TPM News

Outside groups are making their presences felt in the closing days of the Colorado primaries as two new ad campaigns -- one attacking Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, the other praising Republican Jane Norton -- hit the airwaves.

One series of ads, sponsored by a 527 group called "New Leadership For Colorado," slams Bennet for voting to "bail out Wall Street" and for voting against benefits for seniors. The ads (which you can hear on the 527's website) are made to sound like news reports -- and that's not the only reason they're misleading:

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Vince McMahon, the chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is upset about the use of his franchise's content against his wife, former CEO Linda McMahon, in her campaign for the Republican nomination for Senate in Connecticut.

In an interview with the Associated Press last week, Vince McMahon said that critics have not mentioned the "soap opera elements" in the storylines that have led up to any objectionable moments. "Most of the people have not even seen our show. They don't even know what this business is about," said Vince McMahon. "They haven't been to a live event. They really haven't watched on television at all. All they've seen is like one little snippet and try to make up their minds as to whether or not it's acceptable programming."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Bringing The Smackdown: Linda McMahon's Campaign For Senate, And Her Colorful Pro-Wrestling Past]

Vince and Linda McMahon have both appeared on the show, playing fictionalized versions of themselves as the evil multi-millionaire bosses of the company, and even participated in the dramatized violence. For example, Vince was depicted forcing a female wrestler onto her knees and making her bark like a dog, while Linda has kicked a man in the groin -- the latter episode has even made its way into an ad by one of McMahon's GOP rivals, financial commentator Peter Schiff.

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Remember your college years? The test cramming, the questionable decisions when it came to alcohol, the even more questionable decisions when it came to dating? And who can forget that classic college prank -- the one where you kidnap a girl from the swim team, blindfold her, and try to force her to take bong hits before making her kneel in a creek and pray to "Aqua Buddha"?

What's that you say? You never tried that one? Well you must not have attended college with Rand Paul.

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The House ethics committee today announced the specific charges against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), accusing her of improperly using her office to help a bank in which her husband owned stock.

The list of charges, called a statement of alleged violation, details three rules Waters allegedly broke: one, that members must "reflect creditably on the House;" two, that members may not "receive compensation" by improperly using their Congressional influence; and three, that members should never "dispense special favors" or "accept for himself or his family favors or benefits."

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BP and the Justice Department announced today that BP has made its first contribution into the $20 billion escrow fund which will pay claims related to the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

BP's first payment was $3 billion.

In a press release, BP spelled out its payment plan: $3 billion today, $2 billion at the end of the year, and $1.25 billion per quarter from then on.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is not taking it easy going into his August 24 primary. In fact, has a new attack ad going after former Rep. J.D. Hayworth's links to the Jack Abramoff scandal.

"Congressman J.D. Hayworth did favors for the infamous Jack Abramoff and his friends," the announcer says. "He received $150,000 from Abramoff and his clients. John McCain exposed the Abramoff scandal. Jack went to prison, and most politicians gave back all the tainted money. But not J.D. He kept the money. John McCain -- character matters."

The TPM Poll Average gives McCain a lead of 53.6%-32.1%. The Republican primary will be held on August 24.

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Democratic Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has a new ad in his state's Senate race, combining two key narratives: He's g after Republican Congressman Mark Kirk for being a liar, and for being tied to former President George W. Bush.

The ad begins with news snippets of Kirk's embellished statements about his military record, along with the condemnations that he had received from newspapers. "Now, typical Washington politician Kirk is lying about Alexi Giannoulias in ads denounced as smears," the announcer says. "In D.C. 20 years, Kirk voted for the Bush policies that wrecked the economy, and then said unemployment's not a 'big issue.'"

The TPM Poll Average gives Kirk a very narrow edge of 41.1%-40.6%.

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They say all politics is local, and it seems that in the race for the Republican nomination for New York governor, candidates Carl Paladino and Rick Lazio are taking that quite literally. As the September 14 primary approaches, Paladino and Lazio are devoting a whole lot of their attention to opposing the Cordoba House Muslim community center, which was cleared for construction a few blocks from Ground Zero last week.

So if this is a central issue of the Republican primary, the question then becomes: Who hates the "Ground Zero mosque" more? Let's look at the evidence...

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