TPM News

Former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik was sentenced today to four years in prison for lying during his vetting to be secretary of homeland security and tax fraud charges arising in part from renovations on his apartment paid for by a company looking for a city license.

The sentence exceeded the 27 to 33 months sought by prosecutors.

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Sarah Palin's political appeal among the GOP base is undisputed, insofar as it applies to her own political fortunes -- but she might not be able to transfer her popularity to someone else.

Yesterday, in a posting on her Facebook account, Palin promoted a moneybomb fundraiser for Sean Duffy (R-WI), a district attorney and former Real World cast member running against longtime Democratic Rep. David Obey. "On this first anniversary of the stimulus, let's send a message to the big-spenders in Washington by helping Sean Duffy unseat the author of the stimulus," Palin wrote. "Let's put government back on our side and get to work revitalizing America!"

For his moneybomb, Duffy set a very low goal of only $25,000, which seemed like a depreciation of the "moneybomb" term compared to the events that usually attract six figures or even more -- and he still didn't get it. At midnight Central Time last night, the end of the original countdown on Duffy's site, the moneybomb had only taken in $24,585. As of this writing, he has $27,118.

Move over, Ann Coulter! Sarah Palin seems to have bumped the conservative queen from her most-favored status, if poster distribution at CPAC is any indication.

Young America's Foundation made these massive posters of Coulter and Palin and staffers are giving them away free to people who sign up for their mailing list.

Interested takers can get as many copies as they want of a Ronald Reagan "American values for all generations" calendar. They can take dozens of the free Obama posters with the words "Resist the Tyranny of Socialism" inscribed below or "Barack Obama Epic Fail" stickers, but you can only choose one top conservative gal.

TPMDC asked staffers which poster was more popular and they said they weren't keeping track, but we checked the stack and there was only one Palin left, and plenty of Coulter.

One YAF staffer admitted Palin was the hotter ticket item, and said he was disappointed she isn't speaking at CPAC.

Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio opened CPAC this morning, his speech peppered with standing ovations from the crowd. When he spoke about capturing terrorists, one audience member had a suggestion.

"Waterboard them!" the man yelled.

Rubio smiled, and the audience laughed.

"We will capture them," he went on. "We will get useful information from them," he said, to more laughter.

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Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is suing the Environmental Protection Agency in a bid to stop it from regulating global warming pollution. The centerpiece of his argument? Those leaked "Climate-Gate" emails.

Last year, the governor -- who faces a contested GOP primary race, which includes a Tea-Party-backed candidate who has lately caught fire -- raised the threat of seceding from the union. And on Tuesday, he opened a new front in his quest to tout his conservative bona fides.

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The new Rasmussen poll of Indiana, the first survey of the Senate race here since Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh suddenly announced his retirement, finds the two most prominent potential Dem replacement candidates trailing the Republicans.

Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsowrth trails former GOP Sen. Dan Coats by 46%-32%, trails former Rep. John Hostettler by 46%-27%, and trails state Sen. Marlin Stutzman by 40%-30%. Democratic Rep. Baron Hill is behind Coats by 48%-32%, trails Hostettler by 49%-31%, and is behind Stutzman by 41%-33%.

Neither Ellsworth nor Hill are officially in the race at this time, and an actual campaign would likely boost the eventual candidate's name recognition and poll numbers somewhat. But for now, at least, the Democrats appear to start out this open-seat contest significantly behind.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) has become the 16th Democratic senator to sign a letter calling for passing a public health care option via reconciliation.

Lautenberg's office confirmed to TPMDC that he signed the letter, which was written by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and will be sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Passing the provision via reconciliation would require 51 votes.

Earlier today, Sen. Barbara Mikulski signed the letter.

You can read the letter here.

Americans United For Change has a new radio ad up in Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) district, hammering the Congresswoman for saying that the country should "wean" people off of Social Security and Medicare.

"Congresswoman Bachmann actually said we should be 'weaned' off our Social Security and Medicare," a woman says. "She wants to privatize Social Security and replaced Medicare with some kind of voucher system that won't even cover the full cost of medical care or prescriptions."

This radio ad could leave the impression that Bachmann would want to take current retirees or those about to retire out of the system. From her previous statements, it would appear that she would preserve the program for those people who already receiving benefits.

To be exact, Bachmann said: "So, what you have to do, is keep faith with the people that are already in the system, that don't have any other options, we have to keep faith with them. But basically what we have to do is wean everybody else off. And wean everybody off because we have to take those unfunded net liabilities off our bank sheet, we can't do it."

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