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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) considers the passing of the Civil Rights Act one of the most important and "formative" events in his career. And that's why, a McConnell spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Ben Smith, the senator is "glad to hear" Rand Paul supports it too.

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) appeared on MSNBC this afternoon and really laid into Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul over his criticism of the Civil Rights Act -- and the fact that Paul held his victory party Tuesday at a country club.

"I was absolutely appalled," Clyburn said.

"I could not believe that he was holding his victory party in a private members-only club where the vast majority of the people who just finished voting for him would not even be welcome," Clyburn said. "I couldn't believe that."

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In a stunning move last night, the Staten Island GOP executive committee nominated former Rep. Vito Fossella to run for his old House seat.

Fossella, who chose not to run for re-election in 2008 after he admitted to fathering a child with his mistress, was not at the executive committee meeting. During the meeting, the committee interviewed two other candidates, Michael Allegretti and Michael Grimm, before voting overwhelmingly to nominate Fossella.

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Giddy Republicans itching to take back the House this fall should be warned by the Democratic win in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional district, DCCC Chairman Rep. Chris Van Hollen said today.

"The hype about this being another 1994 hit the brick wall," Van Hollen (D-MD) said at a briefing with reporters today at the DNC headquarters. His argument is that the Republicans poured massive cash into the closely divided district, and lost by a wide margin despite the big effort. What's more, the GOP had boasted this would be an easy district to win and consultants were telling reporters as late as poll closing time Tuesday they thought they'd scored a victory.

"They went all in on this race ... they did a test run of their strategy and it crashed and failed," Van Hollen said. He admitted it remains a tough political year for the majority party, and declined to speculate just how many seats the Democrats would lose in November. But he said the GOP won't win back the House in part because their candidates are being pushed to the extreme right by the tea party movement.

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Sen. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who backed Rand Paul in his Senate primary, today refused to comment to Think Progress about Paul's critiques of the Civil Rights Act.

"I haven't seen the interview yet," DeMint said. "I'm gonna talk to Rand about his positions there before I talk to you."

DeMint also said that he supports the Civil Rights Act.

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Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) has some strong words for fellow Bluegrass State politician Rand Paul (R). Just a day after Paul handily won the Republican Senate nomination, Yarmuth said the tea party favorite has tarnished Kentucky's image with his highly publicized comments about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

"Rand Paul has already embarrassed Kentuckians in the eyes of the world," Yarmouth said in a statement. "The Commonwealth deserves better because we are better - and I call on Mitch McConnell and my other colleagues in the Kentucky Congressional Delegation to join me in condemning his despicable views."

Yarmouth called Paul's libertarian take on the landmark 1964 law -- Paul takes issue with portions of the legislation banning discrimination in private businesses -- "simply appalling."

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Sometimes a "no comment" tells you all you need to know. Such is the case with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) who, as chairman of the NRSC, is responsible for getting Rand Paul--critic of the Civil Right's Act--a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Just off the Senate floor this afternoon, I asked Cornyn for his response to Paul's lengthy comments on MSNBC last night. He demurred: "I haven't heard it, so I'm really not in a position to comment."

I explained Paul's stated view that, while morally wrong, private businesses should be permitted by law to discriminate based on race, sexual orientation, or disability. Once again, no comment.

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The headline: "Miss USA: Muslim Trailblazer Or Hezbollah Spy?"

CNN changed the headline on its news blog to "Is Miss USA a Muslim Trailblazer?" They then removed the story from the news blog entirely, but it's still up on CNN's brand new religion blog with the original headline. The religion blog, called "Belief," was launched yesterday.

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Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), who was defeated for renomination at his state Republican convention nearly two weeks ago, has announced that he will not try to hold on to office through a write-in campaign.

"I will not run a write-in campaign for the Senate race in Utah," said Bennett, who was successfully targeted for defeat at his party convention by the Club For Growth and the Tea Party movement, due to his having voted for the TARP bailout and having worked on a health care reform proposal with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Bennett was first elected to the Senate in 1992, and has served for three terms. When he lost at the state GOP convention earlier this month, Bennett became the first incumbent Senator to lose re-election in the 2010 cycle, followed this week by Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter in his Democratic primary. The eventual Republican nominee in this deep-red state will be determined in a June 22 primary between attorney Mike Lee and businessman Tim Bridgewater, who both defeated Bennett for spots on the ballot under the Utah convention process.