TPM News

Michael Steele's chairmanship of the RNC has been under scrutiny after revelations of problematic spending (like that staffer who spent $2,000 at a bondage-themed club) -- but Steele thinks it's the Democrats that need to account for themselves.

Steele sent out a fundraising e-mail today encouraging supporters to send President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid a "Taxpayers' Audit."

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Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor and ex-Bush administration Secretary of Health and Human Services, is set to announce tomorrow just whether or not he will run for Senate against incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold, his spokesman confirms to TPM.

It was reported this morning by WTMJ radio in Milwaukee that Thompson had decided against a run -- but then Thompson himself denied it, saying he had not made any decision. Thompson spokesman Jason Denby told TPMDC: "The accurate report is that he had a call last night with his close confidantes. And at the time, at the end of the call, he was undecided completely. He is going to give a speech tomorrow at this rally, this Tea party rally in Madison. And by the end of the speech, he'll have laid out his decision. So he's kind of finalizing everything in his head, whichever way he's leaning today."

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Senate Democrats, guided by the White House, wasted little time responding to Republican opposition to their financial regulatory reform proposal. A day after GOP came out swinging against a bill authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, Democrats had a simple message for the minority: your time is running out. This touches off a game of chicken over the first big issue Congress will address after health care reform. And the question of whether the two parties can reach agreement over a growing number of disagreements remains in serious doubt.

This morning, Dodd took the the Senate floor to sound the warning to the GOP. "My patience is running out," he bellowed after issuing a withering critique of Republican leaders for grounding their opposition to his reform bill in a political strategy memo authored by conservative strategist Frank Luntz. Dodd has been negotiating with his counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), but those talks may not last much longer.

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The Birther Army doctor who is reportedly facing a court martial for refusing orders is getting crucial assistance from an ex-congressional staffer and Bush Administration vet with a colorful past as well as from a charitable foundation that was founded in 2003 by a Republican senator, originally to aid the families of slain soldiers.

When Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin announced in a YouTube video late last month that he would refuse to deploy to Afghanistan until President Obama produced a birth certificate, the news spread thanks to a PR operation by a virtually unknown group called the American Patriot Foundation.

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Was the news about Virginia governor Bob McDonnell's move to make it harder for felons to vote all just a big misunderstanding? That's what he's now claiming.

A spokesman for the governor, a Republican, told the Washington Post that letters sent to over 200 felons, telling them that they would now have to submit an essay as part of the application process -- a process that previously had been almost automatic -- were sent in error, and that the essay idea was just a "draft policy proposal."

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