TPM News

Just days after Kendrick Meek took to the airwaves with his first TV ad in Florida's Democratic Senate primary, he's back with another hard-hitting spot. Like his first ad, which came out Monday, Meek's latest effort goes for the throat of billionaire opponent Jeff Greene, who's depicted in the ad as a big spender running a dishonest campaign. "Jeff Greene can buy anything," the ad begins, "except the truth."

The line's not only a populist zinger, but also a nod to Greene's financial advantage in the race, which until this week had enabled him to blanket the state with TV spots that Meek's campaign couldn't afford to answer. The Meek campaign -- which on Wednesday claimed to have earned the financial backing of national Democratic party organizations -- has not yet disclosed the scope of its latest ad buy. But since Monday, when Meek's first ad went on the air, the Greene campaign has already struck back with two new spots, both mudslingers that accuse Meek of corruption.

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The House ethics panel's investigatory subcommittee says that they recommended to the full committed that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) be reprimanded for his 13 alleged violations.

Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), who led the investigation, told reporters today that his committee recommended Rangel be reprimanded instead of the more serious penalties of censure or expulsion.

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Glenn Beck denied yesterday that his long history of criticizing the Tides Foundation had anything to do with the alleged targeting of the group by Byron Williams, the anti-government gunman suspected of engaging in a shootout with police in Oakland, California, possibly while he was on his way to targeting Tides and the ACLU.

"I expose the Tides Foundation and show you what it is, and I am now responsible for terrorists attacks?" Beck asked.

As we've reported, the fairly obscure Tides Foundation has been brought up several times on Beck's show, characterized as part of what Beck sees as a conspiracy by President Obama and other left-wing people and organizations to spread socialism.

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If you thought that the Republican filibuster of the tax-cutting small business bill meant that the Senate didn't have a particularly productive day Thusday, you'd be wrong. In fact, the Senate authorized the issuance of a conservation stamp, created Polycystic Kidney Disease Awareness Week, gave a little money to the Patent and Trademark office and, oh yeah, doubled the penalties for making pot brownies. Yes, the same week that Congress significantly reduced the racially-charged crack-powder sentencing disparity, they also voted to create one between pot brownies and dime bags.

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Former Rand Paul campaign manager David Adams -- who sauntered off into the sunset after Paul's epic national implosion in the days after he won the Republican nomination for Senate in Kentucky -- is defending his decision to allow Paul to hoist himself on his own libertarianism in that infamous Maddow interview.

In a recent interview with liberal Kentucky blogger Barefoot and Progressive, Adams says he sat in the room watching while Paul spent 18 minutes sputtering through a discussion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act -- but that he thinks the end result was not that bad for Paul. Besides, he says, if Paul was going to catch flack for his views on property rights as they apply to civil rights, there was nothing Adams as campaign manager could do about it.

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According to anonymously-sourced reports pushed by right-wing blogs last weekend, members of Mexico's notorious Zetas drug gang crossed the border into Texas and, "in what could be deemed an act of war," seized two ranches near the border town of Laredo. The situation was dire, wingers warned, but a government enforced media blackout kept knowledge of the raid from the general public.


No, not really.

Here's the thing: the "raid" never happened.

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Prepare for Charlie Rangel to become a household name during the fall campaigns, political operatives from both parties are saying. The Republican plan for August, according to aides TPM spoke with this week, is to tie the party to Rangel and the fact he was charged with 13 violations yesterday. The GOP says it's only fair game, since the Democrats in 2006 ran on Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pledge to "drain the swamp" and tried to link all of the Republican candidates with disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

Republicans are tickled pink that a spotlight is shining on Rangel (D-NY) just as the campaign season kicks into high gear, and campaign operatives are advising GOP candidates across the country to try and nationalize his ethics charges and get Democrats to defend him. Vulnerable House Democrats are feeling the squeeze, and Republicans are digging up their 2006 statements accusing the GOP leadership of fostering a culture of corruption. The looming midterms are one reason House Democrats had been urging Rangel behind-the-scenes to cut a deal, and why Republicans are saying he missed his window.

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Michigan's Republican gubernatorial primary is this Tuesday, and a new poll shows the top three GOP contenders in a tight race that will come down to the wire. Today's EPIC-MRA poll shows businessman Rick Snyder, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, and state Attorney General Mike Cox in a statistical tie: Snyder has 26%, Cox has 24%, and Hoekstra has 23% -- all in a poll with a 4.9% margin of error. Trailing the pack are Mike Bouchard with 10% and state Sen. Tom George with 1%.

EPIC-MRA's past poll of the race from mid-June had Cox out in front with 26%, followed by Hoekstra with 24% and Snyder with 20%. Since June, surveys from other pollsters have shown each of the three top candidates in first place.

The TPM Poll Average gives Cox 22.6%, Hoekstra 22.3%, Snyder 19.9%, Bouchard 11.2%, and George 1.5%.

Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones -- the man who hopes to lead his flock in a mass Koran-burning in September to commemorate 9/11 -- says that he's as welcoming of other faiths as the next guy. Assuming, that is, that the next guy also thinks that "Islam Is Of The Devil," as Jones likes to say to anyone and everyone who drives past his Gainesville, Florida church.

In a recent interview with CNN's Rick "The List" Sanchez, Jones said that the book burning was all part of his plan to welcome Muslims to American while simultaneously reminding them that their faith is an evil thing that must be destroyed at all costs (or, saving that, desecrated publicly in the name of Jesus.)

"We have nothing against Muslims," Jones told Sanchez. "They are welcome in our country."

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Peter Schiff, a financial commentator and pro-Ron Paul activist running in the Republican Senate primary in Connecticut, is now attempting to broadcast a truly amazing and entertaining attack ad against the frontrunner in the primary, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon.

"Liberal Linda McMahon has kicked Republicans for years," the announcer says -- followed by old WWE video of McMahon, playing a fictionalized version of herself, kicking a man in the groin. The announcer then discusses McMahon's various sins, such as donating to Democrats, attending the 2008 Dem convention, and supporting bailouts -- followed each time by video of that kick.

The ad is not on TV, but Schiff is now trying to raise money to get it on the air -- and in fact, he has enlisted the help of Ron Paul's son, Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul, in the effort. The TPM Poll Average for the primary shows McMahon with 43.4%, following by 29.6% for former Congressman Simmons -- who just jumped back into the race after suspending his campaign in late May -- plus 10.0% for Schiff. The Republican primary will be held on August 10.

One question about this ad: In the current economic and political environment, wouldn't the visual of a woman delivering a crotch-kick to a man wearing a business suit actually help McMahon's popularity?

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