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Remember Rusty DePass, the South Carolina Republican activist and former state elections director who apologized yesterday after he joked on Facebook that an escaped gorilla from a local zoo was an ancestor of Michelle Obama? It turns out that he recently had another important job: Promoting racial diversity in the city of Columbia.

The State points out that DePass served a three-year term on the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council. The council's mission statement is to promote: "positive relationships within the community"; "equal opportunity and fair services for all members of the community"; and "awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity."

An administrative assistant for the council tells us that a person becomes a board member by being appointed by either the city, the county or the local Chamber of Commerce, with each group appointing ten members. It was not immediately known which group appointed DePass.

A new Rasmussen poll in Pennsylvania finds that both the newly-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter and his primary challenger, Rep. Joe Sestak, lead Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey for the 2010 Senate general election.

The numbers: Specter is ahead of Toomey 50%-39%, while Sestak leads Toomey 41%-35%, with the higher undecided numbers presumably coming from Sestak having lower name recognition than Specter with his nearly 30 years in the Senate. The margin of error is ±4.5%.

Specter has a favorable rating of 53%, to 43% unfavorable. Sestak's favorable ratings are 42%-33%, and Toomey's are at 50%-35%.

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) has backed off from some of his Twitter posts yesterday, in which he seemingly compared the oppression of Iranian dissidents with the plight of House Republicans.

About ten hours ago, Culberson Tweeted this:

Restrictions against dissent in US House cannot be compared to restrictions imposed on Iranian population by their tyrant government


Yesterday, Culberson's take had been a bit different. "Good to see Iranian people move mountains w social media, shining sunlight on their repressive govt - Texans support their bid for freedom," he initially Tweeted. He then followed it up with: "Oppressed minorities includeHouseRepubs: We are using social media to expose repression such as last night's D clampdown shutting off amends," and then extensively posted about Nancy Pelosi shutting off Republican amendments.

Here's a fun epilogue to Rep. Pete Hoekstra's (R-MI) phenomenally entertaining Twitter post yesterday, in which he said, "Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House."

The statement generated lot of ridicule in the blogosphere, and some really funny jokes in the Twitter community.

Yesterday afternoon, Hoekstra's spokesman gave this statement to CNN:

"Congressman Hoekstra did not compare the ongoing violence in Iran to when Democrats shut down the House chamber during the energy debate last summer," said spokesman Dave Yonkman. "The two situations do share the similarity of government leadership attempting to limit debate and deliberation, and the ability of new technologies to bypass their efforts and allow for direct communication. That's the only point that he was trying to make."

OK, it sounds like Chuck Grassley isn't satisfied with the White House's explanation for why it fired the AmeriCorps inspector general.

White House ethics lawyer Norm Eisen met personally with the Iowa GOP senator and his staff yesterday morning, to go over the reasons for the firing of the IG, Bush appointee Gerald Walpin. Eisen had first detailed those reasons in a letter to Congress sent Tuesday night.

But in a new letter sent last night to Eisen's boss, White House counsel Greg Craig, Grassley writes that in that meeting, Eisen "refused to answer several direct questions posed to him about the representations made in his letter."

Grassley went on to lay out a new list of questions, essentially asking for a step-by-step walk-through of how the decision to fire Walpin was made. For instance, he wants Craig to tell him in writing:

Specifically, which CNCS Board members came forward with concerns about Mr. Walpin's ability to serve as the Inspector General?


And:
Which witnesses were interviewed in the course of Mr. Eisen's review?


And:
What efforts were made during Mr. Eisen's review to obtain both sides of the story or to afford the Office of Inspector General an opportunity to be heard?


As we noted yesterday, Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat who had earlier raised concerns that the White House hadn't explained to Congress its reasons for the firing, indicated yesterday that, in light of the White House's letter, she's now largely satisfied.

Grassley, not so much. On to the next round...

Bush Hits Obama On Gitmo During a speech yesterday in Pennsylvania, former President George W. Bush deviated from his previous declarations that he would not criticize President Obama. "I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," he said. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet with Vice President Biden at 1 p.m. ET. At 3:15 p.m. ET, the two of them will meet with George Mitchell, the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. At 4 p.m. ET, Obama will meet with Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner. At 7 p.m. ET, Obama will speak at a DSCC/DCCC fundraising dinner.

Read More →

A photo uploaded to Twitter purporting to show a pro-Mousavi rally on June 17. Tens of thousands of supporters came out to march through the streets of Tehran on Wednesday in direct defiance of a government ban on such rallies. Foreign reporters were forbidden from attending or covering the protest.

Twitpic/madyar



A photo uploaded to Twitter purporting to show a pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Twitpic/madyar



A photo uploaded to Twitter purporting to show a pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Twitpic/madyar



A photo uploaded to Twitter purporting to show a pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Twitpic/madyar



A photo uploaded to Twitter purporting to show a pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Twitpic/madyar



A photo uploaded to Twitter purporting to show a pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Twitpic/madyar



A photo uploaded to Twitter purporting to show a pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Twitpic/madyar



An injured protester. This photograph was uploaded to Twitter on June 17, but it is unclear when it was taken.

Twitpic/madyar



A pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Newscom/UPI



A pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Newscom/SIPA



A pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Newscom/SIPA



A pro-Mousavi rally on June 17.

Newscom/UPI



A pro-Ahmadinejad rally on June 16.

Newscom/SIPA



A pro-Ahmadinejad rally on June 16.

Newscom/SIPA

Front view of the house owned by former Ensign staffers Douglas and Cynthia Hampton.

VHT

Bonus Room.

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Living Room.

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Office.

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Loft.

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Pool.

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Wine cellar.

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Bedroom.

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Master bedroom.

VHT

Master bathroom.

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Kitchen.

VHT

Family room.

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Dining room.

VHT

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