TPM News

OK, now the Ensign story is really getting good.

Yesterday we wrote about how Team Ensign is now saying that they went public about the affair because Doug Hampton, the husband of Ensign's girlfriend, was threatening to go to a TV news station about it. We asked whether Ensign was now walking back an earlier claim -- which seemed to come from his camp -- that Hampton had tried to extort him.

Read More →

The sex is looking like the least interesting aspect of the John Ensign story.

Ensign's camp has confirmed to the Associated Press that the Nevada senator helped Doug Hampton, his old friend and the husband of his girlfriend, to get a job after the affair ended and Hampton left Ensign's office.

Read More →

New Health Care Draft Leaves Out Public Option The Washington Post reports that a new draft health-care proposal from the Senate Finance Committee includes an individual mandate expands Medicaid coverage -- and leaves out the public option: "Yesterday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) met with four Republicans, including Sen. Charles Grassley (Iowa), the ranking GOP member on the panel, along with two Democratic colleagues in an attempt to find bipartisan consensus. Baucus dubbed the group 'the coalition of the willing.'"

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver remarks at 9:30 a.m. ET, at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference. At 3:15 p.m. ET, he will mark Father's Day weekend by holding an event in the East Room to discuss fatherhood and mentoring. At 4 p.m. ET, he will meet at the South Lawn with young men from local schools. At 8 p.m. ET, he will attend the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner.

Read More →

Conservatives are starting to smell blood on the IG firing story.

Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch -- the conservative-leaning government watchdog that made life miserable for President Clinton in the '90s -- tells TPMmuckraker that his group is eager to work with the canned IG, Gerald Walpin, to keep the pressure on the White House over the firing. "We have let it be known that we'd like to talk to Mr. Walpin," said Fitton.

Read More →

David Corn reports that Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court has now been endorsed by none other than...Ken Starr!

That's right. The Republican former independent counsel who relentlessly pursued the impeachment of Bill Clinton, first over a business deal and then a sex scandal, is in favor of Sotomayor's confirmation, and even said he's spoken to a number of unnamed Senators and told them he supports her.

Starr said he's met Sotomayor before, when she's twice participated in a program for judicial clerks at Pepperdine University, where he is the dean. "She was a huge hit with the students," said Starr.

So what are some of the biggest names of the Republican Party up to, now that the GOP is itself in the dumps? Well, some of them are hitting the circuit as motivational speakers.

Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani and Steve Forbes have joined up with the "Get Motivated!" seminars run by Peter and Tamara Lowe, and are traveling the country to speak to business groups.

Check out this full-page ad in the Albany Times-Union, for the upcoming seminar in Albany next month:

(Click image to enlarge.)

Just think: Access to Rudy Giuliani could have cost you $2,300 two years ago. But now it's only $4.95 per person -- or you can send your entire office for only $19!

Special thanks to TPM reader MR.

Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), who sparked controversy when he introduced a bill three months ago to require presidential candidates to submit their birth certificates, has now been picking up some more co-sponsors, Dave Weigel reports.

Posey now has a total of five co-sponsors in the House: John Campbell (R-CA), John Carter (R-TX), John Culberson (R-TX), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Randy Neugebauer (R-TX).

Posey also gave an interview with World Net Daily -- one of the foremost Birther conspiracy theory sites out there -- to explain how many of his colleagues both support him on this and don't want to have anything to do with it: "The people that come up and slap me on the back and say, "Good luck to you!' I say, 'Hey, there's room for you on here!' And of course, they start doing the moonwalk, you know? 'Oh no, no, no, congressman!'"

The political consulting firm that reportedly employed Doug Hampton, the husband of Sen. John Ensign's former girlfriend, has extremely close ties to the philandering Nevada senator.

Politico previously reported Hampton had gone to work for November Inc., a Nevada political consulting firm "run by several former Ensign aides." But a closer look suggests just how tight Ensign and the firm were.

Read More →

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the Virginia gubernatorial race shows that the race is up in the air in this swing state, with Republican former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell having a one-point edge over Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds.

The numbers: McDonnell 45%, Deeds 44%, within the ±4% margin of error. In a poll from two weeks ago, before Deeds went on to win his three-way Democratic primary, McDonnell enjoyed a 46%-34% advantage.

McDonnell previously defeated Deeds in the 2005 race for Attorney General, by only a few hundred votes, back when the state was much more friendly to Republicans. Since then, Virginia has voted in two Democratic Senators and gave its electoral votes to Barack Obama last year. The race this year could end up telling us all a lot about whether the state has shifted definitively into the Dem column.