TPM News

Speaking to reporters yesterday at the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference in St. Louis, Norm Coleman did not rule out a run for Governor of Minnesota in 2010, now that incumbent Republican Tim Pawlenty has announced he isn't running again. But he also seemed to leave the door open to further litigation over his former Senate seat, in the wake of reports that he was ready to throw in the towel after the state Supreme Court presumably rules against him.

"I'm still waiting to hear from the Supreme Court," said Coleman, when asked about a gubernatorial run. "Remember I just gave a speech about being focused? I'm a very focused guy, and the focus is on keeping my Senate seat."

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Mark down Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) as one of the more outspoken critics of President Obama's speech yesterday in Egypt -- in fact, he told The Oklahoman the speech was "un-American" for calling the Iraq conflict a "war of choice."

Inhofe also blasted Obama for implying that torture had taken place at Guantanamo Bay: "There has never been a documented case of torture at Guantanamo."

"I just don't know whose side he's on," Inhofe added.

(Via Think Progress)

Obama Calls For Increased Efforts For Two-State Solution In a press conference earlier today, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama called for the international community to increase its efforts towards a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian disputes. "I think the moment is now for us to act on what we all know to be the truth," said Obama, "which is each side is going to have to make some difficult compromises."

Obama's Day In Germany President Obama arrived at Dresden Castle at 2:55 a.m. ET (8:55 a.m. local time), and held a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at 3 a.m. ET, then meeting with an expanded German delegation at 3:15 a.m. ET. At 4:10 a.m. ET, Obama and Merkel held a press conference, and then toured Church of Our Lady at 4:45 a.m. ET. Obama will tour Buchenwald Concentration Camp at 9:15 a.m. ET, and will then make a statement to the press at 10:05 a.m. ET. He will visit Landstuhl Regional Medical Center at 11:50 a.m. ET. He will depart from Ramstein Air base at 2:30 p.m. ET, en route to Paris, France.

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Armed police keep strict watch in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown in 1989 on thousands of democracy protesters in the square.

Newscom/Kyodo

Images of victims from 20 years ago are displayed on a large screen as thousands of people take part in a candlelight vigil in Victoria Park in Hong Kong on Thursday.

Newscom/AFP



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The organizers of the candlelight vigil in Victoria Park say there has been a record turnout for the event, estimating the crowd size at 150,000.

Newscom/EPN

Outside a church in Macau.

Newscom/EPN

Chinese dissident Wuer Kaixi, one of the main student leaders from the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, speaks to reporters at Taiwan's Taoyuan airport on Thursday.

Newscom/AFP

Hong Kong's Victoria Park.

Newscom/Kyodo

Victoria Park.

Newscom/AFP

Macau.

Newscom/EPN

Victoria Park.

Newscom/AFP

Armed policemen stand guard in Tiananmen Square on Thursday.

Newscom/Kyodo

House Blue Dogs today released a statement of principles (PDF) for what they call "responsible" health reform, specifically addressing what they view as acceptable terms of the public option.

Buried at the bottom is this caveat. "The availability of a public option would occur only as a fallback and in the absence of adequate competition and cost containment. Fundamental insurance market reforms and increased choice...should improve access and contribute to lower costs. However, should the private plans fail to meet specific availability and cost targets, a public option would be triggered and be allowed to compete on a level playing field subject to the conditions outlined above."

The trigger idea is one that's has purchase among conservative Democrats in the Senate, too. It's also an ideas that liberal Democrats call a non-starter. The gist is that the government would give insurance companies a few years to get with the program by meeting heretofore unknown cost-saving and coverage goals, and to only create a public option in the event that they miss their deadline. But triggers are often unsuccessful policy tools, and since liberals are basically running the health care show in the House, there's almost no chance that this will be written into their bill, an early version of which should be released in the next couple weeks.

It should be noted that the Blue Dogs aren't monolithic on this point. Already, Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Mike Michaud (D-ME) are distancing themselves from this statement--and several others have signaled in the past that they support a public option at the outset. But at the very least this demonstrates that there's still a considerable appetite among conservative Democrats for weakening or imperiling the public option.

It looks like it wasn't just the Ted Stevens case in which Justice Department prosecutors screwed up.

Attorney General Eric Holder has found similar missteps in the convictions of two former Alaska state representatives, Victor Kohring and Peter Kott, and has asked that the two be released from prison, reports the AP.

Those convictions sprang from the same wide-ranging probe of corruption in Alaska politics. It was also the same DOJ prosecution team. Five of the six prosecutors in the Stevens case -- William Welch, Joseph Bottini, James Goeke, Nicholas Marsh, and Edward Sullivan -- ran the Kohring and Kott prosecutions.

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Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) has a bit of a joke for you. "The Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade legislation is just another disguise and it's high time that we call it what it really is: a Wacky-Marxist Tax-and-Cap bill that will suffocate America's small businesses, ultimately strangling America's respiratory system."

Get it?!

The really funny part is that Broun is a doctor (as in, M.D.) so he should know that suffocation results from strangling and not the other way around. Also, that America doesn't have a respiratory system, per se.

In his press release, Broun hearkens back to the good old days when Republicans called Democrats socialists, and limited their critique of cap-and-trade legislation to the false claim--based on an intentional misreading of an M.I.T. study--that climate legislation will cost the average household thousands of dollars.

"Representative Paul Broun, M.D. (GA-10) exposed the truth behind the Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade energy tax and appropriately renamed it the Wacky-Marxist Tax and Cap bill as it will increase energy costs for each family by $3,100."

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has just put out this statement on The Hill's report that the Senate GOP leadership has privately encouraged conservative activists to attack Sonia Sotomayor, at the same time as they've publicly distanced themselves from the attacks:

"This is the exact type of a Washington political game that offends Americans. When you try to appear thoughtful and open-minded in front of the cameras, but behind closed doors wink to your right-wing friends to keep up the vicious attacks, it is a strategy that is not only disingenuous, but it also does a disservice to the confirmation process. Sonia Sotomayor deserves a fair and thorough assessment by the Senate, not name-calling, and not political posturing. The American people expect nothing less."

The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the Virginia Democratic primary for Governor, which is behind held this coming Tuesday, confirms other surveys that have shown state Sen. Creigh Deeds rising to the top -- and that Terry McAuliffe has lost his position as the frontrunner.

The numbers: Deeds 30%, former state Del. Brian Moran 27%, and former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe 26%, within the ±5% margin of error. Two weeks ago, the Kos/R2K poll had it as McAuliffe 36%, Moran 22%, and Deeds 13%.

So what happened? McAuliffe had a big lead for quite a while, thanks in part to a big money advantage -- and on top of that, nobody who had watched him on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton in 2008 would ever deny that he's an energetic campaigner. But in recent weeks, Moran began attacking McAuliffe's record in both politics and business, with the ultimate effect of making Deeds the biggest beneficiary in a three-way race.

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