TPM News

A Hardin, Montana official who has been the public face of the town's controversial prison contract with American Private Police Force (APPF) is now expressing serious concerns about the deal.

Yesterday, Al Peterson of the Two Rivers Authority (TRA), the city's economic development agency, sent an email to Michael Hilton of APPF and to the TRA's board members, declaring:

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Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, the Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey, was just attacked this morning by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, for being afraid to come on Morning Joe.

Scarborough, who is himself a former Republican Congressman from Florida, was interviewing Christie's rival, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine today.

"And by the way, we always get flooded with e-mails, whenever we have the Governor on -- why don't we have Chris Christie on? The answer's very simple: 'cause he won't come on," said Scarborough. "We've asked him, and we ask you again, Christie. I don't know -- I mean, my God, if you can't handle us, you can't handle Mike Barnicle, you sure as Hell can't handle the state of New Jersey."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) criticized Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal on Charlie Rose last night for going public in London last week with his assessment of the war in Afghanistan -- which he believes requires tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops for victory.

"Let me say this about Gen. McChrystal, with all due respect," Pelosi said. "His recommendation to the President should go up the line of command. They shouldn't be in press conferences."

"That's not where this debate takes place," Pelosi added.

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Sheila Johnson, a supporter of Republican candidate Bob McDonnell in the Virginia Senate race, has apologized for making fun of Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds for stuttering.

"Two weeks ago I made reference to Creigh Deeds's inability to clearly communicate effective solutions to the serious problems facing Virginia," Johnson said yesterday evening in a statement sent to the Politico. "I shouldn't have done it in the manner in which I did and for that I apologize for any offense he, or others, may have taken."

Initially, the McDonnell campaign did not apologize, but had released a statement saying in part: "Creigh Deeds has never had a problem voicing his false attacks about Bob McDonnell. What he has had difficulty expressing is any positive vision for Virginia's future. Democratic businesswoman Sheila Johnson was noting that fact."

In a very positive development for national Republicans, Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) will be running for Senate in 2010, in the November special election for Vice President Joe Biden's former Senate seat, and he will make his announcement at noon.

A GOP source has confirmed the news to TPM.

Castle has never lost a race during his political career of more than 40 years, serving in the state legislature, as Lt. governor, governor, and as the state's lone member of the House. A recent Rasmussen poll had him leading a likely appointment, state Attorney General Beau Biden (son of Joe Biden), by 47%-42%.

It's way too early to make any firm predictions about this race, as both candidates have their pluses and minuses. But this should definitely be a competitive race, and a potential pick-up for the GOP as they seek to bring the Democrats below 60 seats again.

As I reported yesterday, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) is putting the screws to his primary opponent, incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) by launching a website tying Specter to his 30 year record as a Republican.

The site, which bares a non-coincidental resemblance to Specters actual campaign site, has since gone live; you visit it here. Perhaps most damningly, it includes one image tying Specter to liberal bete noir Sarah Palin.

A letter from the Sestak campaign warns, "This election, Pennsylvania will have a choice between a principled, accountable leader for the next generation or two long-time Republicans." (Whoever wins the Democratic Senate primary will face conservative Pat Toomey in the general election.)

"What's a little pain when you can party?" Tom DeLay told the judges who cooed over his dual foot fracture last night on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.

Clad in a bedazzled shirt featuring an elephant, DeLay tried his hardest to push through the pain, but still he and partner Cheryl Burke (in a sparkling dress with a donkey applique) only managed to earn 15 out of 30 possible points from the judges.

DeLay's daughter Dani told supporters in an email right before the show that he was planning a "sassy" Samba that was a political spoof choreographed by Cheryl. It wasn't quite sassy, as they "danced" around the stage to the tune of "Why can't we be friends."

As we noted last week, injuries have hurt DeLay with the judges, and he revealed last night he now has stress fractures in both feet.

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Former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio, the insurgent conservative candidate in the Republican primary for Senate, has had a decent third fundraising quarter -- though he is still decidedly an underdog.

Rubio's campaign has announced raising nearly $1 million, a marked improvement from their mere $340,000 last quarter.

The frontrunner in the race, moderate Gov. Charlie Crist, has not yet announced his haul. The Tampa Bay Tribune says that his supporters are speculating about a figure of $2 million -- but also notes that the Crist camp seriously lowballed their estimates last quarter, when he raised over $4 million.

Finally, some good news for California sex braggart "Hot Mike" Duvall...

Attorney General Jerry Brown says he won't investigate Duvall's claim, captured on a hot mike, to be having an affair with a woman identified as a lobbyist for an energy company. Until he resigned in the wake of the scandal, Duvall, a Republican, had been vice chair of the state legislative committee that oversees energy issues.

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We've known for a long time now that, as soon as the Senate Finance Committee reports out a health care bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid, along with Finance chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Senate HELP Committee chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), and White House officials will sit down to produce a single piece of legislation to bring to the floor.

And we've known for a long time now that the White House's role in the negotiations will be key. Already, Senate aides are letting it be known that the White House will have to lead on all the issues around which Democrats have been unable to find consensus--issues like the public option.

So which White House players are likely to be in the room? Roll Call reports:

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