TPM News

The White House today held a meeting on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, with congressional leaders and gay rights activists, an administration official confirms to TPM.

Congress is gearing up to vote on repealing the policy this week, according to several reports. The administration official said it is the White House's "understanding that Congress is determined to act this week."

"We're learning more about this proposal now," the official said.

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California Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner has a new ad up that bashes his primary opponent, Meg Whitman, for having "the same position on illegal immigration as the president of Mexico."

Last week, state Insurance Commissioner Poizner released a web video that claimed Whitman used to sell porn when she ran eBay.

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In a new Esquire profile, beleaguered former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) claims to have inside knowledge of a series of secret meetings between General David Petraeus and Dick Cheney in which the former Vice President encouraged Petraeus to run for President. If Petraeus had been successful, Massa says, it would have been "the functional equivalent of the political overthrow of the commander in chief."

The profile also paints Massa (D-NY) as a somewhat frustrated and pathetic figure, "a disgrace in moccasins," who tried to kill himself twice following allegations that he had sexually harassed staffers.

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A prominent South Carolina blogger, Will Folks of FITSNews, claimed today that several years ago he had "an inappropriate physical relationship" with South Carolina Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley -- prompting a swift denial from Haley.

Folks, a former spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford and a self-proclaimed supporter of Haley's gubernatorial campaign, said the relationship occurred before he was married. Haley, a state representative, has been married since the mid-1990s and has two children.

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On Thursday, two police officers pulled over a white van in West Memphis, Arkansas, for a traffic stop, and the driver opened fire with an AK-47, killing the officers, according to police.

The driver of the van was Jerry Kane, who traveled the country giving a debt-elimination seminar and had recently spoken of killing IRS agents and being stopped at a "Nazi checkpoint" in New Mexico. Kane and his 16-year-old son were killed shortly after in a shootout with police in a Walmart parking lot. Two other police were wounded in the second shootout.

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A star-studded lineup of right-wing extremists graced this weekend's "Liberty Convention" in Montana.

The event -- organized by far-right activist Mona Docteur, and her Celebrating Conservatism group -- was predicted to attract 5000 conservative foot soldiers. In fact, only around 250 showed up. But what the event lacked in numbers, it more than made up for in the anti-government animus -- and sometimes outright wackiness -- of some of its speakers. (See a flier for the event here.)

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Businessman Dick Leinenkugel, a beer fortune heir who had been running for the Republican nomination to go up against Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), suddenly dropped out of the race over the weekend -- unable to overcome opposition from conservatives over his recent tenure as state Secretary of Commerce for Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

Leinenkugel had been running for only about a month, against three other businessmen: Terrence Wall, Dave Westlake and Ron Johnson. Upon dropping out, Leinenkugel endorsed Johnson. The TPM Poll Average has Feingold leading Wall, Westlake and Leinenkugel, with no polling yet available on Johnson. The GOP already missed out on its best possible recruiting opportunity for this race, when former Gov. Tommy Thompson announced that he would not run.

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It was a busy political weekend in Colorado, with both the state Democratic and Republican parties holding their conventions -- and snubbing incumbents and frontrunner candidates on both sides, most notably Dem Sen. Michael Bennet. However, this is not the last word in the campaign on either side.

Bennet's primary challenger, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, handily won the convention by a margin of 60%-40% -- though Bennet was still over the 30% threshold needed to guarantee a place on the primary ballot, without having to petition his way onto it. For Romanoff, the upshot of his win here is that he will be listed in the first position on the primary ballot, with the incumbent Bennet in the second place on the ballot. This outcome had been expected since the party caucuses in March, in which Romanoff's supporters won more delegate seats.

This largely comes from two factors. First, Romanoff took advantage of a general anti-incumbent frustration with Washington. But second and perhaps more importantly, Bennet is an appointed Senator who never ran for anything before -- and therefore lacked the political base of Romanoff, who was far more organized for this early stage of the campaign. However, Bennet still has an edge in the primary for now, with the TPM Poll Average putting him ahead of Romanoff by 43.0%-32.5%.

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