TPM News

The Tea Party Express, a division of Our Country Deserves Better PAC, has rolled out its "guidelines," or initial talking points, for the nomination of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.

Technically, the group has taken no position on Kagan herself, saying that the group is in a "fact-gathering mode." But their guideline principles lay out a set of rules about smaller government, and the message should be clear. For example: "Judges must understand that the Federal government has no power if the Constitution does not explicitly provide it."

The between-the-lines message: The new health care reform law should be declared unconstitutional.

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In Alabama, a state PAC recently went on the air with an ad attacking one of the Republican gubernatorial candidates for supporting the teaching of evolution in schools and for saying that parts of the Bible aren't true.

The candidate, Bradley Byrne, responded with a lengthy press release vehemently defending his belief in creationism and the infallible truth of the Bible.

"As a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God," Byrne wrote. "As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school text books. Those who attack me have distorted, twisted and misrepresented my comments and are spewing utter lies to the people of this state."

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Brad Goehring, a Republican candidate for Congress in California's 11th district, stirred up some controversy earlier today with a post on his Facebook page that advocated for hunting liberals, a local political blog reports.

"If I could issue hunting permits, I would officially declare today opening day for liberals. The season would extend through November 2 and have no limits on how many taken as we desperately need to 'thin' the herd," wrote Goehring.

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Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) -- who lost his renomination bid at last weekend's Utah GOP convention -- might still run for Senate again this year. He hasn't ruled it out yet.

Asked today about the possibility of running as a write-in candidate this fall, Bennett didn't say no.

"I've made no decisions to make a decision," Bennett said, adding that he would decide "later."

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Tomorrow will be a big day for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, with Crist switching parties from Republican to independent -- really, it will be official this time on a legal document.

Of course, Crist filed two weeks ago to run for Senate as an independent. Tomorrow, however, he will visit the Pinellas County elections office, during a visit to his hometown of St. Petersburg, and formally change his personal voter registration to independent, as well.

At the time, his campaign indicated that the governor intended to change his registration to independent, as well -- thus the use of "(I-FL)" in association with his name ever since. But tomorrow it will be official.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said today that if the votes are there, he'll include a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in this year's Defense Authorization bill -- despite a warning from Defense Secretary Robert Gates not to.

Gay rights advocates want Levin and other Democrats to include repeal in the authorization bill, which will go through committee markup later this month. They say it's the only way to get repeal this year.

Gates, however, has told Congress that he would "strongly oppose" legislating repeal before a Department of Defense review is finished in December.

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In an appearance on Top Line today, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) expressed his confidence in Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan -- pending a thorough examination of her writings, speeches, and "a raft of other things."

"She's a very intelligent, interesting person, and I suspect she'll do just fine," he said. "But we're gonna have to really scrutinize it because this is a really important position."

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Two key Congressional primaries are going on tonight. At stake is whether a long-time Democratic Congressman gets thrown out by his party's voters, and also who will end up filling a safe GOP seat.

In West Virginia's First Congressional District, 14-term Rep. Alan Mollohan is facing a strong Democratic challenge from state Sen. Mike Oliverio, who is hammering Mollohan over a recently concluded ethics investigation into the congressman's financial disclosures and earmarks -- no charges were filed, and federal authorities closed the case. In Georgia's 9th Congressional District, Six Republicans, one Democrat and one independent are vying to replace GOP Rep. Nathan Deal, who resigned in March in order to focus on his campaign for governor.

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The last time Sen. Arlen Specter faced re-election, it was 2004, Specter was a Republican and George W. Bush was president. Bush came out to do a rally for Specter, whose campaign used the footage for a thirty-second ad.

In the ad, Bush bounds on stage, sings Specter's praises, then the two clasp hands (with Rick Santorum) in a gesture of impending victory.

Six years later, Specter is a Democrat and Barack Obama is president. After an Obama rally, the Specter camp used footage for a campaign ad: Stage, praises, and the two clasp hands in a gesture of impending victory.

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