TPM News

Don't fret, American poor people! Turns out you're living better than "the rest of the world," according to Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul.

Responding to an attack from Democratic nominee Jack Conway at a candidate forum yesterday, Paul tried to defend his past statement that the president criticizing BP is "un-American." Paul launched into a spirited defense of "the engine of capitalism," and worried that assaults on it -- like the criticisms of BP from Conway and his Democratic friends -- could lead to a "day of reckoning" in the U.S., and perhaps a Depression.

This somehow led to a lesson Paul said Kentuckians should hold dear: Sure there are "problems" with the way America deals with the poor, but when they think about it, poor folks should thank goodness they're not stuck in one of those other horrible countries.

"The poor in our country are enormously better off than the rest of the world," Paul said. "Doesn't mean we can't do better, but we have to acknowledge and be proud of our system of capitalism, be proud of our American way."

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The survey sent to 400,000 U.S. service members quizzing them on their thoughts related to serving with (already existing) gay, lesbian and bisexual service members is now available online, and continues to engender interesting questions about how and why the military will decide whether the personal lives of its service members will continue to make them subject to involuntary discharge.

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Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told Politico that he will declare on Monday what his intentions are on whether to run in the likely special election this year to succeed the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd -- and that he is likely to run.

Manchin also said that only "procedural" issues remain as an obstacle, as the state sorts out its unclear laws on who would succeed him as governor if he were to be elected to higher office. The state is also in the middle of sorting out its unclear laws on a special Senate election, too, after Manchin secured a legal opinion from state Attorney General Darrell McGraw that one could go forward this year.

Manchin also appeared on MSNBC this morning, and said that the legislature had a responsibility to come back into a special session and clarify the laws "as quickly as possible" on how the election would be held, and who would succeed him as governor. Manchin reaffirmed that the timeline for him appointing an interim Senator could be placed on hold while these matters are handled.

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Glenn Beck is holding a much-hyped rally next month in front of the Lincoln Memorial -- a rally he has promoted by saying it will be remembered as a turning point in American history for hundreds of years. He is also promoting the rally as a fund-raiser for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a charity which gives scholarships to the children of Special Ops soldiers killed in combat, and financial assistance to wounded troops.

It's a respectable cause, and the charity has been rated highly by Charity Navigator.

But read the fine print (as pointed out by Bill Press) on Beck's site, and one wonders exactly how much of the donations Beck is soliciting will make it into the charity's coffers.

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Rick Scott, the millionaire former health care exec, sees a serious injustice in the state of Florida's campaign finance laws. The law, he says, unfairly picks on the big spenders.

Scott has tapped his personal fortune to help knock Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) out of position as the de facto Republican nominee for governor in Florida. So far, it's been working: Scott's leading by double-digits in the polls. And now he's asking a judge to strike down a Florida campaign finance law that would award McCollum a dollar-for-dollar match from the state for every dollar over $24.9 million that Scott spends. Scott's already spent $21 million, according to the Palm Beach Post. So if he spends much more, McCollum stands to start collecting.

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The Republican National Committee has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, attacking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- and President Obama -- for Nevada's troubled economic situation.

"It took thousands of men to erect Hoover dam and build modern Nevada," the announcer says. "But it only took two men to help tear down its economy. Barack Obama and Harry Reid."

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Republican former state Rep. Sharron Angle a lead of 46.0%-40.8%.

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President Obama campaigned last night at a fundraiser in Las Vegas for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- and directly took on Reid's opponent, former state Rep. Sharron Angle.

Obama never mentioned Angle by name, but frequently singled out the view of "Harry's opponent" on such issues as financial reform, oil industry regulation and jobs. "On a lot of these issues, she favors an approach that's even more extreme than the Republicans we got in Washington," said Obama, to the audience's laughter. "That's saying something."

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Angle a lead of 46.0%-40.8%.

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The two men vying to replace the retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) in the Senate met yesterday in their first joint appearance of the general election. Though not a true "debate" -- the event was a candidate forum before an audience of public officials in Lousiville -- Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway took plenty of swipes at one another, according to local news reports from the event.

Paul "said Conway is 'just too liberal' for most Kentuckians," according to the Louisville Courier-Journal and "linked Conway to President Barack Obama, who he said wants to raise taxes and expand government."

Conway took Paul's controversial views head-on, and "said voters shouldn't be scared by Paul's rhetoric," according to the paper.

But perhaps the hottest exchange came over Paul's now-infamous comment that Obama's criticisms of BP over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are "un-American."

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As we reported last week, Arizona released a training video for law enforcement officials training them how not to be accused of racial profiling while implementing the state's new immigration law. After watching the video, Jon Stewart concluded last night: "Mexicans are f*cked."

He was also confused by one speaker in the video, who said that "no officer should ever say, 'Show me your papers.' That's just rude."

Stewart asked: "What is that guy, the Emily Post of the open range? Racial profiling is rude. Tasering Mexicans, why it's just not done! And remember officers, always serve subpoenas from the left. Take documentation from the right."

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Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in Nevada against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has a new one-minute ad featuring dire and tragic music -- mixed with fear-mongering about Michigan that could have been taken right out of The Kentucky Fried Movie.

The ad features no dialogue, other than the compulsory voice-over from Angle saying she approved the message, but instead features music with a montage of unemployed people and on-screen text from news clips about Nevada's economic situation. And the message is repeatedly hammered home that Nevada's unemployment is now worse than Michigan.

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