TPM News

The revelations about the past of the biology professor accused of shooting three colleagues to death at the University of Alabama Friday are stacking up by the day.

First came the news that the professor, Amy Bishop, shot and killed her teenage brother in suburban Boston under hazy circumstances in 1986. Then that she was investigated in 1993 in an attempted mail bombing of a Harvard professor who was evaluating her work as a postdoc.

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Indiana Republicans are feeling a lot more confident about their chances to pick up Sen. Evan Bayh's Senate seat this fall, but it's looking like there will be a 5-way GOP primary.

As we've been reporting, candidates have until tomorrow to submit 4,500 signature petitions to qualify for the ballot. They have until Friday to file paperwork with the Secretary of State.

A spokesman for the Indiana Republican Party told TPMDC there will likely be four or five candidates who meet the threshold to appear on the May 4 primary ballot.

"We're going to let the primary play out," the spokesman told me.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) headlined an event on Friday for the North Dakota Republican Party, and lambasted President Obama for what she saw as his historically terrible handling of the nation's finances. The only problem, however, was that her pronouncements didn't bear much resemblance to reality.

Bachmann argued that "there is no moral equivalency" between the admitted over-spending of the Bush administration compared to the Obama presidency. "Because if you look at the debt level accumulated under George W. Bush, 400 some-odd billion dollars, President Obama in his first year in office accumulated $1.4 trillion, over four times more than that big spending George Bush -- and that was after 911 and the recessions and all that he had to deal with and the two wars. Over four times," said Bachmann.

"As a matter of fact, President Obama spent so much money that if you took all the debt that we accumulated from George Washington, every president up until Barack Obama, President Obama accumulated more debt in eight months than all previous presidents combined. Combined. That gives you context for the times we're living in."

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Rep. Brad Ellsworth is considering throwing his hat in the ring to run for Sen. Evan Bayh's Senate seat, saying today he wants feedback from his family and his constituents.

Ellsworth (D-IN), elected in 2006 when the Democrats took over Congress, lauded Bayh in a statement just released from his office and says the senator will be missed.

He adds that he's already been encouraged to seek the seat.

"I heard about the news during my annual Open Door Listening Tour this morning, and I appreciate the support of those Hoosiers who have already encouraged me to run for Senator Bayh's seat," Ellsworth said.

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Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) just officially announced his retirement from the Senate, with a clear message: He doesn't like Congress.

"For some time I've had a growing conviction that Congress is not working as it should," said Bayh. As a prime example, he referred to the recent filibustering of legislation to create a bipartisan fiscal commission. What particularly bothered Bayh was that it was defeated by Senators who had previously been co-sponsors of the measure itself, but then blocked it for what he described as political reasons.

"To put it in words I think most people can understand, I love working for the people of Indiana, I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives," said Bayh. "But I do not love Congress."

Bayh's full prepared remarks are available after the jump.

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The news about Sen. Evan Bayh opting not to seek reelection had been out for an hour before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid heard from him.

As we reported earlier, Bayh (D-IN) phoned President Obama this morning about his decision.

But an aide to Reid tells us that Bayh called the majority leader at about 11:45 a.m. to let him know.

During his 2 p.m. press conference Bayh will say that partisan gridlock in Washington is one reason he's bowing out.

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Indiana Democrats appear to be on a course to name a candidate for Evan Bayh's Senate seat, given the high unlikelihood that another candidate could successfully file the necessary ballot petitions with the state this week in order to enter the primary. But, there is in fact at least one other candidate besides Bayh who was already seeking to get on the ballot.

So, how is Tamyra d'Ippolito, a cafe owner in Bloomington, doing with collecting the 500 petition signatures in each of the state's nine House districts (a requirement that Bayh's campaign had already fulfilled, according to Democratic sources and published media reports)? The deadline to complete the filing process is this week.

On a phone call just now, d'Ippolito told me that she is not yet at the goal: "We're working feverishly here."

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In special correction published today, the New York Times exposed one of its own, business reporter Zachery Kouwe as an alleged serial plagiarist.

"In a number of business articles in The Times over the past year, and in posts on the DealBook blog on NYTimes.com," the paper wrote, Kouwe "reused language from The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and other sources without attribution or acknowledgment."

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Attorney Orly Taitz has found a way to turn the $20,000 fine levied against her for frivolous legal filings into an opportunity to prove that President Obama was not born in the U.S.

Taitz tells birther-friendly WorldNetDaily she has filed a request with a federal judge in Washington to force Obama to give up his birth documents because she needs them in the appeal of her fine, which was imposed in October as part of a case in Georgia.

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Sen. Evan Bayh had already collected the 4,500 ballot-petition signatures needed to run in this year's Indiana Democratic primary, and his last-minute decision not to run leaves the Indiana Democratic Party in the position of having to select its candidate itself. There probably isn't a realistic way for anyone to gather the signatures needed by this week's deadline.

A Democratic source told TPMDC that Bayh's campaign did polling last week and found the senator was ahead of Republican Dan Coats, a candidate who just jumped in the race. Bayh had completed all the petitions for the race, which are due this week, the source said.

R.J. Gerard, communications director for the Indiana Democratic Party confirmed to TPMDC that the state Democratic Party would be able to select a new candidate to run in November's general election if no one files petitions with 4,500 signatures (500 within each of the state's nine House districts) to run in the primary.

The petitions must be filed with the county clerk's office by Tuesday. Then candidates have until Friday to file with the Secretary of State for the primary ballot. The lack of another Democrat will mean there is a vacancy, leaving it to the state party's State Central Committee to choose a candidate at its June 30 meeting.

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