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Mark Foley. Those two words can still strike fear into the heart of any House Minority Leader, and John Boeher (R-OH) is no different. But rather than give Democrats an opening in November to suggest he looked away while his boys' club played, Boehner is reportedly cracking down on the extracurricular activities of his caucus with an iron fist.

According to Page 6, Boehner told a few caucus members with eyes for pretty lobbyists to "knock it off." Whose behavior might have caught Boehner's jaundiced eye?

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A new PPP survey of the Florida gubernatorial race shows Democrat Alex Sink leading both of her possible Republican opponents. The poll, released today, found Sink up 37%-23% against Republican state Attorney General Bill McCollum, with Independent candidate Bud Chiles at 14%. Against Republican Rick Scott, Sink leads 36%-30%, with Chiles receiving 13% of the vote. The previous PPP poll -- from early March, before Scott entered the race -- showed McCollum leading Sink by 13.

It's far from clear which Republican candidate Sink will face in the general election. The Republican primary has been increasingly nasty, and Scott has used his personal fortune to bury the establishment-backed McCollum with a barrage of ads. The Republican primary is August 24, and polls show Scott now running well ahead of McCollum.

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In a meeting with several reporters this afternoon, House Minority Leader John Boehner outlined the top three measures he'd pursue if he becomes Speaker of the House next Congress to create new jobs. But, those who thought he'd outline specific programs and how they would create jobs were disappointed with a familiar litany of wish-list items: repeal health care reform, eschew climate legislation, and renew the Bush tax cuts.

In other words, repeal a program that largely hasn't yet taken effect; prevent new legislation that is also not in effect; and keep a current tax structure in place. Step four: profit. Or jobs.

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Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, told me today that in his opinion, candidates who have received endorsements from the ostracized Tea Party Express should work to distance themselves from the group. Speaking after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) debuted her Tea Party Caucus, Meckler told me that candidates who have relied on the Tea Party Express for help -- a list that includes Sharron Angle and Marco Rubio -- should repudiate the group and its controversial spokesperson Mark Williams.

"It's up to every individual candidate," Meckler said. "But if I were running, I'd definitely step away from that kind of rhetoric."

Meckler condemned Williams as a racist and said that conservatives everywhere -- including candidates -- need to shun him.

"It's the right thing to do," he said.

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The AP is reporting that the Department of Justice has closed its investigation into the U.S. attorney firings and will not file any charges.

The Bush Administration spent several years fighting allegations that it had fired several U.S. attorneys for politically motivated reasons, and then ignoring subpoenas by Congress to testify about the firings. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned because of the scandal.

You can find past TPMmuckraker coverage of the scandal here and here, and a timeline here.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today offered an apology to Shirley Sherrod on behalf of the Obama administration.

He said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is trying to reach Sherrod as well, to offer his own apology and to "talk about their next steps."

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A new Rasmussen poll of the Kentucky Senate race shows Republican Rand Paul with an eight point lead over Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway, a number consistent with Rasmussen's recent polling of the race.

The poll shows likely voters supporting Paul over Conway by a margin of 49%-41%. The past two Rasmussen polls -- from June 1 and June 28 -- also had Paul with 49%, while Conway was at 41% and 42%, respectively. These Rasmussen polls stand in sharp contrast to a PPP poll (PDF) from last month, which had the race tied at 43%. The TPM Poll Average gives Paul a lead of 48.9%-42.2%.

The margin of error of the latest Rasmussen poll was ±3.0 percentage points.

A rural newspaper in Louisiana has endorsed Chet Traylor -- rival to Sen. David Vitter in the Louisiana Republican primary -- to win the party's nomination. And in so doing they casually raise the possibility that there are more Vitter scandals yet to be exposed.

"It is not our intention to revisit Vitter's mistakes as a means to follow the lead of the out-of-touch media elite in condemning Vitter at every turn," write the editors of the Concordia Sentinel. "We will not engage in a rumor mongering campaign either by repeating allegations that another "scandal" involving Vitter's personal life will surface soon."

How's that for subtlety?

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Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) debuted her Tea Party Caucus this morning, a collection of 29 -- and counting -- conservative Republican House members who Bachmann says plan to be a direct line of communication between the tea party movement and floor of the House.

The goal of the debut press conference was clearly to show how tuned in with the tea party Bachmann and colleagues like Steve King (IA), Louie Gohmert (TX) and John Culberson (TX) are. The event was light on legislative substance and heavy on tea party praise, both from the representatives in attendance and the tea partiers who spoke from the podium. But after the tough week the tea party movement's been having, the event's emphasis seemed to shift to the most overt possible display of tea party diversity.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet The Tea Party Caucus]

Here's what that looks like: Of the several tea partiers who spoke from the podium today to praise the creation of the caucus, just one was a white man -- Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. The others? Two African-Americans, a Coumbian, a Brazilian, and several women. Rep. Dan Burton (R-IA) made it clear what he thought the takeaway message should be.

"This should dispel any claims about the tea party," he said. "Because we have people of all backgrounds up here."

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