TPM News

With the passage of an amendment this afternoon to change the way the Democrats' proposed Wall Street reforms would wind down failed financial institutions, the debate is truly, finally, on. Now all that's left is for Democrats to blast through 100 or so separate amendments in the next few days to meet their goal of finishing up work on the bill by early next week.

That wouldn't be so hard under ideal circumstances: Democratic and Republican negotiators could sift through the pile, eliminate redundancies, toss out non-germane proposals, combine others into a managers amendment, and hold up or down votes on the remaining batch.

But in this highly partisan atmosphere, a single objection at a key moment could set things back for days, and that would leave Democratic leadership forced to choose between pushing back their deadline, or retracting their promise to allow an open amendment process.

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Fox News host Neil Cavuto delivered an impassioned defense of ex-FEMA chief Michael Brown today, asserting that Brown never said that the White House was behind the Gulf Coast oil spill.

As we have previously reported, Brown accused the administration of playing "pure politics" with the spill and delaying its response so it had an excuse to shut down offshore drilling.

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The Family Research Council sends over a statement on George Rekers, a co-founder of the group and leader of the ex-gay movement who was caught hiring a male escort. The council's president, Tony Perkins, denies his group has had any contact with Rekers over the past decade.

He also said it's "not surprising" when a "Christian leader engages in the very activities that they 'preach' against."

The full statement from Perkins:

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Scott Lee Cohen, the Chicago pawnbroker who dropped out of the Illinois lieutenant governor race only to announce this week that he's running for governor, said on MSNBC today that Democrats had forced him out of the race because he "stood for honesty and integrity."

"I was forced out by the Democratic Party," Cohen said today on MSNBC. "Because I wasn't the good ol' boy, I wasn't a career politician. I was a successful small business owner. I stood for honesty and integrity, something that Illinois politics doesn't know."

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Just two days after taking office, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu held a press conference today to announce he has asked the Justice Department to intervene and force a "complete transformation" of the city's troubled police department.

"I have inherited a police force that has been described by many as one of the worst police departments in the country. This assessment is made based on several indicators including the number of violent crimes, incidents of rape, and malfeasance by members of the police department," Landrieu wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.

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Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is not backing down. Americans who side with terrorists, he says, should lose their citizenship.

Lieberman has been making waves for the last day or so over his proposal to revoke the citizenship of Americans who become terrorists. Lieberman's push comes on the heels of naturalized American citizen Faisal Shahzad being charged in Saturday's failed Times Square car bomb attempt.

"If you're attacking your fellow Americans in an act of war you lose the rights that come with citizenship," Lieberman said yesterday.

And today, the senator from Connecticut isn't backing down.

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Now that Democratic primary for Senate in North Carolina is headed to a runoff, and political operatives in the state are expecting a close fight for support -- that is, among those voters who will actually show up for a second primary. And voters will have their choice between a well-know candidate with a long history in the state, and the alternative candidate who has the unofficial support of the national Dems and the sort of profile that appeals to younger activists.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall won 36% of the vote, followed by former state Senator and Iraq War veteran Cal Cunningham with 27%. North Carolina primaries have runoff elections if no candidate attains a 40% threshold, so this race will continue for another month and a half until the June 22 runoff, at which time Dems will then have a nominee to face GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

A Democratic source in North Carolina told TPMDC that Dems are expecting the race to be close all the way to June, and would be a contrast between Marshall, who was first elected statewide in 1996 and has cultivated a loyal following with the state's Democratic voters, with Cunningham's younger activist base who are looking for something relatively new.

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When George Alan Rekers, a cofounder along with James Dobson of the Family Research Council and a leader in the ex-gay movement, was caught walking off a plane from Europe with a young male prostitute, he first insisted that he didn't know the young man was an escort until halfway through their 10-day vacation.

"I had surgery," Rekers told the Miami New Times, which broke the story yesterday, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him."

Rekers had hired the escort, dubbed "Lucien" by the New Times, through the website (NSFW), a popular site that hosts ads for gay male escorts. There's little mistaking what the site is for.

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