TPM News

White House: 'U.S. Support For South Korea's Defense Is Unequivocal' The White House declared its support for South Korea's handling of the sinking of the South Korean warship the Cheonan. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement: "U.S. support for South Korea's defense is unequivocal, and the President has directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Republic of Korea counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive his daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. He will attend a 10:20 a.m. ET reception for the Federal Judge Association. He will meet at 11:05 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 12 p.m. ET, he will participate in the daily briefing call with Gulf Coast governors on the BP oil spill. At 2:30 p.m. ET, he will welcome Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to the White House. At 4 p.m. ET, he will host a reception to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. He will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Read More →

Cornyn: Rand Paul Did 'The Right Thing' Canceling Meet The Press Appearance Appearing on Meet The Press, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) said: "Well, Dr. Paul's new to running for public office, and I think it's Bob's [Menendez] experience, I'm sure my experience, that you see novice candidates occasionally stumble on questions. I think he's clarified his position. But I think he's done the right thing. As much fun as this is, David [Gregory], to be here with you, I think he needs to be talking to the voters back in Kentucky, the people who actually will be able to cast a ballot on whether he's elected as the next United States senator or not."

Palin: Media Seizing An Opportunity To Get Rand Paul Like They Did Me Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sarah Palin defended Senate nominee Rand Paul (R-KY) over his comments opposing portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying that the media was out to get him in the same way they targeted herself: "One thing that we can learn in this lesson that I have learned and Rand Paul is learning now is don't assume that you can engage in a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter or a media personality who has an agenda, who may be prejudiced before they even get into the interview in regards to what your answer may be -- and then the opportunity that they seize to get you."

Read More →

Republican Honolulu councilman Charles Djou has won the usually ultra-safe Democratic HI-01 House seat in a special election, thanks to a divided Democratic vote.

The results: Djou 67,274 votes, 39.5%, Democratic state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa 52,445 votes, 30.8%, and Democratic former Rep. Ed Case 47,012 votes, 27.6%. The big surprise here is not the Dems' loss -- which had been expected, due to the unusual circumstances of the race -- but instead that Case, who had been the unofficial favorite of Washington Democrats, came in third behind Hanabusa, a favorite of organized labor who had consistently polled in third place throughout this campaign.

With this result, don't be surprised if Hanabusa has some momentum going into the September Democratic primary, to pick the nominee to go up against Djou in the regular election in November.

Read More →

Obama Announces Commission On Oil Spill In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama announced the formation of a special commission to examine the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and to recommend future safety and environmental precautions. The commission will be co-chaired by former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) and former Environment Protection Agency Administrator Bill Reilly (R).

"I can't think of two people who will bring greater experience or better judgment to the task at hand," said Obama. "In the days to come, I'll appoint 5 other distinguished Americans - including scientists, engineers, and environmental advocates - to join them on the Commission. And I'm directing them to report back in 6 months with recommendations on how we can prevent - and mitigate the impact of - any future spills that result from offshore drilling."

Read More →

Despite his undeniably impressive victory over the GOP establishment on Tuesday night, Kentucky Senate nominee Rand Paul's first week in the center of the national spotlight has turned him from The Next Big Thing to -- at best -- the object of extreme skepticism.

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Paul delivered this warning to the political establishment: "What I say to Washington is, 'Watch out, here we come."

Forty-eight hours later, he was on the run from political reporters trying to pin him on his issues with civil rights law and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

What happened?

Read More →

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) said in an interview Rand Paul's comments about the Civil Rights Act this week are fair game for campaign attacks, calling his GOP rival in the Senate race "outside of the mainstream." Conway and Paul each won their party's nomination Tuesday night, and it's been a tough week for Paul since the victory. Conway told me this afternoon he will make sure voters know about Paul's remarks, especially about his views on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"What does that say to our disabled veterans coming back from two wars," Conway said.

At the same time, Conway said his own campaign would focus on the distinctions between the candidates on the economy and the need for "robust" financial reform, and I asked him how the Civil Rights Act comments come into those policy issues. "It's certainly relevant," Conway said. "People fought and bled for the ability to be served in a non-discriminatory fashion. It's problematic and abhorrent that he'd say in 2010 the government would not have a role ... I'm happy to have that discussion."

He also took a whack at Paul's "accidents happen" comments about the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, saying they were "callous."

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is jumping on the controversies surrounding Rand Paul's statements against parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sending out a new fundraising e-mail from his Midwest Values PAC asking for cash to help Kentucky Senate Democratic nominee Jack Conway.

"On Wednesday, Rand Paul couldn't answer a simple question of whether or not he supported desegregating lunch counters - a viewpoint so unbelievably dated it doesn't belong in this century, much less a 2010 campaign," writes Franken.

Franken appeals to his grassroots donor base to help out both Conway and Pennsylvania Senate nominee Joe Sestak -- with the former comedian also offering up a Borscht Belt-style side remark: "I can't count on brunches with lobbyists and special interest types to fund MVP to help Jack and Joe, though brunch (especially on the weekend) is delicious and may be my favorite meal, so I'm counting on you."

(Via the Star Tribune.)

Read More →

Has Ken Cuccinelli miscalculated by standing on principle -- what principle that is, we're not too sure -- in refusing to give up donations from an apparent scam artist?

To recap: The second largest individual contributor to Cuccinelli's campaign for Virginia attorney general last year was Bobby Thompson, a Florida man who is the founder of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, and who donated $55,500 to Cuccinelli.

Read More →

This is fun: In light of Rand Paul's decision today to back out of his scheduled appearance on Meet the Press, it's worth looking back to his father Rep. Ron Paul's appearance on the show in 2007 -- in which Ron Paul came out against the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the very same grounds that have gotten Rand Paul into such a mess this week.

Asked by then-host Tim Russert if he would have voted for the landmark legislation, Paul said he would have opposed it "If it were written the same way, where the federal government's taken over property--has nothing to do with race relations." He continued: "it has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with the Constitution and private property rights."

Read More →