TPM News

A lawyer for the Blackwater contractors charged last week with killing two men in Kabul says his clients were thrown under the bus by a company desperate to preserve its standing with the Afghan government, after another shooting case in Iraq led to a crackdown on its operations in that country.

Directly after the Kabul shooting last May, Blackwater went into crisis mode, Attorney Daniel Callahan tells TPMmuckraker. That same month, the company fired the two contractors who were charged last week, as well as two others who were involved in the incident, for violating the company's drinking policy.

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Correction: State Sen. Scott Brown did not use the word "unfamiliar," that was how the Boston Globe characterized his remarks. But after watching video of the press conference where Brown was asked about the tea party movement, it appears he actually was unclear about the premise of the reporter's question, not the tea party movement itself.

On Wednesday, Republican senate candidate Scott Brown told reporters in Massachusetts that he was "unfamiliar" with the "Tea Party movement," despite receiving the endorsement of a key national Tea Party group which is currently raising money for his campaign to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

But Brown's claim to be unfamiliar with the Tea Party movement is belied by photographs produced by his own campaign.

Late this evening, TPM Reader NM alerted us to the fact that Brown's official campaign Flickr stream contains photographs of the candidate addressing Tea Party groups on the campaign trail only months ago.

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White House officials tell TPMDC tonight that President Obama and Congressional leaders worked through "all aspects" of the health care bill after more than eight hours of meetings. But they aren't over, and officials say White House staffers will keep meeting with members of Congress in the coming days.

Officials said the members attending were Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. Jim Clyburn, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Charlie Rangel, Rep. Henry Waxman, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Max Baucus, Sen. Chris Dodd, and Sen. Tom Harkin, all Democrats with key roles in the health care negotiations that started this summer and are nearing a conclusion.

Also attending the meeting, which ran from 10:30 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. and included lunch in the Cabinet Room, were White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Legislative Affairs Liaison Phil Schiliro, and health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle.

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Republican State Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has another national supporter on his side - conservative darling Marco Rubio (R-FL), who calls next week's Senate race in Massachusetts "extremely important."

Rubio, who is challenging Gov. Charlie Crist in a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, has earned attention from national conservatives who think he is the right kind of candidate to help the party reclaim power. Rubio asks his supporters to back Brown through fundraising and volunteer phone calls because the Republican candidate "represents the vote we need to stop the radical Obama-Reid-Pelosi government health care hijacking now being plotted in Washington."

The full email after the jump.

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Harold Ford, Jr., may say he's been a New Yorker for the last three years, but voting registration records show he registered to vote there just three months ago.

As far as his native Tennessee is concerned, his "home" is a 1-bedroom apartment in Memphis. Elections officials in Ford's former hometown told the Memphis Commercial Appeal their records list Ford's primary residence as 415 S. Front St, Unit 12 in downtown Memphis. Ford voted early in 2008 in Shelby County and used his Memphis address to do it, according to the records. Ford has said he moved to New York City in 2006 and has since registered to vote there.

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These images were provided by Daniel Callahan, an attorney for the Blackwater contractors charged with murder in the May 5, 2009, shooting in Kabul. Callahan says they were taken around May 20 when the vehicle was in a police holding area near the crash site.

Photo provided by Daniel Callahan





Photo provided by Daniel Callahan





Photo provided by Daniel Callahan





Photo provided by Daniel Callahan





Photo provided by Daniel Callahan

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- the Dems' campaign arm for House races -- is denying an allegation from a right-wing blogger that they are spending money on the Senate race in Massachusetts.

Earlier today, Erick Erickson alleged that the DCCC had purchased advertising for the Senate race, declaring it "rather unheard of" and stating that it had campaign finance implications. "Why would House Democrats be spending their precious resources on someone running for the United States Senate?" Erickson wrote. "Because they know it would destroy Nancy Pelosi's agenda to have Scott Brown in the Senate."

"The DCCC did not purchase any advertising for this Senate race," DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer told TPMDC. The DCCC did send out an e-mail to its supporter list, asking people to sign up to volunteer for Democratic candidate Martha Coakley. However, there is no link to donate money to Coakley, and the DCCC says they've not bought advertising.

Conservatives are up in arms over an incident last night in which a Weekly Standard reporter who was pursuing Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley ended up on the ground -- with ripped pants -- after an altercation with a Coakley aide.

Here's what seem to have happened, based on video of the incident, and several written accounts, including one by the reporter himself:

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Correction: State Sen. Scott Brown did not use the word "unfamiliar," that was how the Boston Globe characterized his remarks. But after watching video of the press conference where Brown was asked about the tea party movement, it appears he actually was unclear about the premise of the reporter's question, not the tea party movement itself.

State Sen. Scott Brown told reporters in Massachusetts today he was "unfamiliar" with the "Tea Party movement," despite earning the endorsement from one of the groups who is raising money for his campaign to win the U.S. Senate seat Tuesday.

According to the Boston Globe, Brown called himself a "Scott Brown Republican" that shouldn't be labeled conservative, liberal or moderate.

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LiveWire

Obama Prepares For DHS Shutdown

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama convened a meeting with key administration officials on Friday…