TPM News

Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who was defeated for re-election after three terms in the 2010 Republican wave, now says he is considering a possible comeback bid for the state's other Senate seat, from which Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl is retiring in 2012.

"I am looking at it, but I feel I should take some time to think this through," Feingold told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "For me the question right now is whether it's a good idea for me to go back into this sort of life."

Feingold said he would decide by Labor Day.

A recent survey from Public Policy Polling (D) found that Feingold would likely have a solid lock on the Democratic nomination, giving him a lead of 70%-12% over Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is also considering a run. (Without Feingold in the race, Baldwin would start out with a plurality over a field of several other Democrats.)

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Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) has become the latest Republican to face his vote for Medicare-ending House budget in the form of a TV ad. In the first major ad buy since Democrats used the issue to pull off a surprise win in the NY-26 special election, progressives are targeting Bass over his vote for Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget plan, which eliminates Medicare and replaces it with a voucher system.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America say they hope to do significant damage to Bass, as well as bolster their choice to replace him, Ann Kuster. She's the progressive star who barely lost to Bass in 2010 after defeating Sen. Joe Lieberman's presidential campaign chair for the Democratic nomination. Kuster's running again this year.

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As California's constitutional ban on same sex marriage winds its way through the courts, a showdown over a similar marriage-defining referendum is brewing in Minnesota. And according to a PPP poll released this week, that battle could be hotly contested, as it found voters there are evenly split on the issue.

In the poll, 46% of registered voters said the state should amend its Constitution to stipulate that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, while 47% said they opposed such an amendment.

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White House counsel and veteran Democratic attorney Bob Bauer is heading back to private practice and to serve as the top lawyer for the President's re-election campaign at the end of July and will be replaced by his deputy, Kathryn Ruemmler, according to an administration release.

While Bauer will return to private practice at Perkins Coie, he will serve as general counsel to the President's reelection campaign, general counsel to the Democratic National Committee, and personal lawyer to President Obama.

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House Republicans will huddle on Thursday to discuss their members' position on Libya a day after unexpectedly withdrawing a resolution disapproving of the conflict. Speaker John Boehner conceded to reporters that many House Republicans are concerned by the military operation and called on President Obama to "step up" his explanations for the conflict.

On Wednesday schedulers abruptly canceled a vote on a resolution calling on the US to withdraw all forces from the conflict. The measure's sponsor, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), told reporters he believed House leaders pulled the legislation after realizing it might succeed with Republican backing.

"They changed their mind," he said after it was withdrawn on Wednesday. "They felt, well, it's going to pass."

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Wisconsin Republicans now have another mess to deal with in the state Senate recalls: Reports of a taped conversation in which a county GOP official is apparently heard discussing the possibility of recruiting spoiler candidates to mess with the Democrats.

The La Crosse Tribune reports on a meeting last week of Republicans in La Crosse County, in the western Wisconsin district of GOP state Sen. Dan Kapanke, who is being challenged by Dem state Rep. Jennifer Shilling:

On the recording obtained by the Tribune, party vice chairman Julian Bradley says he just spoke with Mark Jefferson, executive director of the state GOP, and "we are actively keeping our ears to the ground and if anybody knows anybody for a candidate that would be interested on the Democratic side in running in the primary against Jennifer Shilling.... So if anybody knows any Democrats who would be interested, please let us know."

...

Should a primary be necessary, the general election would be pushed back, according to scenarios proposed by the Government Accountability Board.

That, Bradley said on the tape, "would give the state senator an extra month to campaign in. The opposition would obviously have to spend more time and more money."

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But when life gives you carcinogenic cell phone radiation, make burritos.

That's what Stephen Colbert did Thursday night, responding to a report that cell phones can increase the risk of brain cancer by placing a frozen burrito between his head and his phone.

"A quick ten-minute call to Nana, and lunch is ready," Colbert said.

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by Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica

It has been noted repeatedly that almost no top bankers have faced serious consequences for their actions in the financial crisis. But there is a Wall Street corollary that might be even more pernicious: good guys are punished.

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