TPM News

Notorious anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio is working with a husband-and-wife GOP lawyer team that was one of Bill Clinton's biggest tormentors during the 90s, to go after a local Arizona official. But critics are calling the effort a politically motivated fishing expedition. And the defense lawyer on the case knows something about politicized justice: he was one of the US attorneys improperly fired by Alberto Gonzales.

Here's the back-story. It's got a few twists and turns. But stay with us -- it's worth it:

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Two men were arrested when police found a pipe bomb, two shotguns, bomb-making materials, ammunition, a can of propane and SWAT costumes in their car Tuesday night in New Haven, Conn.

So far the police don't have a clear sense of what the pair were planning to do, New Haven Police spokesman Officer Joe Avery told TPM.

"They're not talking much," Avery said.

Police received a call just before midnight about a suspicious car with weapons on the backseat, he said. Police surrounded the car, a Mercedes, and pulled the two men out. A bomb squad detonated the pipe bomb.

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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is about to embark on a major fundraising push, with several top dollar events scheduled in the coming weeks, but one in particular caught TPMDC's eye.

That's an Oct. 30 fundraiser hosted by former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington in the state's Camelback Mountain. Symington was convicted of bank and wire fraud and resigned in 1997, but the conviction was overturned and President Clinton pardoned him in 2001.

The event is listed on a document circulated among donors and obtained by TPMDC listing several upcoming fundraisers for Republican Senate candidates.

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In today's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama will be traveling to multiple countries in Asia in November.

Here's the itinerary according to Gibbs:

November 12-13: Tokyo, Japan November 13-15: Singapore, for a meeting of 10 Southeast Asian nations November 15-18: Beijing and Shanghai, China November 18-19: Seoul, South Korea

Gibbs noted that while Obama is not visiting Indonesia on this trip, he spoke with President Susilo Yudhoyono at the recent G20 summit in Pittsburgh about his intention to visit the country next year.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) will have at least one Republican opponent soon, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Armando Gutierrez Jr., a 28-year old South Florida real-estate developer, is expected to announce soon that he's running against the freshman Democrat. Gutierrez's father has had a major presence in the Cuban-American political scene, though that has more to do with Miami than Grayson's district Orlando.

Gutierrez could bring money to the table, to compete with Grayson's own deep pockets, but he would also face the accusation of being a carpetbagger -- he only registered to vote in the district last month.

Other possible GOP candidates could also be on the horizon.

Late Update: It should be noted that the St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday that former state Sen. Dan Webster, one of the GOP's top prospects for the race, has registered a Web address at, but has not officially become a candidate at this time.

President Obama will be raising money for businessman Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate in the NY-23 special election, the Watertown Daily Times reports.

Obama will meet with about 50 people during an upcoming fundraiser in New York City, and will discuss the race and promote Owens.

The upstate seat became open when Obama appointed GOP Rep. John McHugh as Secretary of the Army. Owens is in a three-way race with moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. The special election will be held on November 3.

Montana State Sen. Greg Barkus, who crashed his boat in a lake with four passengers aboard, including Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), was charged today with one count of criminal endangerment and two counts of negligent vehicular assault, the Flathead county attorney's office confirmed to TPMmuckraker.

The charges, which can be read in full here, allege that Barkus was drunk on the night of August 27 and that his actions on Flathead Lake endangered the life of Rehberg.

Reached at his home this afternoon by TPMmuckraker, Barkus said he had not heard of the charges, all of which are felonies. He said he had no comment on the matter.

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A new survey of North Carolina by Public Policy Polling (D) illustrates just how polarized people have become in terms of their politics -- and where they get their news.

President Obama's overall approval rating in North Carolina, state that he won narrowly, currently stands at 45% approval to 49% disapproval, according to this survey. The poll also asked: "When you watch cable news do you prefer CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC?" The answer was Fox 49%, CNN 31%, and MSNBC 13%, plus 7% who don't watch cable news.

Note that Obama's disapproval matches the percentage or respondents who watch Fox. Another way to look at it, from PPP: "Obama's NC approval with Fox News watchers: 18%. Approval with everyone else: 72%."

Now which came first: The chicken, or the egg?


Obama Prepares For DHS Shutdown

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama convened a meeting with key administration officials on Friday…