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The key to understanding Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle may be the fact that she has not always been a Republican.

For at least six years in the 1990s before she held state-level elective office, Angle was a member of the little-known Independent American Party, a right-wing party that combines elements of Ron Paul's doctrinaire libertarianism -- pro-gun, anti-tax, anti-bureaucracy, pro-states' rights -- with Christian social conservatism and fear of the "North American Union" and other forms of "global government." The small party attracted considerable controversy in 1994 when it took out a newspaper ad titled "Consequences of Sodomy: Ruin of a Nation," which suggested HIV could spread through the water.

Three members of the Independent American Party tell TPM that Angle, a Nye County, Nevada, school board member at the time, was an active member of the party in the 1990s. They say she only left the Independent American Party and became a Republican out of political expediency when she decided to seek a seat in the state assembly, to which she was elected in 1998.

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Gen. David Petraeus apparently fainted today during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Afghanistan. He quickly recovered.

Petraeus, who is the commander of U.S. Central Command and therefore the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, slumped forward in his chair while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was speaking. He got up of his own accord and walked out of the hearing.

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Stephen Colbert was not too happy with the Brits last night, since the BP oil spill is "the biggest British mess to hit our shores since Amy Winehouse."

In response, Colbert decided to draw a line "in the black flammable sand" to separate the U.S. from Britain. "So from now on, English muffins are now freedom muffins. And Brit Hume is now Free Hume."

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A new Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll of swing districts, commissioned by NPR, has a lot of bad news for Democrats.

The poll of 60 Dem-held districts and 10 GOP-held districts found voters across the board favoring Republican candidates on the generic ballot tests, as well as agreeing more with Republican messages on the economy, health care and other issues.

The Dem districts were split into two categories, with a first tier of very competitive districts such as Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), and Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA); and a second tier of somewhat less competitive seats such as Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL), Rep. John Hall (D-NY), and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA). And in both categories, the Republicans were running head, thanks to a lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters and a widespread frustration with incumbents.

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Jon Stewart was not convinced last night that Alvin Greene was a plant by the Republicans to win the Democratic primary in South Carolina. "Y'all voted for him!" he exclaimed. "This is the political equivalent of running yourself a warm bath, falling asleep next to it with your hand in the tub, wetting yourself, and then blaming the Republicans."

Stewart added that he thinks Greene is qualified to be Senator, though "most senators don't sexually harass college girls until they're elected."

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The Republican consultant at the heart of accusations of mischief in the South Carolina Democratic primary said in an interview he worked for a Democratic candidate because he opposed higher taxes and seemed qualified to serve in Congress.

Preston Grisham, a longtime campaign operative for Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), said his new firm Stonewall Strategies was just getting its first clients together when Gregory Brown gave him a call out of the blue to ask for some help with his primary campaign against House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC). Though the nearly $24,000 in payments (the largest expense for the Brown campaign) are listed as for "marketing," both Grisham and Brown said Stonewall did initial polling and helped Brown set up his Web site. (It was housed here last week but now is a dead link.)

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As if we needed any evidence, the new Rasmussen poll of South Carolina gives Republican Sen. Jim DeMint a wide lead over the surprise Democratic nominee Alvin Greene.

The numbers: DeMint 58%, Greene 21%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. The poll also finds 62% of likely voters giving DeMint a favorable rating, with 25% unfavorable, compared to a 20%-51% rating for Greene.

Greene won last week's Democratic primary with 60%, over the establishment's choice of former judge Vic Rawl, despite having not actively campaigned. Neither candidate was known by the voters, and Greene may have benefited from being listed in the first position on the ballot. After the primary, it was revealed that Greene was arrested last November on an obscenity charge for allegedly showing pornography to a college student. He has refused calls by the Democratic Party to drop out.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is sending national money and resources to help state Sen. Mike Oliverio -- a tea party-endorsed conservative -- get elected to Congress as a Democrat in West Virginia's 1st district. Oliverio (D) defeated incumbent Rep. Allan Mollohan (D) in the May 11 primary, a race that saw the DCCC take him on and Mollohan question his Democratic credentials in part because he proposed a one-percent across the board cut to the federal budget.

But that's all over now. The national Democrats, whose candidate in the primary just finished calling Oliverio "dangerous," are now touting their nominee as the future of party control of the district. The DCCC has placed Oliverio on its "Red To Blue" list -- a group of candidates the party thinks are most likely to flip a Republican seat to Democratic hands or win an open seat contest. (The DCCC says WV-01 counts as open because, well, Oliverio defeated the Democratic incumbent it used to back.)

Making nice goes both ways in the race. Oliverio has embraced his new establishment friends by, among other things, a promise to vote for whomever the party chooses as its leader on Capitol Hill (read: Speaker Pelosi) and welcoming the influx of DCCC cash and advice.

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BP And Other Oil Companies Face Grilling In Congress Top oil company executives will testify today at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as they face new potential new regulations and oversight by the federal government. BP America head Lamar McKay will appear before the committee, along with executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive a briefing at 10:15 a.m. ET with Adm. Thad Allen and local officials in Pensacola Beach, Florida, on efforts to fight the BP oil spill. He will deliver remarks at a 12:10 p.m. ET event with military personnel. He will depart from Pensacola at 1:15 p.m. ET, arriving at Andrews Air Force Base at 3:15 p.m. ET and the White House at 3:30 p.m. ET. He will address the nation from the Oval Office at 8 p.m. ET.

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John Haggerty, a New York Republican political operative who was indicted Monday for allegedly stealing $1.1 million from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign, was hired recently by gubernatorial candidate and TPM favorite Carl Paladino.

Paladino is the Tea Party candidate whose campaign took a beating after revelations that he regularly sent racist and sexually explicit emails to friends. It took so much of a beating, in fact, that delegates at the recent NY GOP convention voted that he not be allowed to speak.

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