TPM News

Former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is running a conservative campaign for his state's open Senate seat, has just put up this post on Twitter, commenting on today's Apple product updates:

I am for progress, but this new iPhone every 6 months is ridiculous. What new features does new one have? Can it vote in a senate race?

For the record, Rubio has indicated in previous Tweets that he is a big Mac-head: "This is an apple household. WE have iphones, MAC and Apple TV!"

Rush Limbaugh keeps on managing to up the ante when it comes to bashing President Obama. And this time, his rhetoric has become expressly racial.

While bashing Newsweek editor Evan Thomas for saying last week that Obama was attempting to be "sort of God" in his approach to international relations -- that is, moving beyond a single-minded American approach and thinking globally -- Limbaugh then made a reference to Obama's racial background as a seemingly disqualifying factor.

Said Limbaugh: "It is offensive to the sensibilities of millions of people to hear a member of the state-run media refer to a half-black, half-white human being with no experience running anything of substance referred to as a god. He may be president of the United States, but he's not a god."

Former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH), who lost renomination in the GOP primary back in 2002, is now seeking a comeback for Senate -- in Florida, the state to which he moved after his loss back in '02!

Smith has now announced that he is running for the Republican-held seat of Sen. Mel Martinez, who is retiring in 2010, decrying moderate frontrunner Gov. Charlie Crist as a "movement away from our core conservative values." And regarding the insurgent conservative former state House speaker Marco Rubio: "Leadership is not about counting votes and making compromises."

Smith doesn't seem like he's likely to catch fire. Besides, this little fact should certainly count against him in a Republican primary: During the 2004 election, he endorsed John Kerry for President.

Even if Smith were to somehow win the Republican nomination, the history of ex-Senators seeking comebacks in different states than they'd previously represented is not in any way a bright one. Sen. James Buckley (R/Conservative-NY) was defeated in 1976 and then sought a comeback in the 1980 Connecticut election; and Sen. Bill Brock (R-TN), who also lost re-election in 1976, ran as the Republican nominee for Senate from Maryland in 1986. Both of them lost the general elections by double-digit margins.

The Detroit Bureau reports that an idea seems to be picking up some cachet on the right-wing blogs and in talk radio: Fighting the "Government Motors" bailout by boycotting the company. Most of it so far is limited to relatively little-known writers, but two big names have picked up on it: Hugh Hewitt, who wants to save free enterprise -- and Rush Limbaugh, who wants anything President Obama does to fail, and is urging his listeners to help push towards that goal.

"In the effort to reverse this lurch beyond the farthest left fringe of previous Democratic statist urges, individual Americans have a role to play. They have to say no to GM products and services until such time as the denationalization occurs," says Hugh Hewitt. He acknowledges that this is a serious step that could hurt people currently working for GM: "But there isn't any alternative, every dollar spent with GM is a dollar spent against free enterprise. Every car or truck purchased from Government Motors is one not purchased from a private car company that competes fairly against all other car companies."

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For years now, torture supporters have been using the "ticking time-bomb" scenario to argue that it's irresponsible to issue a blanket ban on torture. If we knew that a bomb was set to explode imminently, goes the argument, and that torture could help obtain information to avert the disaster and save hundreds of lives, who wouldn't do it?

This has always borne more relation to an episode of 24 than to the actual war on terror. Even torture supporters have admitted that no such ticking time-bomb case has ever occurred. But it looks like we may now be confronted with a version of it in a very different context -- and this time, it's hard not to notice that those same torture supporters don't seem to be rushing to call for the waterboard just yet.

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Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that Justice Department lawyers agreed in 2005 that harsh interrogation techniques were legal. The impact of the story -- which was based largely on email messages written at the time by James Comey, then a high-ranking Justice Department official -- has been, it seems, to bolster the Dick Cheney position in the ongoing torture debate in Washington.

But the Times also, to its credit, released Comey's emails in full, allowing us all to make our own judgments about what they show. And after a close look at the emails, it seems clear that the paper could have used them to write a very different story -- with a very different effect on the public debate.

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Two new polls in tomorrow's Democratic primary for Governor of Virginia confirm that state Sen. Creigh Deeds now has the big momentum, charging way ahead of the previous frontrunner, former DNC chairman (and a colorful political figure if there ever was one) Terry McAuliffe.

From Public Policy Polling (D): Deeds 40%, McAuliffe 26%, and former state Del. Brian Moran 24%, with a ±3% margin of error. Last week, the numbers had been Deeds 27%, McAuliffe 24%, Moran 22%, with a ±4.1% margin of error.

And from SurveyUSA: Deeds 42%, McAuliffe 30%, Moran 21%, with a ±4.3% margin of error. Last week, the numbers had been McAuliffe 35%, Deeds 29%, Moran 26%, with a ±4.4% margin of error.

McAuliffe has led in this race for quite a while, thanks to a superior fundraising and advertising effort. Next up in the money race was Moran...and Deeds was the third man in the race. But then Moran began to attack McAuliffe, thus sullying McAuliffe but not actually benefitting himself. Deeds was the true beneficiary -- and right on time, too, with a run of positive ads and big newspaper endorsement in the home stretch.

There's no shortage of Republicans loudly proclaiming that the GOP has to get up to speed using Internet technology, particularly on blogs and the ubiquitous micro-blogging service, Twitter. This isn't necessarily the easiest thing for a party whose officeholders (and voter base) are geared heavily towards the upper age ranges -- just look at Norm Coleman's advice for the GOP to compete on the "ethernet."

But there's one 75-year old U.S. Senator whose aggressive Twittering shows that sometimes the solution can have as many complications as the problem. Fifth-term Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) not only uses his handy Blackberry to Twitter almost non-stop messages, but he's even learned to do so in a whole other language -- the online vernacular of a texting thirteen-year old.

Check out this morning's message:

My carbon footprint is abt 25per cent of Al Gore. I'm greener than Al Gore. Is that enuf?

There is something endearing about the fact that Grassley, a septuagenarian U.S. Senator and truly an elder statesman of Iowa politics, so baldly puts his whims and thoughts out there for the public at large. Quite frankly, if a staffer had done this in a Senator's name, he or she would risk getting fired. But no, the Senator himself does it.

Check out some of Grassley's greatest hits, after the jump.

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Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who had been publicly mulling a 2010 Senate campaign for the seat formerly held by President Obama -- and currently held by Roland Burris -- has put out this YouTube, announcing that she will not be making the race, after all:

Schakowsky said that her polling and travels around the state convinced her that she could have won -- but the pressures of raising enough money would have distracted her from her work in progress on issues like health care. "I feel confident that I could raise the $10 million dollars needed for a primary race -- and the $16 million plus needed for a general election campaign," she said, "but to do it I would have to become a telemarketer five to six hours each day."

State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is currently running in the Democratic primary, and businessman Chris Kennedy -- a son of Robert Kennedy -- is expected to get in soon. Roland Burris has not announced whether he will run.