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Here's yet another twist in the New Jersey gubernatorial election: The Associated Press reports that Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra -- who is the successor to now-Republican nominee Chris Christie -- is facing an internal investigation for possibly politicizing the recent corruption investigation, in order to benefit Christie's campaign.

The Justice Department is reportedly examining whether Marra's public comments when announcing last month's big corruption bust were politically geared towards Christie's campaign.

The comments are reportedly this: "There are easily reforms that could be made within this state that would make our job easier, or even take some of the load off our job. There are too many people that profit off the system the way it is and so they have no incentive to change it. The few people that want to change it seem to get shouted down. So how long that cycle's going to continue I just don't know."

You've got to love New Jersey politics -- a place where investigating corruption is itself an ethical minefield.


President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden.

White House photo / Lawrence Jackson




The president returns to the White House after a Rose Garden news conference.

White House photo / Chuck Kennedy




Staffers prepare the Rose Garden for a press event.

White House photo / Pete Souza




Obama shares a fist bump with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

White House photo / Pete Souza




The president pauses in the Blue Room of the White House.

White House photo / Lawrence Jackson




The president enters the White House's Blue Room.

White House photo / Pete Souza




President Obama steps onto the elevator to the White House residence.

White House photo / Pete Souza




Doctors from the Cleveland Clinic brief the president on the hospital's practices.

White House photo / Pete Souza




President Obama waits backstage at a health care town hall meeting at Shaker Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio.

White House photo / Pete Souza




The president conducts a town hall in Cleveland.

White House photo / Samantha Appleton




Obama signs books and posters at a Chicago fundraiser.

White House photo / Pete Souza




Signing an Ebony cover.

White House photo / Pete Souza




Vice President Biden and President Obama in the Oval Office.

White House photo / Pete Souza




President Obama walks down a spiral staircase with aide Brian Mosteller and a U.S. Secret Service agent after taping his weekly address.

White House photo / Chuck Kennedy




President Obama meets with leaders from the disability community.

White House photo / Pete Souza




The president shakes the hand of a young military family member at the Marine Barracks evening parade.

White House photo / Samantha Appleton




FIFA President Joseph Blatter presents the president with soccer jerseys for his daughters.

White House photo / Pete Souza




President Obama greets members of the Detroit Shock, this year's WNBA champions.

White House photo / Pete Souza




Barack and Michelle Obama wait for the start of a receiving line at the Ambassadors Reception in the White House.

White House photo / Lawrence Jackson




The president answers questions during an AARP tele-town hall on health care.

White House photo / Pete Souza




President Obama waves goodbye to Chinese officials in the White House's Roosevelt Room.

White House photo / Pete Souza




The president holds a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C.

White House photo / Lawrence Jackson




President Obama listens to a question at a health care town hall.

White House photo / Pete Souza




After a town hall in Raleigh, N.C., the president laughs at a picture of a younger Robert Gibbs, who played soccer at North Carolina State.

White House photo / Pete Souza




President Obama snacks on a peach after a town hall meeting at a Kroger's Supermarket in Bristol, Va.

White House photo / Pete Souza




Vice President Biden and President Obama at an economics briefing in the Oval Office.

White House photo / Pete Souza




President Obama jokes with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before a news conference

White House photo / Pete Souza




The president speaks with Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu before dinner at the Cabinet and Senior Staff retreat at the Blair House in Washington D.C.

White House photo / Pete Souza




President Obama speaks at the Cabinet and Senior Staff retreat.

White House photo / Pete Souza




A couple dances in the grand foyer of the White House during the Ambassadors Reception.

White House photo / Lawrence Jackson




Bo Obama rests on a White House carpet.

White House photo / Chuck Kennedy

President Barack Obama will host a web- and phone-based meeting on Thursday for all supporters, according to a letter sent to the Organizing for America email list today.

"President Obama is holding a live strategy meeting on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time for all Organizing for America supporters," the letter reads.

The President will update us on the fight to pass real health insurance reform -- what's happening in D.C. and what's happening around the country. He'll lay out our strategy and message going forward and answer questions from supporters like you. And we'll unveil the next actions we'll organize together.


You can read the entire message below the fold. The meeting comes as Washington turns the corner on August recess, and the media's attention has shifted away from organized resistance to health care reform, back to the details of the legislation, and, specifically, the public option.

You can read the entire letter below the fold.

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We're now getting a look at some more of those forged letters sent to members of Congress by D.C.-based astroturf specialists Bonner & Associates.

And these new letters plumb the depths of sleaziness.

The letters, written under the names of local senior centers, urged Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), Christopher Carney (D-PA), and Tom Perriello (D-VA), to make changes in the Waxman-Markey climate change bill because fixed-income seniors were worried about energy price hikes.

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A new Marist poll has a mix of good news and bad news for Sarah Palin -- and unmitigated good news for Democrats. On the one hand, she remains a plausible candidate for the GOP nomination in 2012, but in a general election she would lose to President Obama in a landslide.

Among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, the 2012 field stands at Mitt Romney 21%, Sarah Palin 20%, Mike Huckabee 19%, Newt Gingrich 10%, Bobby Jindal 5%, and Tim Pawlenty 1%. But in a general election, it's Obama 56%, Palin 33%.

Also, Palin's overall favorable rating is only 37%, with 43% unfavorable. But among Republicans, it's a whopping 73% favorable, to only 16% unfavorable.

Read More →

On Fox today, Karl Rove said the White House "potentially violated federal law" by sending out an email last week to people who hadn't signed up for such emails.

Over the past week, Fox News and some Republicans have accused the White House of using political groups to gather email addresses, a charge the administration has denied. White House officials have said they only get addresses through their web site, and have blamed third parties for possibly signing people up without their permission.

But Fox, and Rove, are not convinced.



Rove suggested today that a White House staffer may have mined the Internet for email addresses.

"I think they might have somebody in the new media office with a background in Google ... who may know how to do some drift net mining of email addresses and tossing them into the White House email system," Rove said. "And that is frankly a violation of federal law."

He went further, saying the act of sending out a mass email -- in this case promoting health care reform -- counts as advertising and is therefore "a problem" and possibly illegal.

Now, here's the kicker: Rove said that if he had done something like this while working for the Bush administration, he'd have been burned alive. Here it is, in graphic detail:

I'd be on a cart, being dragged down Pennsylvania Avenue on a bunch of hay and taken to a giant mound of firewood, where I'd be tied to a post and Nancy Pelosi would take a lighted pitch and thrown it onto the firewood if I had done this. ... This is amazing to me, what these people are able to get away with. If the Bush White House had done this, you're right, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would have had me out for a little barbecue on the National Mall and I would be the meal.


Last night, the White House announced changes to its email policy to make it both more secure and easier to opt out. It also disabled flag@whitehouse.gov, which conservative critics claimed amounted to collecting an "enemies list," which even President Obama himself denied.

Ernest Hancock, the online radio host who interviewed the man with the assault rifle outside yesterday's Obama event in Arizona, today stated that the whole event was actually planned in advance. Watch the video below.

Hancock appeared on Rick Sanchez's CNN show this afternoon. After explaining a few details about the interview, including the tidbit that he's known 'Chris' (the man with the AR-15) for two years because of their mutual work for Ron Paul, the CNN host said "the more we look into this, the more it appears that it was really planned."

"Oh, it's more planned than you think," Hancock responded. He then let loose with a string of details, including how Hancock contacted the Phoenix police department days before the event and how he was partially motivated to do so because of the controversy surrounding William Kostric, the man armed with a gun outside of Obama's town hall in New Hampshire last week.



We worked with the Phoenix police department. They came down to our studio on Friday. We've gone through this with them for 15 years.

They have a squad - used to be called the confrontation prevention squad, now called community service. We told them that we're going to come down, I'm going to do the radio show live, we're going to be broadcasting it, and I'm going to have a firearm. I had a 9 millimeter on myself...

It was Thursday that I called and talked to Al Ramirez, the representative from the Phoenix police department, and we were discussing - we've been around this rhetoric that was building up around William Kostric, who did this in New Hampshire. We knew this from 15 years ago when Janet Napolitano was a U.S. Assistant Attorney and prosecuted the Viper Militia out of Arizona, and how that was generated into something it wasn't. We talked to Al and we were like, look, we know where this is going and we want to make sure, we come down, we're peaceful, and we demonstrate the right of the people to carry their firearms. And the police protected our right.

They wanted to help - they assigned him [a police officer] to me. He was never more than 4-5 feet away from me. We had law enforcement around us to protect our rights to protect this firearm.


In the 8-minute interview, Sanchez did not bring up the issue of the incident taking place at a presidential event. There was also no discussion on the other dozen people who were reportedly armed at Obama's VFW event in Phoenix.

Most of the interview was spent in a back-and-forth between the two men on the planning of the event, and whether what Hancock did was 'disingenuous' as a 'publicity stunt.' Hancock also appeared to make a small reference to astroturf/tea party activists when he said "you have these people coming in by the busload, there to create a scandal" but for his and Chris's part, "we're all friends, we were having a good time, and the event was more peaceful."

Here's the rest of the interview:

Sanchez: A lot of people are going to look at this and say it was a publicity stunt.

Hancock: Absolutely - you guys are so easy. What we wanted to do was make sure that people around the country knew that law enforcement in Phoenix, Arizona protects our rights. Oftentimes, the citizenry are better armed than law enforcement. They need us on their side. We know what we're up against.

Sanchez: You're the only ones there with weapons. What are you up against? Ladies with brooms?

Hancock: Oh no, no, no, we're up against a tyrannical government that will rob the next generation as long as they can get away with it. If you go to Freedomsphoenix.com, the top story is the interview I had with this young man. Quite simply, [Chris] understands that his generation is going to be plundered until there's nothing left to plunder. When you do that, at some point, there will be resistance.

Sanchez: Where is Chris, by the way?

Hancock: Hiding from you.

Sanchez: The only thing I'm questioning is whether you have to do it in such a disingenuous way - it was a fake interview with fake circumstances.

Hancock: We made it very clear that we knew each other on the video - I see him all the time.

Sanchez: Does [Chris] really believe this stuff? Because the way he was laughing in the video-

Hancock: If you're not having fun advocating for freedom, you're doing it wrong.

While visiting the White House today, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak praised Obama's June visit to Cairo in which he delivered a major address on U.S. relations with Muslim countries. The two leaders held a joint press availability with in the afternoon; the transcript is below.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me, on behalf of the American people and my administration, welcome President Mubarak for his first visit since I've taken office. I want to publicly thank him for the extraordinary hospitality that he showed us when I traveled to Egypt and delivered my speech at Cairo University. It was an extraordinary visit, not only because of the great welcome that I received from the President and the college students who were in attendance, but also having an opportunity to visit the pyramids was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.



The United States and Egypt have worked together closely for many years, and for many of those years President Mubarak has been a leader and a counselor and a friend to the United States. We obviously have a lot of great challenges that have to be dealt with and we are continuing to work together to find those areas where we can find common ground and to work in concert to bring peace and security to the region.



The Arab-Israeli situation is something that has been of ongoing interest and we had an extensive conversation about how we could help to jumpstart an effective process on all sides to move away from a status quo that is not working for the Israeli people, the Palestinian people, or, I think, the region as a whole.



We discussed our common concerns about the potential proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region, including the development of nuclear weapons by Iran, and how we could work together on those fronts. We discussed Iraq -- and I want to thank the government of Egypt for being an Arab country that has moved forward to try to strengthen Iraq as it emerges from a wartime footing and a transition to a more stable democracy.



And we continued to talk about how we can work together on economic development issues, education issues, health issues, that can promote the interests of both the American people as well as the Egyptian people. Just to take one example, we have agreed to work together with the Organization of Islamic States to eradicate polio, something that we've been able to successfully deal with here in the United States but still has impact on populations throughout the Muslim communities around the world.



And so these are the kinds of partnerships that we want to continue to build. There are some areas where we still have disagreements, and where we do have disagreements we have a frank and honest exchange.



So I just want to say once again that I am grateful to President Mubarak for his visit, for his willingness to work with us on these critical issues, and to help advance the interest of peace and prosperity around the world.



Thank you very much. Welcome.



PRESIDENT MUBARAK: (As translated.) First of all, this is the third time that I meet with President Obama. The first time was in Cairo, when he came to give his address. It was a very strong address and it removed all doubts about the United States and the Muslim world. The importance of the Cairo visit was very appreciated by the Muslim and Islamic world because the Islamic world had thought that the U.S. was against Islam, but his great, fantastic address there has removed all those doubts.



That was the first time. Now, the second time where we met was in Italy during the G15 summit. We didn't have much time to go in depth into discussions, but we did have some quick discussion.



The third time I meet with President Obama is here today at the White House. We have discussed an array of issues from our bilateral relations to the issues of the Middle East, the region, to the Palestinian issue, to the issue of Iran, Somalia, and the Africa Horn. Also, several other issues -- even we discussed the issue of reform inside Egypt. And I told to President Obama very frankly and very friendly that I have entered into the elections based on a platform that included reforms, and therefore we have started to implement some of it and we still have two more years to implement it.



Our relations between us and the United States are very good relations and strategic relations. And despite some of the hoops that we had with previous administrations, this did not change the nature of our bilateral relations.



We have perhaps focused greatly on the Palestinian issue because it's the pivotal issue. And the Palestinian issue has impact on the world, on the region, whether for the West or also for the United States.



We have also discussed the issue of Iran and the issue of nuclear Iran, and we talked about these issues very frankly.



And in conclusion of my remarks, I would like to thank President Obama for his welcome to me here at the White House and I also salute him as I did -- and this is since five years -- I also salute President Obama for all his efforts with regard to the Palestinian issue. Since his first day at the White House he started working on it. And I assured him that we will cooperate with him and we will be very strong in these efforts, whether with regard to the Palestinian issue or the other regional issues.



And I thank him again.



PRESIDENT OBAMA: Okay, we've got one question each.



Q Both Presidents, if I may. Reports from Jerusalem today that the Israeli government has not given permission for any new settlements to be built, although ones that were in process are still in process -- and I'm wondering if you have talked about that issue and if that's the sort of thing that goes at least partway to meeting what you're asking the Israelis to do. And also what's in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.



PRESIDENT OBAMA: There has been movement in the right direction and I came in from the start saying that all parties concerned had to take some concrete steps to restart serious negotiations to resolve what has been a longstanding conflict that is not good for the Israeli people and is not good for its neighbors. And I think that the Israeli government has taken discussions with us very seriously. George Mitchell has been back and forth repeatedly; he will be heading back out there next week. And my hope is that we are going to see not just movement from the Israelis, but also from the Palestinians around issues of incitement and security, from Arab states that show their willingness to engage Israel.



If all sides are willing to move off of the rut that we're in currently, then I think there is a extraordinary opportunity to make real progress. But we're not there yet. I'm encouraged by some of the things I'm seeing on the ground. We've been seeing reports in the West Bank in particular that checkpoints have been removed in some situations. The security forces of the Palestinian Authority have greatly improved and have been able to deal with the security situation on the West Bank in a way that has inspired not just confidence among the Israeli people, but also among the Palestinian people.



There's been some increased economic activity on the West Bank. All of this is creating a climate in which it's possible for us to see some positive steps and hopefully negotiate towards a final resolution of these longstanding issues. But everybody is going to have to take steps; everybody is going to have to take some risks. It's going to require a lot of hard work, and the United States is committed to being a partner in this process.



And Egypt will be as important as any other party in helping to move the process forward because Egypt is uniquely positioned in some ways having very strong relationships with Israel, with the Palestinians, and with other Arab states, and President Mubarak has as much experience in the region as anybody.



PRESIDENT MUBARAK: I would like to add on what President Obama has just said, and I say that we are trying and working on this goal to bring the two parties to sit together and to get something from the Israeli party and to get something from the Palestinian party. If we perhaps can get them to sit together, we will help.



And also, I have contacts with the Israeli party. I have received calls and contacts with the Prime Minister of Israel, with the head of the state, and also with the Minister of Defense. We are speaking in a good manner and we are moving into the right direction. But the two parties need to sit together, and this then will give hope that there is a possibility of finding a solution to the Palestinian issue, because it has been ongoing since 60 years. And with this issue ongoing, we lose a lot, and also this will increase violence. So we support the efforts of the United States to move towards finding a solution.



If this is the issue of Jerusalem that you are asking about, I tell you this is a complicated issue. Then -- back then, a time ago, when we -- at former President Clinton's era, we almost neared finding an equation to find a solution for this issue. But afterwards, eight years afterwards, there was nothing and this issue moved very slowly. However, if we can find some solution to this, this would be helpful.



Q President Mubarak, you just mentioned about the 60 years conflict. You have been in that conflict as a warrior and as a peacemaker together for a long time. What's different this time? It has been ups and downs, disappointments and achievements. What's different this time? And are we going into another peace process, or are we going again heading for a final status kind of negotiations that finish that business?



And for President Obama, if you care to comment -- President Mubarak said we cannot afford failure this time. What stands between us now and success?



PRESIDENT MUBARAK: As I said before, this is a complicated issue. I have worked a long time ago when I was in the army, and afterwards during my access of presidency. This issue has been ongoing 60 years. And we cannot afford wasting more time, because violence will increase, and violence has increased. The level of violence is now much more than it was 10 years ago. Therefore, we need to find -- to move to the final status solution and level.



And I have contacted the Israelis, and they said perhaps you can talk about a temporary solution or perhaps the final status. But I told them, no, forget about the temporary solution and forget about temporary borders. That's why I came today to talk to President Obama and to see that if we move forward on this issue, it will give more hope and more confidence to the people about this issue.



The negotiations of the final status will not be easy and it will be fraught of complications. This issue contains the issue of Jerusalem, the issue of refugees, the issue of the borders. But I believe that, in cooperation with the United States and through our relations with Israel, I believe that we can reach a solution, because the Arab people want peace and want a better life, and the Israeli people also want peace and stability in their lives.



PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think President Mubarak said it well: It's going to be difficult. I do believe that what may have changed -- and this is what we have to test -- is a growing realization on the part of the Palestinians that Israel is not going anywhere and is a fact, a reality that has to be dealt with; and a recognition on the part of the Israelis that their long-term security interests require finding an accommodation with the Palestinians and ultimately with their Arab neighbors. So the interests on both sides are towards peace.



Now, one of the things that you discover in studying history and being a part of politics is just because something makes sense doesn't mean it happens. And we are going to have to work very hard. And ultimately there is going to have to be some courageous leadership not only from the Palestinians and the Israelis but also from the other Arab states to support this effort. And the United States is going to devote time and energy and resources to try to make this happen.



And what I can say as different from the United States' perspective is that even in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, we started dealing with this issue on day one. We didn't wait until year six or year seven, after I had been reelected before we started taking this on. We started dealing with this issue immediately, precisely because it's a difficult issue that requires a lot of groundwork to be laid and sometimes proceeds in fits and starts. But with the partnership of countries like Egypt, we think we can make progress.



Okay, thank you, everybody.



Go ahead, please.



PRESIDENT MUBARAK: I believe that President Obama is talking about support from the Arab states to this issue. I would say here that if negotiations start, this will lead to the Arab state to support the peace process and to move it forward, because I can tell you that the Arab people are fed up with the length that this issue has taken, and the issue of the displaced people. So I believe if the two parties sit down, this will lead to have Arab state support moving the peace process forward.



PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, everybody.

At the daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs again denied that the administration has changed its position on a public option.

Over the weekend, President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made comments many perceived as backing off the public option. President Obama had said the public option as a "sliver" of health care reform, and Sebelius said the public option wasn't essential.

But Gibbs fought off that perception, saying the administration's stance has not changed at all over the last several months. He said they would prefer having a public option, but it's not a deal breaker. He even brought a stack of papers with past quotes from Sebelius and Obama, including transcripts from this weekend's events.

He handed the stack to CNN's Ed Henry, who was the most persistent questioner today.

Since the meme took hold, Sebelius and Gibbs have repeatedly shot it down, with Sebelius saying, "Nothing has changed."

On a conference call today with reporters, Senate Minority Whip John Kyl (R-AZ) said almost no health care compromise is likely to win significant Republican support.

"There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill," Kyl said. "I have no doubt that they can make it revenue neutral to find enough ways to tax the American people, but that doesn't mean the Republicans will support it."

As for the co-op compromise? "It's a step towards government-run health care in this country."

The remarks are particularly significant coming a day after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the lead Republican health care negotiator in the Senate, said he'd vote against his own bill--and all the compromises he's forcing into it--if it doesn't win a great number of Republican votes.

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