TPM News

When Rush is away, Rove will play.

Renaissance man Karl Rove -- a master campaigner, a shrewd senior adviser to former president George W. Bush, and a pretty bad emcee -- will apparently be filling in for conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh next Monday. Earlier this morning, Rove tweeted, "Rush Limbaugh will be out Monday, 8/9/10. Tune in as I make my EIB Network guest-host debut!"

We certainly will!

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) lost the Michigan Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday, and since he'd given up on his own congressional re-election bid to seek the governor's office, it now looks like one of the Obama administration's most vocal critics on national security won't hold public office next year.

In his years in Congress, Hoekstra has made national security a specialty of sorts, at least in the sense of pegging his name to some very out-there stances.

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) wants the House ethics committee to set a date for her trial -- and to set one before November's midterm elections.

In a letter sent yesterday, Waters demanded that the committee release their allegations against her and that the adjudicatory hearing, or trial, be held as soon as possible, and before Election Day.

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Kagan On Track To Be Confirmed For SCOTUS Today The Senate is set to vote today to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Kagan is expected to be confirmed easily, as there are enough committed votes in her favor for both confirmation and to clear any hypothetical filibuster.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will visit the Ford Motor Company assembly plant in Chicago at 10:55 a.m. ET, and will deliver remarks there at 11:15 a.m. ET. He will deliver remarks at a 1:45 p.m. ET event for Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, and will also speak at fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee at 6:15 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. ET. He will depart from Chicago at 8:50 p.m. ET, arriving at Andrews Air Force Base at 10:25 p.m. ET, and back at the White House at 10:40 p.m. ET.

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Rep. Don Young (R-AK) said yesterday that the Justice Department has dropped its years-long corruption investigation.

The DOJ has been investigating Young since 2007. The probe has reportedly focused on "pig roast" fundraisers organized by former oil executive Bill Allen. Allen told prosecutors last year that he gave gifts to Young, including a $1,000 set of golf clubs, as well as up to $200,000 in illegal campaign contributions.

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You have to wonder whether Chris Dodd ought to be having second thoughts about not being a candidate in Connecticut's crazy Senate race -- or whether he's breathing a sigh of relief that he chose to sit this wild ride out.

It's been a long and strange road in this race. An embattled Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd's retirement made way for a stronger nominee in state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal -- who has himself become embattled due to his own scandals, and is still leading the disorganized GOP opposition.

Back in December of last year, Dodd was flailing in the polls as a result of his position as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during the financial crisis, and questions about mortgage deals he had received. Even Vice President Biden, a close friend of Dodd's, said with his trademark candor that Dodd was getting "the living bejesus" beaten out of him.

Dodd's reelection prospects looked bleak. So he announced his retirement in January. A Public Policy Polling (D) survey that was conducted just before his announcement, and released right afterward, showed Dodd trailing the Republican candidates, former Rep. Rob Simmons and former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, but Blumenthal leading them handsomely.

Then things got really crazy.

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Republicans are doing their best to drag the entire Democratic party under the ethical cloud hanging over Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA). That strategy makes many vulnerable House members wish the two would step aside or admit wrongdoing so the controversy would die. But Democrats are hoping that a bit of political jiujitsu can flip this attack on its head: they would like to show that Democrats are dealing with their ethically compromised members publicly, and officially while the GOP protects its own and keeps its sins private.

A top Democratic strategist tells TPMDC that Democrats plan to seize on two stories from the past year, suggesting that Republicans aren't free of their own ethical problems, but that they just deal with them behind closed doors.

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Immigration reform advocates said they intend to aggressively challenge new calls for an examination of the birthright allowed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, with top officials saying the mainstream push is alarming.

"Many of these positions have been coming from the extreme side," Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, said in response to a question from TPM. "Now we're starting to see obviously more mainstream voices with that push and it's extremely troubling to us."

Murguía was referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. John McCain and other top Republicans who say they are open to hearings looking at whether the Constitution should be changed to deny citizenship to children born of illegal immigrants who are on U.S. soil.

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The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and its new affiliate, the P St. Project, will launch a public campaign this week with the help of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to whip up support in the Senate for Elizabeth Warren's nomination and confirmation to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

PCCC, in partnership with the progressive group CREDO, rounded up 200,000 petition signatures in support of Warren, and will now team up with Franken to urge members to publicly commit to voting for her.

"Elizabeth Warren has proven that she is willing to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers and is the logical choice to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Franken said. "If appointed by President Obama, I would vote to confirm Elizabeth Warren to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."

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More than a dozen African American speakers gathered in Washington today to help the Tea Party Express shed its ties to former chair, spokesperson and racial burr in its saddle, Mark Williams. Though the TPE never publicly rebuked Williams after his racially controversial blog post led to his resignation from the group, the speakers from the podium at the event today -- billed as a National Black Conservatives Rally -- were more than willing to call him out.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Tea Party Express Hosts 'National Black Conservatives Rally']

"How many times do they have to pluck that bad apple out of the barrel before people quit focusing on it?" said Herman Cain, an African American talk show host. "The [tea party] movement is millions of people and hundreds of organizations.

But though the speakers at the podium denied it, Williams was the reason for the event today. His antics -- which rose to the level of national attention after the NAACP passed a resolution claiming that the tea party harbors racism in its ranks -- caused the first serious self-reflection on race relations in the movement and, today, led to some African Americans associated with the TPE to criticize the group over how it dealt with it its one-time star.

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