TPM News

The controversial Arizona immigration bill signed into law last week was written in part by a conservative immigration law expert and Republican activist who's a former top aide to John Ashcroft, was recently hired by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and is running for statewide office.

Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, was brought in by far-right Arizona legislator Russell Pearce to help draft the legislation that critics are calling "a social and racial sin."

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Though the new immigration law she signed has led to criticism of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) around the world, a new poll from Rasmussen taken since the bill was signed shows that many people in her state are nothing but appreciative.

Brewer's job approval rating stands at 56% in the poll, a huge bounce from the last Rasmussen poll taken two weeks ago. That poll showed Brewer with a 40% approval rating.

Previous polling shows Brewer's approval rating well below the new Rasmussen numbers. The TPM Poll Average (including the new Rasmussen poll) shows Brewer with an approval rating of 46.3% and a disapproval rating of 43.4.

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U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin got an earful from AIDS activists at the Tribeca Film Fesitval premiere of a documentary about the HIV epidemic in Washington, D.C. At a panel following a screening of "The Other City" Monday, Benjamin was heckled as some in the audience said President Obama has done nothing to help the HIV problem.

Benjamin, sitting alongisde the flimmakers and people who appeared in the documentary, said Obama had done plenty. She noted his decision to lift the ban on HIV-positive foreign travel and how a major conference will be hosted in Washington in 2012. Obama chose Benjamin for the position in part because her own brother died from AIDS.

But as Benjamin spoke, Larry Kramer said everything Obama has done is "useless!"

"Where's your anger?" Kramer shouted at Benjamin from the audience. He also appeared briefly in the documentary, and is known for loud protests.

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Dem Battle Plan: Make GOP Vote On Financial Reform -- Over And Over Roll Call reports: "Senate Democrats think they have figured out how to go on offense against a united GOP intent on watering down and frustrating their agenda: Make them vote. Again, and again, and again, if need be. In what could be a template for the rest of the year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has taken off the gloves and forced Republicans into a corner on financial reform, putting the onus on them to explain to the public why they are voting repeatedly to block debate on the bill."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart at 10:30 a.m. ET this morning from Des Moines, Iowa, arriving at 11:15 a.m. ET in Quincy, Illinois. At 1:20 p.m. Et, he will tour POET Biorefining in Macon, Missouri, and deliver remarks at 2 p.m. ET on rebuilding the economy. At 3:20 p.m. ET, he will tour a local farm in Palmyra, Missouri, and meet with the family that operates the farm. He will deliver remarks 5 p.m. ET in Quincy, Illinois, on the need to pass financial reform. He will depart form Quincy at 6:15 p.m. ET, arriving back in Washington at Andrews Air Force Base at 8:05 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 8:20 p.m. ET.

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Orange County authorities are launching an investigation into possible voter registration fraud after a local newspaper reported over a hundred cases of voters being tricked into registering as Republicans by petitioners who asked them to sign petitions for, among other causes, legalizing pot.

The Orange County Register reported last week that the Orange County District Attorney's office announced it would team up with the Secretary of State on the case, following a Register report that 99 written complaints were filed since March by voters who said they were registered as Republicans without their consent.

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When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided that he would bump climate-and-energy legislation behind immigration reform as his next priority, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was apoplectic. Graham, along with Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), had spent months drafting a climate/energy bill, and was prepared to introduce it Monday, when, enraged by Reid's plan, he backed out.

Earlier today, Reid appeared to reverse course, saying climate/energy would be the next logical issue to address, followed only afterward by immigration reform. So everything's groovy, right?

Far from it. Tonight, Graham told me that he will filibuster his own climate change bill, unless Reid drops all plans to turn to immigration this Congress.

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Emerging tonight from a meeting with his Republican counterpart Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) put a diplomatic face on what appears to be a significant victory for him and his party. Tonight, Republicans acknowledged that they are likely to debate Dodd's financial regulatory reform bill, breaking their filibuster, even as Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over key aspects of the legislation.

Without going into great detail, Dodd trumpeted the fact that he and Shelby have largely come to an understanding over one major aspect of the legislation--how to unwind large, failed financial institutions--and said he believes that will be enough to move the bill forward, despite continuing disagreement over other key sections.

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The Goldman Sachs executives testifying before a Senate governmental affairs subcommittee Tuesday have dawdled, dodged and diverted their way through a hearing on Goldman's role in the financial crisis.

They asked for questions to be rephrased and clarified. They squinted and paged through thick notebooks, "searching" for emails printouts they were being asked about. They often appeared confused, bewildered.

On its face, it was not a heartening display of intellectual wizardry from these Titans of Finance.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a new TV ad in the PA-12 special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Democratic Rep. John Murtha. The new ad depicts Republican businessman as somebody that voters can't trust -- alleging that he helped ship local jobs overseas.

"Millionaire Tim Burns sold his company -- sold it to a corporation that used a tax loophole, which encourages sending American jobs overseas," the announcer says. "Burns got rich, even though he knew there may be layoffs in Pittsburgh."

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Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) has been smacking down Goldman Sachs executives all day about an internal memo that described a particular deal as "shitty," though Goldman continued to sell it to clients.

Levin's latest victim was CFO David Viniar, who Levin got to admit that it is "unfortunate" that anyone at the firm would try to sell a deal they believed to be "shitty."

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