling tossing out the first one. The new order does not appear to deviate much from the original moratorium, as it still targets deep-water drilling operators but defines them in a different way."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:45 a.m. ET. Obama will meet with senior advisers at 10:15 a.m. ET, and he and Biden will meet at 11 a.m. ET with the Senate Democratic Leadership Team. Obama and Biden will have lunch at 12:20 p.m. ET. They will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Obama will deliver remarks at 5:50 p.m. ET, on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

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Since jumping into Florida's Republican gubernatorial primary in April, millionaire hospital executive Rick Scott has spent a fortune beating the heck out of the Republican establishment's choice, state Attorney General Bill McCollum. McCollum is now nearly out of money, and hoping Florida's public financing laws will bail him out. Though the race is not over yet, Scott is looking more and more like a frontrunner -- a development that could leave Republicans with an eccentric, disgraced CEO to carry their flag into the open race for governor in the fall.

The past two weeks in Florida have shown how far McCollum -- once the shoo-in Republican nominee -- has fallen in the face of the Scott's more than $20 million onslaught. We entered July with the primary race having already descended to the level of America's nastiest. McCollum was attempting to blunt Scott's momentum by claiming Scott "profited from abortion" as the CEO of Columbia HCA. Scott came back with an ad slamming McCollum's support from the "pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights" Rudy Giuliani.

And then things got ugly.

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Ed Martin, a Republican candidate for Congress in Missouri, said in a radio interview with a conservative talk show host that President Obama and Rep. Russ Carnahan are trying to interfere with America's freedom to worship. Martin also has taken a swipe at Carnahan's sister Robin Carnahan, suggesting she is doing the "devil's work" as Secretary of State.

Martin said today the growth of government endangers religious freedom and the "ultimate freedom ... to get your salvation." "And I think that's one of the things that we have to be very, very aware of that the Obama Administration and Congressman Carnahan are doing to us," Martin said during an interview on the "Dr. Gina show."

Martin is challenging Carnahan (D-MO) this fall. The left-leaning FiredUp Missouri blog caught the radio segment and posted the audio tonight.

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