TPM News

South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley has been dodging reporters for the last couple of days, but her campaign manager promised Wednesday that Haley will address a blogger's claim of an "inappropriate physical relationship" with her at the next debate, scheduled for Tuesday.

The primary election is one week later, on June 8.

Meanwhile, blogger Will Folks has reportedly hired a former Clinton-era U.S. attorney, Pete Strom, to represent him. Strom, now in private practice in Columbia, did not immediately return a call.

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Obama To Extend Offshore Drilling Moratorium President Obama is set to announce today that he will extend the moratorium on new deepwater oil drilling permits for six months, while a presidential commission investigates the issue. The Associated Press reports: "Controversial lease sales off the coast of Alaska will be delayed pending the results of the commission's investigation, and lease sales planned in the Western Gulf and off the coast of Virginia will be canceled, the [White House] aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of a midday Obama news conference."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9 a.m. ET. At 10:35 a.m. ET, Obama will welcome the NCAA Men's Basketball Champion Duke Blue Devils to the White House. At 11 a.m. ET, Obama, Biden and former President Bill Clinton will take a photo with the U.S. World Cup Soccer Team. Obama will have lunch with Bill Clinton at 11:25 a.m. ET. At 12:45 p.m. ET, Obama will deliver remarks and take questions from the press. At 2:05 p.m. ET, Obama will receive a briefing on the 2010 hurricane season forecast and the federal government's preparedness. He will hold bilateral meeting at 3:10 p.m. ET with President Sirleaf of Liberia. At 4:10 p.m. ET, the President, Vice President and First Lady will host a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month. The First Family will depart the White House at 6:15 p.m. ET, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 7 p.m. ET, arriving at 8:15 p.m. ET in Chicago.

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The story that the campaign of Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) has been telling got some independent corroboration this morning -- a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Blumenthal is still dominating the race for Senate in the wake of a brutal New York Times story that accused him of lying about his military record.

The poll, one of the most respected in Connecticut politics, shows Blumenthal ahead of likely Republican nominee Linda McMahon by a whopping 25 points. He leads the race by a margin of 56-31. That's down somewhat from the astronomical 61-28 lead Blumenthal had in the March Q poll, but -- as they say in the business -- anything over 20 is a good day.

Especially the wake of the Times revelations, which some observers predicted might destroy Blumenthal's squeaky-clean image in Connecticut and knock him into a tough race to replace retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D). But the Q poll suggests that hasn't happened. Blumenthal's job approval ratings remain high, according to the pollster, even among Republicans.

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The sparks are continuing to fly in the Arizona Republican Senate primary, in the wake of former Rep. J.D. Hayworth's gaffe when he claimed that the United States didn't formally declare war on Germany in World War II. Today, it's all about insults -- and fundraising -- for Sen. John McCain.

Last night, the Hayworth campaign hit back at the McCain campaign for calling him "one of the dumbest members of Congress," with a press release in which spokesman Mark Sanders said: "The real question is not who misspoke about an event nearly seventy years ago, but who has the faulty memory about events happening today." Sanders then accused McCain of changing his positions on immigration and cap-and-trade.

We asked McCain spokesman Brian Rogers for comment on the "faulty memory" line, as well as the spelling error in the press release referring to the incumbent as "McCail." Rogers responded: "Apparently history wasn't the only class that Congressman Hayworth failed in middle school."

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Former Rep. Rob Simmons dropped out of the Republican primary for Chris Dodd's Senate seat this week -- but he's not about to throw his support behind the presumptive GOP candidate.

Simmons told National Review Online today that he doesn't think Linda McMahon can win.

"No, I don't think so at all," he said. And he's not looking to stump for her, either:

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The South Carolina Republican operative whose texts to blogger Will Folks referred to an affair between Folks and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley said this afternoon that he did not know one way or the other if there had actually been a relationship.

"I don't know if the rumors are true," said Wes Donehue on his Web radio show Pub Politics. "I don't want to be in the situation I'm in."

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