TPM News

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said today that he is "very disappointed" that senators struck settlement funds for African-American farmers who faced discrimination from a supplemental spending bill his chamber passed earlier this year.

The funds, known at the Pigford II settlement, are intended to compensate farmers for long-standing racial discrimination they faced from USDA that, in many cases, resulted in the loss of their farms. The settlement achieved a level of publicity last week after some conservatives attempted to use the firing of Shirley Sherrod to claim that the settlement procedures had led to fraud.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee is bringing in extra help for Republican nominee Sharron Angle in the Nevada Senate race, with press operative Brian Jones set to advise Angle in her race, as well as Carly Fiorina in California and the to-be-determined GOP nominee in Washington state.

As Jonathan Martin writes: "Jones is a seasoned press hand. In the 2008 cycle, he was initially the communications director for John McCain's presidential campaign, where he worked closely with fellow top aides Terry Nelson and Rob Jesmer - both now top NRSC officials. Jones also worked on President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign."

The TPM Poll Average has Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid leading Angle by 44.0%-43.1%, despite Reid's own unpopularity and the bad economy. This comes largely as a result of Angle's own missteps, her pattern of avoiding the press, and Reid's attacks on her right-wing positions.

House Minority Leader John Boehner has offered specifics about his recent call for a moratorium on new federal regulations, and TPM's gotten a look at just what kinds of regulations -- other than the obvious ones implementing health care and Wall Street reforms -- Boehner's plan would block.

Boehner last week endorsed the REINS Act, sponsored by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), saying at his weekly press conference that "any rulemaking where the estimated cost to Americans would exceed $100 million," should not go into effect "without Congress voting on it first." That's short of the full moratorium Boehner initially called for, but could nonetheless be a recipe for gridlock and ugly politics. That standard in the act would ensnare scores of new regulations every year, including both broadly popular, time-sensitive ones, and others over which remain substantial partisan disagreement.

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Stephen Colbert said last night that Shirley Sherrod saying she debated whether to help a white farmer save his farm "is offensive. People who support racial discrimination have no place in government -- until Rand Paul is elected."

When he realized that the video of Sherrod's comments were taken out of context, Colbert was unfazed: "You say potato, I say black racists are going to take away our potah-tos."

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Daily Show correspondent John Oliver said last night that the Shirley Sherrod incident shows that the Obama administration "will fire anybody. I'm telling you, President Obama is like the Donald Trump of governance. All he needs, Jon, is a bad toupee and to dip Air Force One in gold."

When Jon Stewart pointed out that a plane dipped in gold would probably not have enough lift to fly, Oliver backtracked: "Oh really? You think they should fire the gold dipper guy? They're with you Jon. They think it was a dumb idea too, they only just found out about it. He's gone."

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As the unexpectedly contested Florida Republican gubernatorial primary enters its final month, a winner has started to emerge after the millions in negative TV ads plastered across the state by state Attorney General Bill McCollum and wealthy businessman Rick Scott -- and that lucky candidate is Democratic candidate Alex Sink.

Last week, a fresh poll of the governor's race showed that despite being the third wheel in the second-most entertaining Florida political soap opera of the year, Sink has managed to pull ahead of both Republican candidates in general election matchups, thanks to tanking favorability numbers for both Scott and McCollum.

According to local press reports out of Florida, Republicans are starting to get nervous about Scott, the frontrunner for the party's nomination. Scott looks like the guy who'll win Aug. 24, leaving Florida Republicans with perhaps the most damaged Republican candidate for governor since Jim Giibbons. Even if Scott somehow loses to McCollum, his spending (plus McCollum's own problems of course) have Democrats overjoyed with the situation. In fact, things have played out in Sink's favor beyond the Democrats' wildest hopes ever since Scott jumped into the race back in April.

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There's no doubt about it, things aren't looking good for November for the Democratic party. It's way too early to know if they will lose the House, but there is broad agreement that 100 days from now, there will be losses and Democratic numbers in Congress will dwindle.

On the ground in Las Vegas for the last several days, TPM took the temperature of Netroots Nation activists, the candidates courting them for dollars and door-knocking and the official party operatives who need progressives engaged if they want to prevent a total wipeout this fall. Most campaign types sounded hopeful notes that it won't be as bad in the end as it looks now, and there seems to be broad agreement that, if the races are put into the context of the idea that Democrats move forward and the Republicans want to take you back to the Bush era, they might just stave off the worst of the losses.

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Document Leak May Hurt Efforts to Build War Support The New York Times reports on the political fallout from the posting of documents about the Afghanistan war: "Administration officials acknowledged that the documents, released on the Internet by an organization called WikiLeaks, will make it harder for Mr. Obama as he tries to hang on to public and Congressional support until the end of the year, when he has scheduled a review of the war effort. 'We don't know how to react,' one frustrated administration official said on Monday. 'This obviously puts Congress and the public in a bad mood.'"

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and will receive the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. He will meet at 11 a.m. ET with the Congressional leadership from both parties, will deliver a statement to the press at 12 p.m. ET, and will have lunch with House members at 12:20 p.m. ET. He will congratulate the Warner Robins Softball World Series Champions at 3:05 p.m. ET. He will meet at 4 p.m. ET with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. At 7 p.m. ET, he will attend a Democratic National Committee fundraising dinner.

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Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee want a hearing to investigate how the Department of Justice handled allegations of voter intimidation made against the New Black Panther Party.

The minority, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham, wants to look into allegations of racial bias within the DOJ. The charges come most vocally from J. Christian Adams, a former DOJ lawyer who says the Obama administration purposely drops cases against black defendants, including an NBPP member who stood outside a Philly polling station with a nightstick in 2008.

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