TPM News

Has Ken Cuccinelli miscalculated by standing on principle -- what principle that is, we're not too sure -- in refusing to give up donations from an apparent scam artist?

To recap: The second largest individual contributor to Cuccinelli's campaign for Virginia attorney general last year was Bobby Thompson, a Florida man who is the founder of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, and who donated $55,500 to Cuccinelli.

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This is fun: In light of Rand Paul's decision today to back out of his scheduled appearance on Meet the Press, it's worth looking back to his father Rep. Ron Paul's appearance on the show in 2007 -- in which Ron Paul came out against the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the very same grounds that have gotten Rand Paul into such a mess this week.

Asked by then-host Tim Russert if he would have voted for the landmark legislation, Paul said he would have opposed it "If it were written the same way, where the federal government's taken over property--has nothing to do with race relations." He continued: "it has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with the Constitution and private property rights."

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has withdrawn his subpoena of Twitter, through which he had been seeking information on the identity of a blogger who was attacking him.

State prosecutors in the Brett Cott case said today, after Cott was sentenced to five years in prison, that the subpoena is no longer necessary. In a memo given to the judge before sentencing, they had argued that Cott should receive a stiffer sentence, in part because he had used the blog "to deflect blame and deny responsibility for his criminal conduct, and to attack and malign the investigative and prosecutorial process which resulted in his conviction."

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National Democrats are gearing up to lose a perennially left-leaning district that the GOP hasn't been able to win since 1988, with the HI-01 special election coming to an end on Saturday. The reason for the loss? Two Democrats are vying for the seat and splitting the vote, allowing for the Republican challenger to sneak in and win.

The loss of the Honolulu-based district will be particularly embarrassing it was the birthplace of President Obama, and he carried it with 70% of the vote in 2008. (John Kerry won 52% of the vote there in 2004 and Al Gore took 55% in 2000.) The seat first became open when Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie announced in December that he would resign, in order to focus full time on his campaign for governor. It immediately became clear that there could be a split Democratic vote. The key here is that there is only one Republican running, Honolulu councilman Charles Djou, and two Democrats, former Rep. Ed Case and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa.

Hawaii special elections for the House do not work like they usually do in other states, where candidates either compete in separate party primaries, or the parties select their candidates through an internal party process. Instead, a single-round election is held in which all the candidates appear together on one ballot, and whoever gets a plurality wins the election. The election has been conducted entirely by mail, and will end tomorrow.

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At the end of a rocky week, newly chosen Senate nominee Rand Paul (R-KY) has canceled a planned interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" citing exhaustion. It's only the third cancellation from a major guest in 62 years, the show's Executive Producer Betsy Fischer said in an interview this afternoon.

"It is a big deal when somebody cancels an appearance," she said.

Fischer and host David Gregory have been attempting to convince Paul's press secretary and campaign manager since the Paul camp scrapped the interview this afternoon. They first arranged the Sunday show interview on Wednesday after he won the party nomination Tuesday night. Fischer said Paul's press secretary said he was exhausted.

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Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released the following statement today on financial reform:

The Congressional Republicans' record to date in support of Wall Street over Main Street is clear. After meeting with industry lobbyists to kill the bill, every single House Republican voted against the legislation.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

• CBS, Face The Nation: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), BP managing director Bob Dudley.

• Fox News Sunday: Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

• NBC, Meet The Press: Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), Senate nominee Rand Paul (R-KY), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Late Update: Rand Paul has canceled his Meet The Press appearance, citing exhaustion.

They are doing it live--at least according to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank.

After a White House meeting with President Obama, and his Senate counterpart Chris Dodd today, Frank told reporters that no changes will be made to Wall Street reform legislation during final negotiations behind closed doors.

"We will have a conference, I think, that will work well. It will be conducted, the formal parts, in public," Frank said. "That means that no agreements reached, no compromises, which obviously are being discussed, will be made part of anything without being publicly presented and voted on and discussed."

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