TPM News

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll finds that a third of Georgia Republicans approve of the idea of seceding from the United States.

The pollster asked: "Do you think Georgia would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America?" The top-line here is United States 68%, independence 27% -- but among Republicans, it's a closer U.S. 52%, independence 43%.

Respondents were then asked: "Would you approve or disapprove of Georgia leaving the United States?" Here the overall answer is approve 18%, disapprove 76% -- but among Republicans, it's approve 32%, disapprove 63%.

Look on the bright side: The Union cause is actually much stronger among Republicans here than it is in Texas, where a previous poll showed Texas GOPers evenly divided on independence, and a majority approving of Gov. Rick Perry's suggestions about seceding.

As we try to figure out just how concerned to be about swine flu (yeah, we're still calling it that, even if Obama won't), the key indicator we're all looking at is the scale of the outbreak in Mexico, where all this appears to have begun (though that's no longer certain (sub. req.)).

But the Mexican government has used several different metrics to gauge that question. And the numbers, of course, have been been constantly shifting in the last few days as the situation changes. So we thought we'd try to clear up the confusion by briefly laying out what the different numbers are, and what they mean.

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Here's a weird gambit from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

As my colleague Eric Kleefeld reported earlier this week, the NRSC is running an anti-Arlen Specter robocall in Pennsylvania meant to create a chasm between the new Democrat and the voters who will select the party's nominee in the 2010 Senate race. You can listen to that call here.

But that's not the full extent of their shenanigans. They're also running a vaguely pro-Specter (but anti-Sestak) robocall at the exact same time. Take a look.

So what's the play here? That, should Sestak run, the first robocall will result (or help result) in a Sestak nomination, and that the second robocall will drive independent voters away from Sestak over to Toomey? That's the only thing I can think of, but it seems like a stretch. Then again, this is the NRSC....

Transcript follows:

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Much of the day will no doubt be spent gaming the retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Is it good for Democrats? For Republicans? Who will Obama nominate? How quickly and ferociously will charges of socialism and judicial activism begin to fly? And would Specter have switched parties if he'd known that he'd have had a golden opportunity to obstruct an Obama Supreme Court appointee in order to shore up his right?

All worthy questions, but all impossible to answer. At least for now.

What I want to focus on is a bit deeper in the weeds, but could prove very important, and, for Republicans, a potential source of poetic justice. (No pun intended.)

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The AIPAC case -- which provided the backdrop for the current flap over Jane Harman's wiretapped conversation -- has been dropped, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

A source with intimate knowledge of the case against two ex-AIPAC staffers accused of passing along classified information says the case has been dropped.

Keith Weissman, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's former Iran analyst, and Steve Rosen, its former foreign policy chief, were charged under a rarely used section of the 1917 Espionage Act that makes it a crime for civilians to receive and distribute closely held defense information. Both men were later dismissed by AIPAC, with the organization claiming the two had violated its rules; Rosen, in turn has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against AIPAC.

Federal prosecutors reportedly had been considering dropping the criminal case in the wake of a number of recent judicial decisions that make the prosecution more difficult. Among these was an appeals court rejection of a prosecution request to review the trial judge's order that prosecutors make the case that the defendants harmed the United States and not merely benefited Israel. Some Democrats see the case as a piece with Bush-era efforts to expand government secrecy powers, but the Post quoted its sources as saying that the review would have occurred whether or not Barack Obama had won election as president.

More on this and its significance in a little while...

WaPo: Biden In Charge Of Search For SCOTUS Nominee The Washington Post reports that Vice President Biden has been tasked with with drawing up a list of potential Supreme Court nominees to replace Justice David Souter, whose retirement has not yet been officially announced but is widely reported to be a settled issue. Souter will reportedly step down after this current court term ends in June, effective upon confirmation of his successor. The next term begins in October.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will be meeting with his cabinet at 11:15 a.m. ET. AT 12 p.m. ET, he will have lunch with Vice President Biden, and it's not unreasonable to imagine that the Supreme Court will be a key topic of discussion. At 1 p.m. ET, he and Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano will attend a naturalization ceremony for active-duty service members, with Napolitano swearing them in as citizens and Obama presenting an Outstanding American by Choice Award. At 4:30 p.m. ET, he will attend a ceremonial swearing-in of Commerce Sec. Gary Lock and Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, with Biden delivering the oath of office.

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"If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing." ~Jack Abramoff, March 2006

Newscom/Roll Call/Zuma

Ralph Reed, boy-king of the Christian right. Killer quote, from a letter from Ralph to Jack, 1998: "I need to start humping in corporate accounts! . . . I'm counting on you to help me with some contacts." We're thinking James Spader or Kevin Bacon. Though for a sleaze factor, it's hard to beat Jason Bateman.


Grover Norquist, the President and Founder of the non-profit Americans for Tax Reform-- which he used to wash money for Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed. Though Phillip Seymour Hoffman seems ripe for the part, others have suggested Seth Rogen. Thoughts?


Abramoff business associate "Evil elf" Michael Scanlon. It looks like Hayden Christensen of Star Wars fame has been signed to play Scanlon. But we think they could do better. Tobey Maguire or Christopher Guest certainly deserve an audition.

Newscom/Roll Call

Former (indicted) Republican Congressman from Texas and Abramoff supporter Tom DeLay. Said Abramoff of Delay: "We would sit and talk about opera. We would sit and talk about golf." The fact is, Oliver Platt would make the perfect Delay, but ubiquitous character actor Spencer Garrett has reportedly already accepted the role.


Former senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) lost his 2006 bid for reelection most likely due to his close connections to Abramoff. Money quote: "I wouldn't know this Abramoff from a bale of hay." We're seeing Tom Wilkinson here.

Newscom/Roll Call

Former Rep. Bob Ney. Oops moment: stuffing his pockets with gambling chips in a London casino, a bribe from a Syrian businessman known as "The Fat Man." Drew Carey, anyone?


Former Congressman from California, John Doolittle. Jack Abramoff once referred to him as a "Hero." Oh, I don't know, maybe the guy who played Jerry Seinfeld's neighbor and nemesis Newman.


Steven Griles, the Former Deputy Interior Secretary and Italia Federici's lover. Brian Cox?

Newscom/Roll Call

Kevin Ring, the middleman between John Doolittle and John Abramoff from 2002 to 2004. Matthew Fox and Dennis Quaid could each play a good, though very different, Ring.


Italia Federici, the former president of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (and Griles' love interest), pleaded guilty in 2007 to tax evasion and obstruction of Congress for her connection to Jack Abramoff. Drew Barrymore?

Newscom/Roll Call

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) may be a lone critic of Sen. Arlen Specter among Pennsylvania Democrats and party leaders, but if he looks past his colleagues he'll find a natural (though perhaps convenient and temporary) friend in labor. For now, Sestak is sending warning shots at Specter, pressuring him to get with the program, and groups like AFL-CIO and SEIU are doing the exact same thing. Especially vis-a-vis issues like health care and employee free choice.

Officially, AFL-CIO say they "look forward to continuing an open and honest debate with Senator Specter about the issues that are important to Pennsylvania and America."

"Sen. Specter," they say, "has said all along that he recognizes the need to reform our broken labor law system and we will continue to work with Congress to give workers back the freedom to form and join unions and pass legislation that stays true to the principals of the Employee free Choice Act."

And their Pennsylvania president agrees.

But Stewart Acuff, AFL-CIO's Director of Organizing hasn't been so timid.

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