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Senate candidate Sue Lowden (R-NV) is now clarifying her comments on the use of barter for health care, claiming that she was never pitching this as a real policy idea. She instead claims that she was simply describing what people in rural areas actually do -- thought this doesn't quite match up with her earlier positive statements about the practice.

Lowden appeared with local radio host Alan Stock, and said that the Democratic attacks against her for what they have called "Chickens For Check-Ups" shows that it's Harry Reid who is out of touch. "I want to say that I know that bartering takes place here in Nevada," said Lowden. "It takes place throughout the country and that Harry Reid has been attacking me for saying something like that and the truth is it is happening and that's how out of touch he is."

Lowden also seemed to be using the terms "barter" and "bargain" interchangeably: "you know when I talk about bartering like you said it's also bargaining for the price, asking doctors if there's a different price if you're paying cash or paying by check. We know this is going on."

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Former Bush Administration Office of Special Counsel chief Scott Bloch today pleaded guilty to misdemeanor contempt of Congress for withholding information regarding his use of Geeks on Call to scrub computers while he was under investigation for retaliating against employees.

Sentencing in U.S. District Court in Washington is scheduled for July 20. The Legal Times reports on one hiccup in the proceedings today:

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April 26, 2010: President Obama welcomes the 2009 baseball world champions -- the New York Yankees -- to the White House. The Yankees presented the President with a team jersey with the number 27 on it, for the total number of times they've won the championship. In his remarks, Obama pointed out that it's been "nine years since your last title -- which must have felt like eternity for Yankee fans." The President, who is a Chicago White Sox fan, added: "I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that. The Cubs, for example." But he also was quick to refer to the last time the White Sox won the World Series: "Although I do remember 2005, people, so don't get too comfortable."

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton

The President poses with the team, and the World Series trophy.


Obama also praised the Yankees for their commitment to public service, saying the members of the team "share a belief that anybody blessed with first-class talent also has an obligation to be a first-class person."


The President points to team Captain and shortstop Derek Jeter, who later warned the President about knocking the Yankees: "He'd better be careful with that. There's a lot of Yankees fans that vote."


Yankees manager Joe Girardi presented the President with his Yankees jersey, signed by all of the players.


This was Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte's fifth visit to the White House for a Yankees World Championship win. Pettite, Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are a part of the "Core Four" of the Yankees, who have all been on the team for the last five wins.


Obama greets Posada, who plays catcher. When the President mentioned Posada in his speech, the crowd erupted into chants of "hip, hip, Jorge."


When Girardi presented Obama with the trophy, assistant GM Jean Afterman called out to Girardi to "let him hold it -- he might not get a chance again." Obama laughed and replied: "And you wonder why other teams don't root for you."


The RNC hasn't elaborated -- despite several requests -- on its view that its misleading "Census" fundraising mailer is legal, despite a recently passed law that aimed to ban such missives.

But it may hang on the fact that the law, which passed last month, only forbids mailers with the word "census" on the outside of the envelope -- while in the RNC's mailer, "Census" is visible through the envelope's window.

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The U.S. Postal Service is investigating the RNC's deceptive "Census" fundraising mailer, a spokesman tells TPMmuckraker.

Last night, Congressional Democrats sent a letter to Postmaster General John Potter, urging him to probe whether the mailer violates a law passed last month aimed at banning such mailers.

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CongressDaily (sub. req.) crunches the numbers and finds that the Citizens United Political Victory Fund has given almost $200,000 to candidates in 2010 races, all to Republicans.

The PAC, which is behind the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that opened the door for campaign contributions directly from corporations, donated thousands to conservative and tea party-type candidates.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has fired off a letter to RNC Chair Michael Steele, urging him to put a stop to the deceptive "Census" mailers that the party has been sending of late.

Chaffetz writes that he's concerned that the mailer "violates not only the spirit but the letter" of the law passed by Congress last month -- of which Chaffetz was a co-sponsor -- which aimed to ban such mailers.

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The New Jersey Attorney General's office is no longer seeking to legally stop a Tea Party-backed effort to recall Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez -- a move that the Tea Partiers are taking as an endorsement of their views.

Back in March, an appeals court declined to block efforts by a group called Recall NJ to gather signatures to recall Menendez, but simultaneously stayed its own ruling pending appeal by Menendez and/or the state, both of which had argued that a recall was unconstitutional. (The group needed certification from the Secretary of State in order to even begin gathering signatures.) The court did not specifically rule on the constitutional of a federal recall, but instead said that this issue would not have to be tested at all if the group could not gather the required 1.3 million signatures statewide -- which is nearly as many people as voted for John McCain in New Jersey in 2008.

State Attorney General Paula T. Dow, a Democrat appointed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, noted that position in a letter to the state Supreme Court late last week. "While the State's position on federal constitutionality remains the same, as articulated in the brief filed below," Dow writes, "it is mindful that the Appellate Division correctly pointed out that a condition precedent to any recall election - obtaining the signatures of approximately 1.3 million registered voters within 320 days - may never come to pass." Dow later added: "The State will not seek to overturn this exercise of judicial prudence and restraint."

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hinted today that the Senate may take up climate change legislation before it figures out what to do on immigration.

"The energy bill is much further down the road.... Common sense dictates that if you have a bill that's ready to go, that's the one I'm going to go to," Reid told reporters at his weekly press conference this afternoon. "The energy bill is ready and we'll move that more quickly than the bill we don't have. I don't have an immigration bill."

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