TPM News

In an interview with TPMDC this afternoon, billionaire investor Jeff Greene suggested that Rep. Kendrick Meek is a worse ethical offender than the notorious Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Greene and Meek are locked in a nasty fight for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Florida, and Greene tried to take things up a notch by associating Meek with Rangel's high profile ethics investigation underway in Congress.

The interview followed a hastily announced conference call with reporters in which Greene called on Rangel to resign -- and urged Meek to do the same. (As the Palm Beach Post reports, Meek said last week he "favors letting the House Ethics Committee process play out" before passing judgment on what Rangel should do next.)

The talk of Rangel was simply pretext to the attacks on Meek, however, who Greene said deserved his own ethics investigation over his family's ties to a Florida developer who Meek obtained an earmark for six years ago. The charge has been a part of Greene's campaign for quite a while now, and Meek has denied wrongdoing on many occasions.

Greene seems to think Rangel's ethics problems give him a new window to open up the old line of attack on Meek.

Read More →

Boehner: Repealing Birthright Citizenship 'Worth Considering' Appearing on Meet The Press, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said that the idea of repealing birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants should be discussed. "Well, David, I'm not the expert on this issue. I have read the--these comments here over this past week. But I think that we do have--there is a problem. To provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here so that their children can be U.S. citizens does, in fact, draw more people to our country. I, I do think that it's time for us to secure our borders and enforce the law, and allow this conversation about the 14th Amendment to continue," said Boehner, also adding: "Listen, I think it's worth considering. But it's a serious problem that affects our country. And in certain parts of our country, clearly, our schools, our hospitals, are being overrun by illegal immigrants, a lot of whom came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens."

Ted Olson: Gay Marriage Decision Not 'Judicial Activism' Appearing on Fox News Sunday, anti-Proposition 8 attorney Ted Olson rejected the charge that Judge Vaughn Walker's decision constitution judicial activism. "It's not judicial activism when judges do what the Constitution requires them to do and they follow the precedent of previous decisions of the Supreme Court. This is what judges are expected to do," said Olson, a Republican who served as Solicitor General under President George W. Bush. He also added: "Most people use the term judicial activism to explain decisions that they don't like."

Read More →

FANCY FARM, KY -- It is the House of Commons for the common man. Like the British Parliament at Question Time, politicians enter the annual political rally/church fundraiser here in this tiny town prepared to face their opponents' spirited jeers.

It's real politicking of the old school -- with mutton barbecue to boot.

Read More →

FANCY FARM, KY -- The Jack Conway who showed up at Saturday's Fancy Farm Picnic was not the one who stumbled through the event last year. In 2009, Conway -- then locked in a tough Democratic primary for Senate -- blurted out "I'm one tough son of a bitch" in response to the screaming hecklers that make a Fancy Farm speech what it is. Maybe not the kind if language that upsets you (or the average network television censor), but it was enough to apparently upset the Catholic crowd at Fancy Farm and shock, simply shock, the NRSC.

This year, the lead up to Conway's speech was mostly focused on the SOB remark, with "will he or won't he?" speculation about whether Conway would repeat the unscripted stuff serving as the only real controversy of the day. People needn't have bothered -- Conway delivered a firey speech that had plenty of tough words for Republican nominee Rand Paul, but none of them crossed the line into PG-13 territory.

But boy, did the speech stick it to Paul. Conway came out swinging, mocking Paul for his early gaffes on the campaign trail and attacking Paul as "a waffling pessimist who wants to be the prince of cable TV."

Read More →

FANCY FARM, KY -- In his speech at the 130th annual iteration of Kentucky's semi-official campaign kickoff rally Saturday, Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul offered an issue-focused speech that took on national Democratic figures and offered some of his trademark unique solutions to the nation's problems -- including a waiting period for Congress before it passes bills.

He also took on Democratic Senate nominee Jack Conway.

"There are six words you won't hear Jack Conway say [on the campaign trail]," Paul said. "President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."

Paul said that Conway's hands are tied by the national Democratic Party, which he said is unpopular in Kentucky and requires Conway to essentially run away from his party's biggest names as the campaign goes on. (Conway disputed this in an interview with reporters after the event, suggesting that he doesn't expect Obama to campaign for him but that he would welcome the president if he decided to take a campaign swing through the Bluegrass State.)

As he has since his campaign began, Paul also had harsh words for national political leaders in general in his Fancy Farm speech. He fleshed out his proposed waiting period for congressional legislation, which he says would slow down the legislative process by making Congress wait perhaps months before moving a proposed law to passage.

Read More →

FANCY FARM, KY -- Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate General Jack Conway (D) dismissed the growing Republican call to rewrite the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in an interview with TPMDC today.

Conway's Republican opponent in the U.S. Senate race, Rand Paul, has long called for an end to the constitutional right to citizenship for anyone born in the United States. Paul and other Republicans -- including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's senior senator -- have suggested that so-called "birthright citizenship" is a draw for illegal aliens and say it's time to end the practice.

I asked Conway, the state's attorney general, for his response to the calls in a brief interview conducted in a campaign RV following his speech at the Fancy Farm Picnic, the raucous political jamboree in this western Kentucky hamlet. Conway was unequivocal in his rejection of the idea, and he suggested McConnell and Paul are only raising it to rally their conservative base.

"I don't think we need to change the Constitution of the United States," Conway said. "I think they're just pandering on that issue."

I'll have more on my wild day at Fancy Farm in a future post.

Obama: Medicare 'Getting Better All The Time' Because Of Health Care Reform In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama touted a government report showing an increase in the financial solvency of Medicare, due to the recent health care reform law -- a clear effort to sell the law to older voters.

"According to this report, the steps we took this year to reform the health care system have put Medicare on a sounder financial footing. Reform has actually added at least a dozen years to the solvency of Medicare - the single longest extension in history - while helping to preserve Medicare for generations to come," said Obama. "We've made Medicare more solvent by going after waste, fraud, and abuse - not by changing seniors' guaranteed benefits. In fact, seniors are starting to see that because of health reform, their benefits are getting better all the time."

Read More →

GRAVES COUNTY HIGH, WESTERN KY -- Before they head out to gorge on a full day of political picnicking at Fancy Farm, Republicans from across the state of Kentucky were treated to a healthy portion of red meat this morning by Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul and Eric Cantor.

The event was the Graves County Republican Party Breakfast, an annual gathering that draws partisans from far and wide to be rallied, and the speakers didn't disappoint. The three men essentially told the crowd that unless something is done about the Democrats in Washington, America will be transformed into a distopian hellscape where only socialists waving their universal health care cards come out during the day while true patriots are forced to scrounge for the scraps of democracy under cover of night. Or something like that.

Read More →

WESTERN KENTUCKY -- It's an annual political rite like no other, or so they tell me: out here in rural Kentucky, thousands are descending on the the tiny town of Fancy Farm to eat barbecue, party and listen to politicians try to tell jokes.

For years, the Fancy Farm picnic has marked the beginning of campaign season in the Bluegrass State. Politicians gather here and give speeches that are supposed to be funny, and -- locals tell me -- often take direct aim at the other side in a way you rarely hear on the campaign trail. Officially, the event is known as the St. Jerome Catholic Church picnic, but everyone here calls the day of barbecue, raffles and politicking Fancy Farm.

This year's Fancy Farm comes as the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky has grabbed the national spotlight. Political junkies from across the state will be here today to watch Republican nominee Rand Paul and Democratic nominee Jack Conway take potshots at each other from the Fancy Farm stage. The men are locked in a nasty campaign and how each will handle the unique Fancy Farm environment (the audience is expected, if not encouraged, to loudly heckle the candidates they don't like) is the subject of much speculation out here.

Read More →

Appearing today on Hardball, Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) said that the Republican caucus would have to do better than the current practice of opposing everything if they were to get his vote.

During the interview, Matthews repeatedly pressed Crist, who left the Republican Party this past April in order to run for Senate as an independent, on the matter of which party he would caucus with. Crist in turn seemed to avoid the issue, repeating his past refrains that he has to get elected first, and he would want to caucus "with the people of Florida" -- that is, looking out for his state rather than for a party.

Then Matthews sharpened the question a bit. "How can you become a Republican if Mitch McConnell continues with his strategy of scorched earth -- which is, vote against everything and hope you bring down the house?" said Matthews "That has been his strategy, he apparently announced it early on two years ago. We're gonna bring down Barack Obama, we're voting against everything. And every time a major issue has come up, they don't compromise, they vote against. How could you join a caucus that's a 'no' caucus."

Read More →