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Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is now the Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey, has made it official: He does not want Sarah Palin coming to campaign for him -- and he doesn't think it would help him.

"This is about New Jersey issues and New Jersey, and I don't think having Governor Palin here would do me, or frankly the state, a whole lot of good in the sense that we need to talk and focus on what the New Jersey issues are," Christie said during a radio interview.

He's not above having outside help coming in, though, but of a different sort: "I hope Mayor Giuliani will continue to be supportive and be here and work with me, but other than that, I think the people of New Jersey have to hear from me and that's the person they'll be electing."

The state Republican Party chairman had previously made similar comments, though not quite as blunt. It would be hard to assume that this is related to Palin's latest round of controversy from her resignation as Governor of Alaska. New Jersey is a socially-liberal state that simply doesn't have much room in it for politicians from the Christian Right. So Christie probably had the same attitude even before the recent news.

The US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) is scheduled to vote tomorrow on the nomination of Republican voter-suppression guru Hans Von Spakovsky to a state-level body that advises the commission.

Lenore Ostrowsky, a spokeswoman for the USCCR -- whose mission is to defend voting rights -- confirmed to TPMmuckraker that commissioners will vote at a Friday morning meeting on Spakovsky's nomination to the State Advisory Committee for Virginia, where he lives. According to a source, it is likely that Spakovsky's nomination will be approved.

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An FBI agent displays cash found in the freezer of former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA). Jurors in Jefferson's bribery trial saw this and other pictures July 8.

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The cash was wrapped in $10,000 increments and hidden in frozen food boxes. Prosecutors allege that Jefferson received $400,000 in bribes. The defense says it was perfectly legal for him to receive payment for private consulting services.

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Some cash was hidden in a box of pie crusts. Jefferson allegedly sought millions for using his power to arrange business deals in Africa.

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More money was found in a Boca Burgers box. Jefferson lost his re-election campaign last year.

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Jefferson's kitchen, home to the infamous freezer.

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The interim foreign minister for Honduras apologized after the U.S. envoy there expressed "deep outrage" over his "disrespectful and racially insensitive comments."

Ortez Colindres called President Obama a "negrito," or "little black man," several times last week. Colindres is a minister for Roberto Micheletti, Honduras's leader since Manuel Zelaya was overthrown.

After the ambassador, Hugo Llorens, responded angrily, Colindres issued an apology.

"Please accept my profound apologies and my sincere expressions of friendship directed at this great nation that is the United States of America, which allows me to contribute in the best way to a happy understanding between that great country and the democracy that is the republic of Honduras," he said.

A Daily Kos diarist translated another quote from Colindres, reported in Spanish in El Tiempo, as even a little worse:

I have negotiated with queers, prostitutes, leftists, blacks, whites. This is my job, I studied for it. I am not racially prejudiced. I like the little black sugar plantation worker who is president of the United States.


Here's the original quote from El Tiempo, which includes the caveat that Colindres was speaking both jokingly and seriously:

"He negociado con maricones, prostitutas, con ñángaras (izquierdistas), negros, blancos. Ese es mi trabajo, yo estudié eso. No tengo prejuicios raciales, me gusta el negrito del batey que está presidiendo los Estados Unidos", dijo Colindres en broma y en serio.

Either the pickings were slim, or Republicans didn't use much imagination when they selected witnesses to testify against Sonia Sotomayor at her confirmation hearing next week. They invited the legal experts New Haven firefighters, and they invited a Bush appointee who warned of Arab internment, and, it seems, they invited someone who wouldn't have been happy with any pro-choice nominee of any stripe.

"For all the President's talk of finding 'common ground,' this appointment completely contradicts that hollow promise," said Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, when Obama announced his first Supreme Court pick.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor's judicial philosophy undermines common ground. She is a radical pick that divides America. She believes the role of the Court is to set policy which is exactly the philosophy that led to the Supreme Court turning into the National Abortion Control Board denying the American people to right to be heard on this critical issue....

A vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor as the next Supreme Court Justice is a vote to strip Americans of the ability to choose for themselves how to regulate abortion.

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It now looks like the grand saga of the New York state Senate, which involved the chamber coming to a halt as two Democrats flipped control of the chamber by joining up with the Republicans, is now coming to an end. And it has a very amusing denouement.

State Sen. Pedro Espada, a Bronx Democrat who had joined up with the Republicans in exchange for them making him state Senate President, is now returning to the Democratic caucus in a new role -- as Majority Leader! Espada told the New York Post that he has a "handshake deal" to return to the Dems in his new leadership position. His fellow renegade in this whole operation, Queens state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, had previously gone back to the Dems, too.

This is now Espada's fourth party switch in his career. Back in 2002, he'd switched from the Democrats to supporting Republican control, then was defeated for re-election by a Dem. Then last year he returned to the chamber as a Democrat from another district, then embarked on this whole adventure.

As Winston Churchill said of his own switch from the Conservative Party to the Liberals, then later back to the Conservatives: Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat. And in Sir Winston's defense, his switches took place over the course of 20 years, as various realignments of the British political system were going on. Espada, by contrast, has had the ingenuity to switch and re-switch in the course of weeks, after having already done it before.

In a now-infamous raid on a Democratic Congressional candidate's fundraiser, the San Diego Sheriff's Department used pepper spray and mobilized multiple patrol cars, a canine unit, and, to top it all off, even a police helicopter. All to subdue a small gathering of middle- and retirement-aged Democrats in a private home. It turns out the department has a program it calls ASTREA (Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies), after the Greek goddess of justice, and a penchant for photographing its choppers in action.


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Read the full coverage of the raid at TPMDC here.


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Another poll shows that Democrats start off with the advantage for the 2010 Ohio Senate race, which is expected to be a close competition for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. George Voinovich, with both Democrats leading Republican former Rep. Rob Portman.

The new numbers from Daily Kos/Research 2000: Lt. Gov Lee Fisher 42%, Portman 35%; Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner 40%, Portman 36%. This more or less corroborates a Quinnipiac poll from two days ago, with slight differences in the numbers.

In the Democratic primary, Fisher leads Brunner by 22%-17%, with "Undecided" at the head of the pack with a whopping 61%.

The undecided numbers are very high in both the primary and general match-ups, and the cycle has just barely started. The major question for this big swing state is what the economy and overall political environment will be like in 2010 -- and there's only one way to find out.

It looks like John Ensign's sexual dignity -- which hasn't been high lately -- has plunged to new depths. His lawyer has just released a remarkable statement saying that Ensign's parents paid the Hamptons $96,000 after the 51-year-old senator told his Mom and Dad about the affair.

The senator's father, Mike Ensign, is a casino mogul who sold his shares in the Mandalay Group for around $300 million earlier this decade.

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It looks like when Tom Coburn denied today that he urged his friend John Ensign to pay restitution to the family of the woman he had an affair with, the Oklahoma senator wasn't speaking just to Roll Call (sub. req.). Rather, in a sign of the potential trouble the story could represent for Coburn, he appears to have given an impromptu press conference, in what's likely to be a failed effort to nip it in the bud.

Politico reports that, along with his denial, Coburn had some choice words for Doug Hampton.

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