TPM News

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper are separating after four decades of marriage. They just celebrated their 40th anniversary two weeks ago.

The Gores called the separation "a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together."

The news was first reported by Politico and confirmed by a Gore spokeswoman.

The couple made the announcement in an "Email from Al and Tipper Gore."

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Senate candidate Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today is going live with his first television ads of the election, following a rough few weeks of press from exaggerating his military record on several occasions. The three soft, 30-second spots focus on Connecticut residents Blumenthal has helped over his career and attempt to exploit a new poll showing he outranks his rival Linda McMahon (R-CT) on measures of "character," a campaign source said.

TPMDC obtained the new ads from a campaign source today. They show a family Blumenthal helped get insurance coverage, and a man with Leukemia who Blumenthal helped receive a needed operation. The ad below features an Ellington, Connecticut resident who had her home destroyed in a fire. Blumenthal's office helped her negotiate with her insurance company and a firm helping remove the debris of her home.

The tag line is "For Connecticut. First. Last. Always." The ads will rotate on Nutmeg State television. The TPM Poll Average of this race has Blumenthal leading McMahon 52.2 percent-37.7 percent.

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The politically powerful union SEIU has a new ad attacking Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the June 8 Arkansas Democratic primary runoff, going after Lincoln's vote for the TARP bailout.

"Blanche Lincoln claims she's standing firm against Wall Street. But Lincoln voted to use our tax dollars to bail out Wall Street banks," the announcer says. This is a clear effort to discredit Lincoln's current work on financial reform, and to leverage the TARP issue that already helped to unseat Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) at his state GOP convention.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Lt. Gov. Bill Halter a lead of 47.3%-44.7%.

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President Obama said in the Rose Garden this afternoon that the Gulf Coast oil spill is "the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history" -- and offered assurances that his administration will enact the necessary reforms to make sure nothing like it happens again.

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Americans don't know what to think about the way President Obama is handling the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico according to a new national poll released by Quinnipiac University today. The poll, conducted last week, confirms a trend that shows the public is increasingly wary of the White House's response to the still-spewing deep water oil spill.

The new Q poll shows 39% of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the Gulf crisis, while 42% disapprove. The poll was conducted May 19-24 and has a margin of error of 2.2%

The TPM Poll Average of Obama's handling of the spill shows 39.2% approve while 55.2% disapprove. The trend line shows that as the spill has continued, public support for Obama's handling of it has dipped.

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Former President Bill Clinton stars in a new radio ad for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who is in a heated Democratic primary runoff against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in Clinton's native state of Arkansas.

"We've never had a Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee before, and we shouldn't give it up now," says Clinton. "In Washington everybody was betting Wall Street would beat her efforts to clean up trading practices that led our country to the brink of economic collapse, but they were wrong, she won that fight. And, when President Obama needed her help on health care reform she stood with him to secure health coverage and better and more affordable care. She took a lot of heat for that vote, but you and I know she did the right thing."

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who is in a heated Democratic primary runoff for June 8 with the more liberal Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, has a new pair of TV and radio ads for the home stretch of the campaign -- proudly declaring her independence from the labor unions that have backed her opponent.

"I'm Blanche Lincoln, and I know you're angry at Washington. Believe me, I heard you on May 18. I'm even being attacked for where my family lives," Lincoln says in the TV ad, referring to the first-round primary in which she came in first place with 45%, but with less than the 50% needed to win. She is also apparently referring to the Halter campaign's gloating over Lincoln's initial trouble voting in the primary, after she had sent away for an absentee ballot and had not mailed it back. "But I won't back down to the Washington unions or the Wall Street banks that don't care about Arkansas."

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BP, struggling to maintain its image while taking responsibility for the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, has hired someone new to head its American public relations operation: Anne Womack-Kolton, the former campaign press secretary for Vice President Dick Cheney.

Womack-Kolton ran Cheney's press shop during the 2004 campaign, and worked as an assistant press secretary in 2000. She was also an assistant in the White House press office.

She begins today, the BP press office tells TPM.

In the private sector, she's worked for the Brunswick Group and APCO Worldwide.

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