TPM News

The Minnesota Democratic primary for governor is officially over, with state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher having conceded the race to former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton.

"I offered him my full support. He will make an excellent governor," Kelliher said in a statement.

Dayton won the primary by a margin of 41%-40%, plus 18% for former state House Dem leader Matt Entenza. By late this morning, Dayton's raw-vote lead stood at about 7,000 votes, for a percentage lead of 0.55% -- just beyond the 0.5% margin that would have triggered a recount.

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The woman at the center of Rand Paul's "Aqua Buddha" scandal spoke to Greg Sargent. Here's what she had to say: Paul and his friend didn't force her to do anything, or kidnap her, but they did blindfold her, put her in a creek and make her worship his made-up water god.

From Sargent:

"The whole thing has been blown out of proportion," she told me. "They didn't force me, they didn't make me. They were creating this drama: `We're messing with you.'"

The woman said that much of the subsequent coverage of her allegations missed a key nuance: As a participant in a college ritual, where lines between acquiescence and victimization are often blurry, she was largely playing along with the notion that she was being forced to follow Paul's orders.

"I went along because they were my friends," she said. "There was an implicit degree of cooperation in the whole thing. I felt like I was being hazed."

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By a dramatic margin, a majority of the country opposes the construction of the so-called "Ground Zero mosque," a new CNN poll finds. According to the new survey, 68% of Americans are against building the Cordoba House, a Muslim community center planned to be constructed two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center. Twenty-nine percent favor the plan.

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Karl Rove thinks Republicans should just take a breath when it comes to all this talk about amending the Constitution to keep illegal immigrants from taking advantage of the 14th Amendment.

"I mean, is the problem of anchor babies the central problem we face in securing our border? I don't think so," Rove told Fox Radio's John Gibson yesterday. "Let's stay focused on the things that we've got a chance to force Democrats in September and October to vote for that would actually have a positive impact on the border."

Rove blames the chatter about changing the 14th Amendment on a few -- well, actually one -- Republican stuck in a bad position because he was seen by some in his party as an ally of the Obama administration.

"It's not 'they,' it's him," Rove said when Gibson asked why Republicans threatened to derail their focus on economic talk with the 14th Amendment. "I mean, Lindsay Graham brings this up, I think to give himself some credentials [with the conservative base]...And then it gets jumped on by some others."

That's not to say Rove doesn't approve of the idea of ending the practice of so-called "anchor babies" -- he just thinks we don't need to amend the Constitution to end the practice.

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A new CNN poll finds the public divided on whether the Constitution should be amended to end birthright citizenship. The survey of 1,009 adults reports that 49% favor changing the Constitution to prevent the children of non-citizens from gaining automatic citizenship when born in the United States, while 51% oppose such a change.

Recently, a number of Republicans -- including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner -- have opened the door to considering changes to the 14th Amendment, which has guaranteed birthright citizenship since 1868. Several Republicans claim the amendment rewards illegal immigrants who have so-called "anchor babies," children born as citizens in the United States to non-citizen parents. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the push to repeal the 14th Amendment is evidence that Republicans have "either taken leave of their senses or their principles."

The poll has a margin of error of ±3.0 percentage points.

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Just as the House did yesterday, the Senate is interrupting its August recess to come back to D.C. for a vote during its vacation.

The Senate will reconvene tomorrow morning for a border security vote, and to honor former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), who died in a plane crash this week.

The $600 million border security measure will be paid for by unprecedented increases in fees to companies that utilize foreign workers. Companies that have a significant proportion of workers in the United States under temporary H-1B visas will see application fees rise from $320 to $2,320, while multinational companies that transfer existing employees into the U.S. will see their visa fees rise from $320 to $2,570.

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New details are beginning to emerge about the plane crash that killed Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and four others -- Dana Tindall, her daughter, Corey, 16, lobbyist Bill Phillips and the pilot, Terry Smith. Sean O'Keefe, EADS CEO, his son Kevin, lobbyist Jim Morhard and Phillips' son Willy, 13, remain hospitalized in Anchorage. Although the crash site remains relatively inaccessible due to weather conditions, NTSB investigators have pieced together a preliminary report based on accounts from rescuers and witnesses.

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In a campaign season swelling with populism, where candidates try to out-folk each other and prove their anti-elitist credentials, having a symbol of extreme wealth as potent as a 145-foot yacht is already a liability.

It's way more of a liability if your yacht has been involved in a number of untoward episodes over the past decade -- if, like Florida Senate candidate Jeff Greene, your yacht has destroyed part of a precious Belizean coral reef, showed up "caked in vomit" in travel-embargoed Cuba and, possibly, fueled some of Mike Tyson's less proud moments.

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