TPM News

The new Rasmussen poll of West Virginia finds that Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin starts out as a decently strong frontrunner in a potential special Senate election this fall, which has become a likely scenario in the process to replace the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd.

Manchin leads Republican Rep. Shelly Moore Capito by 53%-39%, and leads former West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland by 65%-26%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error.

West Virginia appears to be on track to hold a special election this November, with Manchin likely appointing an interim Senator who will not seek a full term. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) announced last week that there would not be an election, but instead a gubernatorial appointment to last through November 2012, based on the state's confusing statute on the subject. However, Tennant herself stated her disagreement with this outcome and called for the law to be changed, and Manchin obtained a legal opinion from state Attorney General Darrell McGraw (D) that allowed an election to go forward this year. Manchin has ruled out appointing himself, but has appeared to be very open to running in the election.

The Federal Elections Commission announced yesterday that it found no evidence of wrongdoing in six complaints, including ones against Charlie Crist's Senate campaign and President Obama's Victory Fund.

The complaint against Crist, filed late last year by Tampa Republican Club president Liz Wessel, alleges that he and a lobbyist friend violated FEC law when his friend, Rich Heffley, created an anti-Rubio web site without disclosing who he was.

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Obama Wants Billions More In Energy Tax Credits The Washington Post reports: "President Obama will call Friday morning for Congress to pass $5 billion in energy manufacturing tax credits, according to a White House official. The statement will come during an appearance with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The event is the last of several that Obama has held this week to highlight the administration's economic policies."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver remarks on the economy at 12:05 p.m. ET in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will depart from Las Vegas at 1:15 p.m. ET, arriving at Andrews Air Force Base at 5:20 p.m. ET, and back at the White House at 5:35 p.m. ET.

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The tea party is trying to make good on its promise to go from frustrated horde to organized political army. A new site launched by the Tea Party Patriots and the Leadership Institute on July 4 -- -- seeks to offer the average tea partier the tools to go from flag-waving Glenn Beck acolyte to flag-waving Glenn Beck acolyte with a plan.

Back in April, tea partiers across the country pledged to remake their movement in the wake of threats of violence -- and some actual violence -- following the health care reform vote in Congress. Leaders of the ultra-right called on tea partiers to abandon their traditional Day Of Protest, Tax Day, and instead turn their efforts to politics.

TeaPartyTraining.Org gives some insights into how that change is going to happen.

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It's getting hard out there for at least one driven tea partier. She can't even draw a crowd for a protest of, um, women veterans.

Sure, three Democratic Congressmen will be there too. And usually, multiple incumbent Democrats in one place, talking about jobs and such, would be chum in the water for a massive turn out of angry tea party protesters. But ahead of this weekend's joint public appearance by Reps. George Miller, Jerry McNerney and John Garamendi in Pittsburg, CA, Contra Costa County T.E.A. party organizer Jill Price says she's having a tough time getting her fellow angry conservatives to sign up for her planned demonstration.

The reason is that the event Price is hell-bent on protesting is a "Women Veterans Fair," where former servicewomen will hear briefly from the Representatives before fanning out to workshops on finding jobs, dealing with stress and "Navigating The VA."

"Because the veterans are there, it's turning a lot of people off," Price told me Thursday. "I understand that, but it's important that people know we support the veterans -- and not the Congressmen."

Price says she has about 20 die-hard followers who will make it out to the event Saturday, despite the reservations of some. She says they'll hold signs praising the veterans, slamming the Democrats and -- of course -- calling on the gathered women vets to join the Oathkeepers, whose membership of uniformed soldiers and police take an oath to refuse orders they see as unconstitutional.

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More than 400,000 members of the military this week received email surveys about Don't Ask, Don't Tell that contained 100 questions ranging from how troops would handle group showers to how knowing your fellow serviceman was gay would affect morale -- as though troops weren't already serving (and, yes, showering with) gay men and lesbian service members.

But like so many of the twists and turns in the Don't Ask, Don't Tell saga, the surveys have been met with frustration from the LGBT community and the Pentagon is trying to defend its system as critical to the review process for repealing the Clinton-era policy.

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Have months of Fox News hyperventilating and right-wing fear mongering over our supposed socialist-in-chief finally paid off? A majority of voters now think President Barack Obama is a socialist, at least according to one new poll.

The poll (PDF) from Democracy Corps finds that 55 percent of likely voters believe that the word "socialist" describes the president either "well" or "very well."

Peyton Craighill, a senior associate at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a firm that does polling for Democracy Corps, attributed the surprising number to voters' impatience with the lagging economy.

"It probably has to do with the fact that people are very unhappy with the dire economy and the fact that the budget deficit is quite large," Craighill said. "People who don't like the man are going to use any label they can to ding him, even if they don't think he's a socialist in the vein of the Soviet Union or China."

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John Boehner twisted himself into a pretzel this week when he told the Washington Post he had "no idea" whether Republicans would once again attempt to privatize Social Security if they retake the House in November. He couldn't just say "no" -- he followed up with the explanation that he couldn't say because he didn't want to prejudge the outcome of the GOP's voter survey.

"We're not going to prejudge what's going to come out of this listening project," he said.

Turns out that the project also includes soliciting recommendations from representatives of the most powerful business and trade groups in the country -- in other words, it's a "House Republican efforts to produce a new policy agenda with a small group of trade association leaders." Call it the Zombie K Street Project.

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