TPM News

AP Poll: BP Image Recovering From Spill, Still Low The Associated Press reports: "BP's image, which took an ugly beating after the Gulf oil spill, is recovering since the company capped the well, though the oil giant's approval level is still anything but robust. A majority of Americans still aren't convinced it is safe to eat seafood from parts of the Gulf or swim in its waters, a new AP poll shows."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart from the White House at 12:35 p.m. ET, and depart form Andrews Air Force Base at 12:50 p.m. ET. He will arrive at 2 p.m. ET in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and will arrive at 2:15 p.m. ET in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

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Somewhere between approving a massive tax cut plan with an expiration date and President Obama's election, Republicans seem to have decided that it's Obama's fault the tax cuts aren't permanent.

Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS this week detailed the "seven public policy initiatives" that will be most important for Congress next year. The group runs ads against Democrats across the country.

On the list at No. 1: "Stop the Obama tax hike time bomb scheduled to detonate on January 1, 2011."

That's not a typo. Rove's group is claiming that Obama set the timer on that so-called "bomb."

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It seemed like a brilliant idea: provide a way for tea party-conscious consumers and tea party-sympathetic businesses to join forces and, well, support their local tea party. It ended in disaster, hurt feelings and more than a few accusations of flim-flammery.

Over the past week or so, the Dayton Daily News has been cataloging the rise and fall of the Tea Party Exchange, one Ohio tea party leader's plan to use capitalism to the movement's favor. The plan was simple: tea party supporters in Ohio would obtain a "TPX-Great American card" which entitled them to discounts at participating businesses who agreed to share some of their profits with a local tea party group. The Exchange tweeted on June 20 that it was up and running. Here's how it worked, according to the paper on Aug. 13:

The TPX card is "similar to a customer-loyalty card consumers can attach to key rings -- and show it at a participating business can get a discount on the company's services. The local merchant then gives 5 percent of the sale revenue to the local Tea party chapter to help fund rallies."

The man behind the plan is Donald Hutchinson, a "human resources consultant" who said he planned to debut the Exchange system at the big September tea party rally in DC. Ohio was meant to be "the test market" for the program, according to what's left of the Tea Party Exchange website.

It appears that things didn't work out the way Hutchinson planned.

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An investigation into whether any officials from the U.S. Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement improperly disclosed the legal status of the aunt of then-Sen. Barack Obama shortly before the 2008 election will come to a conclusion shortly, TPMMuckraker has learned.

The Office of Professional Responsibility at ICE is expected to make a recommendation in the coming days and weeks, a Department of Homeland Security official speaking on condition of anonymity told TPMMuckraker.

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The Democratic National Committee raised $11.5 million in the month of July and has nearly $11 million the bank with less than three months to go before the crucial midterm elections. TPM has learned that DNC Chairman Tim Kaine will announce the fundraising figures later today at the party's meeting in St. Louis.

A Democratic official offered an early preview: $11.5 million raised, $10.8 million cash on hand and $3.5 million in debt. It's the second best month of the cycle, and the official believes it will be the fifth consecutive month the DNC outraised the RNC.

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Wednesday urged the Department of Justice to investigate last year's efforts by the White House to convince Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) to abandon his Senate campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA).

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Steele wrote that the public had "heard several different versions of whether or not Congressman Joe Sestak was offered a job or appointment if he were to forgo his campaign for the United States Senate," CNN reported.

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Another very prominent Democrat now says the planned Cordoba House Muslim community center in New York City should be moved away from the vicinity of Ground Zero: Former Democratic National Committee chairman and ex-presidential candidate Howard Dean.

"I've gotta believe there has to be a compromise here," Dean said during a radio interview. "This isn't about the right of Muslims to have a worship center, or Jews or Christians or anybody else to have a place to worship, or any place around Ground Zero. This is something we ought to be able to work out with people of good faith. And we have to understand that it is a real affront to people who've lost their lives -- including Muslims. That site doesn't belong to any particular religion, it belongs to all Americans and all faiths. So I think a good, reasonable compromise could be worked out, without violating the principle that people ought to be able to worship as they see fit."

Dean said that after having met so many objections, the center should be moved somewhere else, but that this should be done with the cooperation of its organizers. He also said: "I think it's great to have mosques in American cities. There's a growing number of American Muslims. I think most of those Muslims are moderate. I hope that they'll have an influence on Islam throughout the world, because Islam is really back in the 12th century in some of these countries like Iran and Afghanistan where they're stoning people to death. And that can be fixed. And the way it's fixed is not by pushing Muslims away, it's by embracing them and have them become just like every other American -- Americans who happen to be Muslims."

Perhaps Dean is right, and the Muslim center could be moved to South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, North Dakota, or New Mexico. Or it could go to California or Texas, or somewhere else in New York. Or perhaps it could go to South Dakota, or Oregon, or Washington or Michigan -- or even to Washington, D.C. Yeah.

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As president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Dr. Richard Land is an influential opponent of the Cordoba House project in New York. But when he's not speaking on behalf of one of the most powerful religious bodies in the country, Land has a second -- some would say ironic -- ecumenical role: member of the federally created United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

In his role as a commissioner, Land's job is to press for a U.S. foreign policy that advances religious freedoms around the world. Reached by phone today, Land maintained that there is no contradiction between his service on the Commission and his efforts to see the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center project moved farther north in Manhattan.

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Pamela Geller, one of the most prominent opponents of the proposed Islamic center two blocks from the former World Trade Center, said today in an interview the treatment of the "South Park" creators is a prominent factor in her quest to stop the center from being built.

Geller, author of the book, The Obama Administration's War on America, is the force behind the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of America and the Atlas Shrugs blog but insists her opposition to the Islamic center is not racist or bigoted. "It's a common decency issue," she said.

In a lengthy phone interview today with TPM, Geller cited her problems with Islam and its practices; offered spotty historic references and cherry picked the things she doesn't like about those "non-secular" Muslims while swearing she has no problem with most members of the Islamic faith.

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