TPM News

Three of the eight Wisconsin Senate Republicans eligible for recall, who just last week voted to strip state employees of most of their collective bargaining rights, trail generic Democratic challengers in hypothetical recall matchups, according to a PPP poll of registered voters commissioned by Daily Kos.

Democratic activists in Wisconsin have been circulating petitions to gather the requisite number of signatures to trigger a recall election for each of the GOP Senators legally eligible to be recalled this year, with a goal of overturning the current Republican majority. Democrats would need to flip three seats in order to reclaim the majority.

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As Wisconsin Democrats mobilize recall campaigns against Republican state Senators, in response to Gov. Scott Walker's newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, one targeted GOP legislator is facing a negative side story: A messy divorce -- and claims by his estranged wife that he "now lives mostly in Madison" after having an affair.

As the local NBC affiliate in Milwaukee and the CBS affiliate in Madison report, state Sen. Randy Hopper's (R) wife Alysia Hopper has written a letter stating:

"It is correct that my husband, Randy Hopper, started an affair in January 2010 with a then-25-year-old Republican aide. This affair has caused great emotional pain for my children and me. Randy moved out, without attempting marital counseling, as of May 2010 and now lives mostly in Madison."

Randy Hopper's campaign spokesman Jeff Harvey told the Milwaukee NBC station: "Senator Hopper maintains an apartment in the district where he lives and works. He and his wife separated roughly a year ago and are divorcing, which is a private family matter."

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans now say the Afghan war has not been worth fighting according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, a record high that comes as the war, already the longest in American history, approaches its eleventh year.

In the poll, 64% of all Americans said the Afghan war hasn't been worth fighting -- including 49% who feel that way strongly -- both record highs. Further, only 31% said the war had been worth fighting, a record low.

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NPR may be in a defensive crouch, but at least one Democratic lawmaker is publicly pushing back against James O'Keefe's war on public broadcasting: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Durbin took to the Senate floor on Monday to mount a defense of NPR and PBS and attack O'Keefe's credibility. Noting that previous O'Keefe tapes have been found to be misleadingly edited, including his footage of ACORN in which he posed as a pimp, Durbin said that the same tactics were being used to go after NPR. He cited a widely circulated analysis by Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze, as evidence.

"Mr. O'Keefe appears to be engaged in creative editing again, and this time his target is National Public Radio," he said. "That's not just my opinion. The website of none other than Fox News' own Glenn Beck -- that's right, Glenn Beck -- compares the edited and unedited versions of Mr. O'Keefe's latest video and concludes that the edited version appears to be deceptively edited in order to portray statements by one of the secretely recorded NPR execs out of context."

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Eleven people -- including the mayor, police chief and a town councilman in Columbus, N.M. -- have been indicted by the feds for alleged involvement in an international gun running scheme that may have fueled violence south of the border.

Ten out of the eleven defendants charged in the trafficking ring will be arraigned Tuesday on charges of conspiracy, smuggling and making false statements in connection with firearms purchases, according to federal officials.

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There's been an explosion of both state and federal money flowing into counterterrorism training for law enforcement in the years since Sept. 11. But it is becoming increasingly clear that some of the experts who are providing counterterrorism training for local law enforcement officers are sometimes not well vetted and have provided training which is based on bias against all Muslims and relies on falsehoods and exaggerations.

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House Republicans will face noticeable defections from the right flank of their party when they vote Tuesday to fund the government for three more weeks -- a stopgap measure meant to buy time while leaders of both parties work out a longer-term solution.

But the mini-revolt won't throw the government into turmoil. The last "continuing resolution" passed the House two weeks ago with almost 340 votes, including over 100 Democrats, and barring major, unexpected defections from both parties, should pass again handily.

"I think in the end the Speaker will work out their differences," said Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) -- a freshman, and former House member, who Monday night told reporters he is inclined to support the spending measure. "He is very used to how the House ran under previous Republican speakers, of walking on the floor 20 votes short and picking them up on the floor."

If anything, today's situation is significantly less dire than that. "Everything is a lot less dramatic than it looks," Kirk said.

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Nuclear Energy Lobbyists Scramble On Capitol Hill CNN reports: "Lobbyists for the nuclear energy industry rushed to Capitol Hill Monday to try to reassure members of Congress and their aides who are deeply concerned about the nuclear crisis in Japan, and what it could mean for nuclear energy in the U.S."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Obama will be interviewed at 11:25 a.m. ET by radio stations KOAT Albuquerque, KDKA Pittsburgh and WVEC Hampton Roads, on education reform. Obama and Biden will meet for lunch at 12:30 p.m. ET. Obama will meet student finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search 2011 competition at 1:45 p.m. ET. He will meet with senior advisers at 2 p.m. ET. Obama and Biden will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and meet at 5:30 p.m. ET with the Combatant Commanders. At 7 p.m. ET, the President and First Lady will host a dinner for the Combatant Commanders and their spouses, and the Vice President and Dr. Biden will also attend.

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A Georgia Republican has decided to tweak his presidential birth-certificate bill to delay its implementation until after the 2012 election, the second such bill to be recently changed in the wake of political pressure.

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