TPM News

Appearing over the weekend on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Rep.-elect Allen West (R-FL) stood by talk radio host Joyce Kaufman, who almost became his chief of staff but withdrew as a result on media coverage of her various controversial remarks -- and, he added, she interviewed his actual incoming chief of staff for him.

Wallace: Congressman West, you chose and we can now put her picture up on the screen, a radio talk show host, Joyce Kaufman, as your chief of staff. But when it came out that she had called Nancy Pelosi "garbage" and told a Tea Party rally, "if balance don't work, bullets will," she stepped down. What did you learn from that whole experience?

West: Well, I think first of all what you saw was an attack from the left against Joyce Kaufman -- and there are some other issues with that -- but they did not play the full clip of her speech when she gave that, I think it was the 4th of July. So once again, it was the editing sound bite.

And I didn't learn anything from it, because you just adjust and you continue on. So Joyce Kaufman was a very instrumental and helpful person in our campaign, and she was the one that interviewed our current chief of staff, because she knows the good match.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was one of the few establishment Republicans out there to suggest -- even slightly -- that the new tea party emperors of the GOP might have no clothes. But now, after the tea party wave washed what was left of Republican moderation to the political fringe, Graham is changing his tune. Those tea partiers he was skeptical of just a few months ago? Turns out they rule.

Back in the hot and sticky days of July 2010, Graham -- who at the time was fashioning himself into the next GOP Senate maverick -- had some straight talk for the tea party:

"It will die out," he told the New York Times.

Why? "The problem with the Tea Party, I think it's just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country," Graham said.

What a difference a string of tea party-fueled Republican primary upsets can make, it seems.

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After the outbreak of Islamophobia in 2010, CBS news anchor Katie Couric thinks she has a solution: "Maybe we need a Muslim version of The Cosby Show."

In a round-table discussion with Politico's Jonathan Martin, comedian Mo Rocca and's Sheryl Huggins-Salomon, Couric said "the bigotry expressed against Muslims in this country has been one of the most disturbing stories to surface this year."

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A congressman-elect from Arizona has hired a retired Wasilla dentist closely tied to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his chief of staff.

Rep.-elect Paul Gosar (R-AZ), himself a dentist, hired Rob Robinson as his top aide, Roll Call reports today. Palin endorsed Gosar after Robinson, a political friend of hers, introduced them.

Both Gosar and Robinson are members of the American Dental Association and served together on the organization's governmental affairs council. Robinson moved to Arizona last year to work as Gosar's campaign manager.

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At the same time that the Justice Department is reportedly looking at options for prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the FBI raided a Texas business as part of a criminal probe into a computer attack against the enemies of WikiLeaks, the Smoking Gun reported last week.

FBI agents seized a computer server that they believed was used to launch a massive electronic attack on PayPal, which cut off payments to WikiLeaks to the dismay of its supporters, according to an FBI affidavit.

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As you might know, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has said she was inspired as a young woman to morph into a Republican when she became disgusted while reading a Gore Vidal novel -- but which one?

As we reported, Bachmann spoke last week to Michigan Republicans, and told the story of how she had grown up as a Democrat -- and even danced at Jimmy Carter's inaugural ball! -- but had become a Republican when she read the "snotty" Gore Vidal novel Burr, which satirized the Founding Fathers.

But as it turns out, a Nexis search shows that Bachmann has told this story before -- and sometimes mentioned a different novel by the same author.

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The so-called "Nostradamus" of the Middle East, Michel Hayek, has some grave predictions for President Barack Obama in the new year.

Speaking during a live broadcast on New Year's Eve for the 26th year in a row, he predicted Obama will face problems in 2011 "never faced by previous presidents," but reportedly did not offer any specifics. Millions tuned into the broadcast, according to The National, .

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In 2006 and 2007, Navy Capt. Owen Honors, now the commander of the USS Enterprise, made a series of videos using Navy equipment and showed them to the 6,000 sailors on his ship. In the videos, the then-executive officer of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier calls his "alternate personality" a "fag," shows two women showering and drops the F-bomb many, many times.

After a series of complaints from those who found the "XO Movie Nights" offensive, his higher-ups told him to cut it out. But he was apparently never officially disciplined.

Now, with selections from the weekly videos published by the Virginian-Pilot newspaper over the weekend, the Navy says it is investigating the videos.

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Despite two years of Tea Party-fueled Republican internal upheaval, one of the leading establishment GOP voices on Capitol Hill says the man leading the Republican presidential nomination race is the guy who came in second to John McCain last time around.

Asked on Meet The Press yesterday who's ahead in the nascent GOP nomination fight, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was pretty direct.

"Probably Romney," Graham said, referring to former Massachusetts Gov. and American exceptionalist Mitt Romney.

Like most of the names being bandied about as potential Obama opponents, Romney has yet to officially declare his 2012 intentions. But Romney is widely seen as laying a frontrunner's foundation for a second presidential campaign, building on the name ID (and Democratic fears) he built in the 2008 nomination fight, which he lost to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Two years ago, many said that Romney would have been the stronger nominee to face Obama, what with his central-casting presidential looks and history of winning over blue state voters with moderate stances. But before he can attempt to prove that theory right, Romney has to make it past tea party voters who don't seem too interested in him and social conservatives who seem to have moved on. But Romney's got the infrastructure and, Graham says, the early momentum.

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