TPM News

Missouri state Sen. Gary Nodler, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the open seat of GOP Rep. Roy Blunt, has offered up an argument for keeping the ban on gays in the military: That allowing gays to serve openly would endanger the troops, by offending the people of the Muslim countries where we are fighting.

"There are real-world implications," Nodler said, according to columnist Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "This is a policy that would directly threaten the lives of soldiers today." Nodler also called the presence of gay troops a "cultural affront" to Muslim countries.

Messenger construed this as meaning: "Sen. Gary Nodler doesn't want to offend the terrorists." Nodler clarified what he meant to Messenger, explaining that he is not sympathizing with terrorists, but with the native populations in these countries. "I don't care what the Taliban thinks about it and I don't care what Al-Qaeda thinks about it," said Nodler. "I do care what Iraqi-allied commanders think about it with American forces integrated into their units."

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters this afternoon that President Obama will sign a bill raising the debt ceiling and instituting PAYGO today.

Gibbs did not say whether the signing would be open to the press.

The legislation will raise the government's debt limit $1.9 trillion, to $14.3 trillion. It also re-institutes PAYGO, which requires that all legislation be paid for, either through tax increases or spending cuts.

Senate candidate Carly Fiorina blamed politicians in Washington when asked to clear up her suggestion that California file for bankruptcy, and said the "simple" solution to the Golden State's economic woes is to grow the economy and cut spending.

Fiorina (R-CA) has been the subject of mocking from both parties for the remarks she made earlier this week to business leaders, with her rivals for the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Barbara Boxer saying it shows her lack of political experience.

Yesterday a radio host in Fresno asked Fiorina - who was chief executive of Hewlett Packard until a few years ago - what she really meant.

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Connecticut liberals rejoice: Ned Lamont is back. The man who turned Joe Lieberman into an independent in 2006 will officially throw his hat into the 2010 gubernatorial race next week, according to the AP.

A Lamont run to replace retiring Gov. Jodi Rell (R) has been rumored for months, but the official announcement will likely kick Lamont fans into high gear. Polling has shown Lamont leading potential Republican opponents, but tied in the field of potential Democratic nominees.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential presidential candidate, will be visiting New Hampshire next month, bringing the retiring Minnesota governor to the site of the country's first primary contest.

Pawlenty posted this announcement on his Facebook page: "The Manchester Republican Committee invited me to keynote their Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner on March 25. I'm glad to do it -- it's a great event that will help Republicans win in 2010. Can any Granite Staters tell me when the ice-out is? Would be fun to also play some hockey while I'm there."

The conventional wisdom is that a candidate from Minnesota would have a regional advantage in Iowa, as opposed to New Hampshire. But perhaps the weather-card could win Pawlenty some points here.

Authorities have served subpoenas to New York officials as part of an investigation into a non-profit group co-founded by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), which reportedly cannot account for money it collected to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The focus of the U.S. Attorney's investigation into the Queens-based New Direction Local Development Corporation -- which was founded in Feb. 2001 "by the initiatives of congressman Gregory Meeks and [state] senator Malcolm Smith," according to its Web site -- is not totally clear.

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the number two Democratic leader is getting behind a plan to end the filibuster as we know it, according to a new report from Greg Sargent.

Sargent reports that Durbin is "throwing his weight behind" a plan to fundamentally alter filibuster rules proposed by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The plan, unveiled yesterday, would create a series of votes that would mean filibusters could eventually be broken by a simple majority vote.

Durbin's endorsement of the plan shows support for the change could be growing among Senate Democrats, though, as the Washington Post reported yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already said the changes Harkin and Shaheen have proposed would be impossible to implement.

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Sarah Palin will be visiting Florida this weekend, and will also be making another appearance there next month -- but the media are not allowed to cover these events, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Palin will attend the Daytona 500 this weekend, and on Sunday will give a speech to the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner. On March 12, she will speak to the Orange County Republican Committee's Lincoln Day Dinner. Tickets to the Daytona event, which is sold out, cost $150. The Orange County event has a ticket price of $250.

The media is not allowed in, and audio or video recording equipment are not allowed; if reporters do wish to see the speech, they would have to buy tickets, and take notes on paper. These conditions were set by Palin's agents, not by the sponsors. "These are the terms of the contract that were presented to us," said Orange County Republican Party Chairman Lew Oliver.

Angela McGlowan, a conservative commentator on Fox News who is now seeking the Republican nomination to run against Rep. Travis Childers (D-MS), is finding herself having to apologize for implying that she might have been in favor of gun registration.

McGlowan was attacked by Red State on Wednesday for having said during a radio show appearance last year, "I think the government has the right to know what guns are in the homes." McGlowan's seeming advocacy of the government knowing about guns -- separate from the question of restricting them -- put her on the defensive.

McGlowan released a statement yesterday, stating that she was simply playing devil's advocate. "I'm a conservative, pro-life, pro-gun, anti tax-and-spend Mississippi Republican who is deeply committed to the 2nd Amendment and unequivocally opposed to any government attempt to infringe on the right of law abiding Mississippians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution," McGlowan says.

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