TPM News

You might think that an oil spill of historic proportions that's just 50 miles from U.S. shores might create a groundswell of support in Congress for legislation designed to reduce the country's reliance on fossil fuels. But you'd be wrong.

In the peculiar world of the United States Senate, the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe has actually intensified existing divisions, drawing offshore drilling foes into growing conflict with oil patch Democrats and industry friendly members, who continue to support exploration, and incentives, for new drilling.

With oil still gushing from the well at a calamitous pace, a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, furious Senators threatened Tuesday to block any climate and energy bill that would lead to more drilling off the U.S. coast.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Fire In The Gulf: New Pictures Of The Deepwater Horizon]

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In the final result of a trio of competitive Senate primaries tonight, the AP is reporting that Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher easily beat Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to win the Democratic nomination tonight.

The result pits Fisher against former Rep. Rob Portman (R) in a battle for the open seat vacated by Sen. George Voinovich (R). The TPM Poll Average of that matchup shows that race to be a dead heat, with Fisher leading by a margin of 40.5-39.2.

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The Associated Press has declared that no candidate has reached the 40% threshold required to win the Democratic Senate primary in North Carolina. That means that the top two winners, secretary of state Elaine Marshall and Iraq War vet Cal Cunningham, will face voters again on June 22.

Elaine Marshall, who lost her bid for the nomination in 2002, received the most votes, though not enough to win the nomination outright. Cunningham, who had the support of national Democrats, fared more poorly in the contest than his supporters might have hoped, according to early returns. Attorney Ken Lewis, who had the support of many of the state's most prominent African American leaders, failed to break 20% by the time the AP called the race.

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There were no surprises in the Indiana Republican Senate primary tonight. Former Senator Dan Coats, who drew fire from conservatives in the final weeks of the primary fight, has been declared his party's nominee, according to both the AP and the Indianapolis Star.

He defeated tea party favorite Marlin Stutzman and Rep. John Hostettler -- who had the endorsement of Ron Paul -- to win his party's nod.

The stage is now set for an open seat battle few expected at the start of the cycle. When Sen. Evan Bayh (D) announced his retirement in February, a race most said was the Democratic party's to lose became a toss-up that some experts say now leans in favor of the GOP. But before Coats can return to Washington a Senator after more than a decade out of office, he'll have to defeat the man who Democrats say has what it takes to keep the seat on their side of the aisle: presumptive nominee Rep. Brad Ellsworth.

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President Obama was first briefed on the attempted Times Square bombing -- which was discovered about 6:30 p.m. Saturday -- at 10:50 that night, according to a White House official.

Administration officials, who today detailed the president's involvement in the attempted attack over the past few days, said White House officials, National Security Staff and the NYPD were in touch before the president was notified.

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The Democrats really aren't going to let Sue Lowden forget the "Chickens For Checkups" stuff.

Earlier today, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent some volunteers to demonstrate outside a Lowden fundraiser in Washington, D.C. One volunteer was dressed up in a chicken-suit, in recognition of Lowden's promotion of the barter system as a means of lowering health care costs, and her discussion of how her grandparents' generation would bring a chicken to the doctor for payment. Another was dressed up as a doctor, with a sign saying "Don't Take Lobbyist $$ Barter."

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Another attempted terror attack, another chance for Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) to try to gain a political advantage.

In recent years, the New York Republican has gained a reputation for demagoguing every terror incident by hyping the threat of radical Islam and suggesting that Democrats' policies are putting Americans' lives at risk. And now he's back at it.

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It looks like Fox News v. White House is heating up again...

Ex-FEMA director Michael Brown said on Fox News last night the Obama administration wanted the oil spill to happen -- and let it get really bad before stepping in so they'd have a good reason to scrap offshore drilling.

Today, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs struck back.

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