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On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh offered his own explanation for the Mark Sanford scandal: That Sanford flew out of the country to have an affair because President Obama drove him over the edge:

"This is almost like, 'I don't give a damn, the country's going to Hell in a handbasket, I just want out of here,'" said Limbaugh. "He had just tried to fight the stimulus money coming to South Carolina. He didn't want any part of it. He lost the battle. He said, 'What the Hell. I mean, I'm -- the federal government's taking over -- what the Hell, I want to enjoy life.'"

"The point is," he added, "there are a lot of people whose spirit is just -- they're fed up, saying to Hell with it, I don't even want to fight this anymore, I just want to get away from it."

A new InsiderAdvantage poll finds that 50% of South Carolina's registered voters want Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign, in the wake of his disappearance to Argentina and his subsequent admission of an extramarital affair, with 42% opposed.

The option of impeachment by the legislature gets a little less support, with 45% in favor to 46% against, within the ±3.2% margin of error.

Republicans oppose impeachment 63%-32%, Democrats favor it 71%-21%, and independents oppose it 49%-35%. Republicans oppose resignation by a 56%-38% margin, Democrats favor it 70%-20%, while independents narrowly oppose it by 45.3%-44.7%.

A new Franklin & Marshall poll shows that Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), who switched parties in late April in order to avoid a likely defeat in the Republican primary, has low ratings with both parties' voters now.

The numbers: Only 28% of registered voters say he deserves another term, to 57% who say it's time for a change. Back in March, before there was any widespread notion that he would switch parties, this question yielded a much healthier (though still not great) answer of 40%-46%.

In a Democratic primary between Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak, the big winner is... "undecided," with 48%, while Specter is at 33% and Sestak has 13%.

"I think what he's got going is the worst of both worlds," said pollster Terry Madonna. "Republicans have fallen away from him because he left his party, and Democrats are unhappy with him for lots of different reasons."

Former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is running a conservative insurgent campaign for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary against moderate Gov. Charlie Crist, just picked up an endorsement from Florida Congressman Jeff Miller.

The GOP establishment, from the national party in Washington to most of the major elected officials in Florida, have all lined up behind Crist. The governor has a big lead in all the polls and is viewed as a more electable candidate, but some conservatives are trying to mobilize support for a more right-wing choice -- particularly in light of Crist's endorsement of the stimulus bill, and moderation on other issues.

"This race has tremendous implications for the future of Florida and the very foundation of conservatism in America," Miller said in a statement -- making it clear that this race will pit a GOP establishment that hopes to field more electable candidates, as they perceive it, against some in the party base who want to take a harder and harder line.

Now that the dust has settled -- at least for a few hours -- on the tale of the love-struck guv, it's worth focusing on another angle: the shockingly credulous news coverage of the story.

Throughout Monday and Tuesday, there were pretty good reasons to be skeptical of the ever-changing official line that Sanford's office was putting out.

After all, here's how things went down, in a nutshell:

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is taking her refusal to fully fill out her Census form, which is a crime punishable by a $5,000 fine, to a whole new level: Invoking the memory of the Japanese internment during World War II, and the evil role that the Census played in it!

During an interview this morning on Fox News, Bachmann mostly focused on the danger of her personal information falling into the hands of the dreaded menace ACORN. But at one point, she made a very interesting appeal to history:

"Take this into consideration. If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that's how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps," said Bachmann. "I'm not saying that that's what the Administration is planning to do, but I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps."

At this point even Megyn Kelly, who had been gladly dishing out the anti-ACORN talk along with Bachmann, had to take a step back and raise the point that the Japanese internment was a long time ago and we haven't had such abuses since then.

For some context on how this fits into Bachmann's overall worldview, keep in mind that she's previously warned of the threat of "re-education camps" where young people would be indoctrinated into the government's official philosophy.

Obama: In Ten Years, Health Care Will Cost Twice As Much If We Do Nothing In his town-hall special on health care last night, President Obama sought to communicate a message of urgency for reform. "So if you're happy with your health care right now -- and many people are happy with their health care right now," said Obama, "the problem is, 10 years from now, you're not going to be happy, because it's going to cost twice as much or three times as much as it does right now."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in a "United We Serve" event today, joining hundreds of Congressional family members and five national nonprofit organizations at Fort McNair to prepare 15,000 backpacks with books, healthy snacks, Frisbees and other items for the children of servicemen and women. At 2 p.m. ET, Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with members of Congress from both parties to discuss immigration. At 3:15 p.m. ET, Obama will meet with Sec. of the Treasury Tim Geithner, and at 4 p.m. ET with Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. At 6:30 p.m., Obama, the First Lady and Biden will host a luau on the South Lawn, for members of Congress and their families.

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South Carolina Governor Sanford (R) holds a press conference Wednesday afternoon after disappearing for 6 days. Initial reports out of the governor's office said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he was actually in Buenos Aires, Argentina. See the definitive TPM timeline on the missing governor here.


The wife:
Jenny Sanford, who has actively campaigned with her husband and been a political player in South Carolina for some 20-odd years, put out a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying she asked Sanford to leave two weeks ago. She has been vacationing with their four sons at the couple's Sullivan's Island beach house for the duration of Sanford's absence. She told the press on Monday, June 22 that she was not concerned, that Sanford only needed "time away from the kids to write something," and on Tuesday, June 23, she told CNN she still had not heard from him.

Newscom/The State/Renee Ittner-McManus

The enemy:
State Senator John "Jake" Knotts has been flagging suspicion about Sanford's absence at least since Saturday, June 20. While Sanford was still missing, he issued multiple critical statements asking who is in power of the state government, talked to several media outlets, and called the SLED chief himself to check up on the issue.


The second in command:
Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer (seen here presiding over the state Senate) was not told about the Governor's trip to Argentina and was even refused chances to speak with him on the phone earlier this week.

Newscom/The State/Erik Campos

The intrepid reporter:
Gina Smith, a reporter for South Carolina newspaper The State, tracked Sanford down at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, Georgia this morning. She asked him a few questions after he got off the plane from Buenos Aires, including that he considered actually hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he "wanted to do something exotic" instead.


Sanford, pictured at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

Newscom/The State/Gina Smith

The house:
The alleged apartment of the woman who Sanford had an affair with lives on Republica de la India in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires.


Just as we were all getting sidetracked by one GOP sex scandal, there was an interesting development in another.

The Las Vegas Sun reports that Fox News received Doug Hampton's bizarre letter -- about the affair between Hampton's wife Cindy and Sen. John Ensign -- three days earlier than the right-wing news channel had previously acknowledged.

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