TPM News

Rand Paul said on Fox News today that his lawyers would be all over GQ magazine if it wasn't for that pesky First Amendment. But he didn't completely deny yesterday's crazy tale of his college years published by the magazine, which included allegations of a "prank" in which Paul and a buddy picked up a female member of the swim team, blindfolded her, and forced her to kneel in a creek and pray to the god "Aqua Buddha."

"Well I'm not gonna really try and go back 27 years and remember everything I did in college," Paul told Fox News' Neil Cavuto when asked about the Aqua Buddha thing. "But the thing is, I don't think that, really, politicians should be asked to answer anonymous accusers from 27 years ago -- but I will categorically deny that I ever kidnapped anyone or forced anyone to use drugs."

Paul said that the idea that he kidnapped anyone -- which was widely reported across the media yesterday -- came from headline writers, not the GQ story itself. He pointed out that the woman who made the anonymous allegation to the magazine said that Paul and his friend "never hurt me," and "never did anything wrong."

Then he offered his plan to limit freedom of speech and took the predictable stab at the media.

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The late Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) lawyers, Brendan Sullivan and Ron Cary, issued a statement on his passing that honored his life, offered condolences to his family and, of course, took a few swipes at the Department of Justice for its prosecution of Stevens that was thrown out in wake of evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.

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A political TV ad railing against Nancy Pelosi and President Obama would hardly be out of place this election season. But from a Democrat?

Rep. Joe Donnelly, a sophomore Blue Dog Democrat from Indiana's 2nd district who's facing a tough challenge from state Rep. Jackie Walorski, is out with a new campaign ad targeting House Speaker Pelosi and President Obama for belonging to the "Washington crowd." The focus of the 30-second ad is immigration, with Donnelly voicing support for efforts to secure the border and opposition to legislation that would grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.

"Because no one should be ever rewarded for breaking the law," Donnelly says in the ad. "That may not be what the Washington crowd wants. But I don't work for them. I work for you." As Donnelly says the words "Washington crowd," the ad pans over a photograph of President Obama, Pelosi, and House Minority Leader John Boehner.

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Former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe survived the Alaska plane crash that killed former Sen. Ted Stevens, according to defense contractor EADS North America. O'Keefe is the CEO of the company, which specializes in aviation.

"It was with a great sense of relief and gratitude that we learned that Sean, and his son, Kevin, survived the aircraft crash in Alaska. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of those less fortunate in this terrible accident," EADS Chairman Ralph Crosby told TPMDC in a statement. "We owe a debt of gratitude for the heroic efforts of the members of the rescue crew and others who rushed to the scene. We look forward to Sean's full recovery and his rapid return to EADS North America."

Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) issued the following statement of condolence to Sen. Ted Stevens' family upon receiving news of his passing.

Alaska has lost one of its greatest statesmen and a true pioneer of our state with the passing of Senator Ted Stevens. Over his four decades of public service in the U.S. Senate, Senator Stevens was a forceful advocate for Alaska who helped transform our state in the challenging years after Statehood. Senator Stevens' many contributions to Alaska are enormous and his legacy of fierce devotion to Alaska will be long-lasting.

"Deborah and I join all Alaskans in praying for Senator Stevens' wife, Catherine, and his extended family. Let us also remember the other victims of this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are also with their families.

The RNC's 2012 convention logo features the Tampa Bay skyline and one of the buildings apparently represented in the logo is what was formerly the Old Tampa Bay Hotel, a prominent feature of the Florida city's skyline. What's interesting is that the Old Tampa Bay Hotel is a product of the so-called "Moorish Revival" architectural style. And the building is graced by six minarets, the small towers built around a mosque to call worshipers to prayer. The minarets even include the spires with half crescents, a well-known symbol of Islam.

So is it one of the building's six minarets in the RNC logo? Or is it one of the building's four cupolas? It looks to us like the minaret. But look at the picture and judge for yourself.

The apparent minaret in the logo was first pointed out by DemConWatch. And there may be those who wonder how some of the more anti-mosque elements of the GOP might react to such an architectural inclusion.

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President Obama issued the following statement following the death of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK):

A decorated World War II veteran, Senator Ted Stevens devoted his career to serving the people of Alaska and fighting for our men and women in uniform. Michelle and I extend our condolences to the entire Stevens family and to the families of those who perished alongside Senator Stevens in this terrible accident.

House Democrats today passed a bill doling out $26.1 billion to states to help them pay for teachers and emergency workers and to cover growing Medicaid costs. President Obama Tuesday morning hailed Congress for returning to Washington unexpectedly one week into the summer recess. Thanks to two Republican votes from Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both from Maine, the measure passed the Senate 61-39 last week.

The House passed the measure 247-161. Democrats and the White House estimate the new spending could save up to 300,000 teachers' jobs across the country. Supporters see it as building on the stimulus program from 2009. But like anything in an election year, the vote set off political nastiness.

It's a ready-made campaign commercial as Democrats plan to hail their own votes as heroic when states are facing massive budget crises. And -- you guessed it -- Republicans will say it's another big-spending government plan.

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