TPM News

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) says his ruling that police can ask the immigration status of people pulled over for routine stops is nothing out of the norm. As TPM detailed yesterday, Cuccinelli is standing with Arizona, telling a state lawmaker in a letter that police have the authority to check immigration status.

He was asked about it last night on Fox News, and said the immigration issue has "blossomed again" in the wake of Arizona's law, which he supported.

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If people should have to wait through those pesky background checks before they can buy a gun (provided they don't have the time to drive to the nearest gun show that is), Congress should have a waiting period before it passes legislation. That's Rand Paul's stance, anyway.

In an appearance on Hannity last night, Paul bravely answered tough questions about how great he is from softball pitcher and former Alan Colmes co-host Sean Hannity. It was during talk about the 1994 Contract With America -- both men seemed to agree it was a good thing -- that Paul suggested that if liberals want conservatives to agree that gun laws should be enforced, they ought to be fine with the idea of vetting all laws through some kind of Constitutional litmus test presumably administered by Paul and his allies if and when he makes it to the Senate.

"They tell me you need to wait to buy a gun," Paul said. "I tell them they need to wait before they pass legislation, read the bills."

"Pretty good line," Hannity said in response.

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A vote on approving $1.15 billion for the Pigford settlement, scheduled for last night, has been delayed. Senate Democrats expect to vote tomorrow instead.

Congress, especially the Senate, has struggled to authorize money for the Pigford settlement, which grants restitution to African-American farmers discriminated against by the USDA.

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The GOP push to change the Constitution to eliminate so-called birthright citizenship is already causing problems for some of its own members. Case in point: John McCain.

In the final moments of a morning press conference about the stimulus, cohosted by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), McCain asked for one final question from reporters...which happened to be about the 14th amendment and birthright citizenship. McCain abruptly ended the press conference.

"We're talking about the stimulus right now," McCain said, before darting off to the elevators down the hall from the Senate studio, where he again declined to take a question. Reporters eventually caught up with McCain in the basement of the Capitol, where he was walking toward to the man-operated train connecting the Senate with the Russell office building.

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Sharron Angle has a plan if she defeats Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and is elected to the Senate: Filibuster Democratic initiatives.

"I guarantee that I can talk most anything to death," she said.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports:

Angle said that as a junior senator she could wield power by joining Republicans to block tax hikes, excess regulation and spending bills, and Supreme Court nominees who don't meet a strict constitutional test, including Elena Kagan.

"There are certain things that can be done just by your junior senator," Angle said, explaining that even if Republicans remain in the minority after 2010, she could filibuster, which allows lone lawmakers to delay legislation through lengthy debate. "I guarantee that I can talk most anything to death."

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a lead of 44.3%-42.6%.

(Via Greg Sargent.)

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has added his voice to those who are speaking out against the construction of a Muslim community center in downtown New York, close to Ground Zero, an issue that has become a major cause on the right.

During an interview on the Don Imus show today, Lieberman was asked what he thought of the project. "Well, I guess I'd say I'm troubled by it. But I don't know enough to say it ought to be prohibited. But frankly I've heard enough about it, and read enough about it, that I wish someone in New York would just put the brakes on it for a while and take a look at this.

"If -- obviously in our country we give a special status to people wanting to build houses or worship. And we don't consider what religion it is. So that's what we start with, and what makes this an awkward conversation. On the other hand, if the people building this large Islamic center are just looking to build a large facility and house of worship and center in New York, why so close to 9/11, with all the sensitivity associated with that? If they're doing it so close 9/11 to try to bridge the gap and do outreach, as some have said, it obviously hasn't worked, as a lot of the people who lost family and friends on 9/11 are unhappy with it and troubled by it.

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Republicans know they could retake the House of Representatives. But, they say, they're reluctant to adopt a complete legislative agenda until they complete a nationwide listening session -- part of their new America Speaking Out initiative, which included a listening session with the nation's top corporate lobbyists.

They've tipped their hand just a bit recently, however. America Speaking Out allowed voters to suggest, in brief, some policy prescriptions they hope the GOP will back. In a recent web video, House Republicans picked 20 of their favorites. Many of them will be familiar to anyone who paid attention to the GOP agenda for the last decade. Some of them Republicans liked so much they picked them twice... verbatim.

"The Government needs to enact a balance [sic] budget amendment so that the government can finally learn to live and need speed [sic] more than what we have," writes Republican1988. (This would, of course, make extending the Bush tax cuts nearly impossible.)

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Democrat Elaine Marshall is gaining ground on Republican Sen. Richard Burr in North Carolina's Senate race, a new poll shows. A PPP (D) survey (PDF) released today finds Burr with a thin lead over Marshall, 39%-37%. PPP's previous survey of the race from late June showed Burr ahead five points, 38%-33%.

PPP isn't the only pollster to find Marshall closing in on Burr. SurveyUSA polls from July 11 and July 25 show Burr's 10-point lead on the 11th shrinking to three points on the 25th.

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Sharron Angle has further expounded on her strategy of courting conservative media and avoiding more mainstream sources -- it's not just about money, as she's said before, but also about only being asked the questions she wants.

"We needed to have the press be our friend," Angle said in an interview that aired on Fox over the weekend.

"Wait a minute. Hold on a second. To be your friend?" said a disbelieving Carl Cameron. Before Angle could fully answer, he added: "That sounds naive." Apparently this was too much for even him.

"Well, no," said Angle. "We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported."

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