TPM News

A federal judge in California today denied a motion to stay his ruling on Proposition 8, saying he will lift the temporary stay Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. Pacific time.

Judge Vaughn Walker ruled last week that Prop 8, which defined marriage in California as heterosexual, is unconstitutional. He issued a temporary stay -- meaning same-sex couples can't get married yet -- and today ruled that his stay will continue until next Wednesday.

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A new Rasmussen poll of the Colorado Senate race shows Republican nominee Ken Buck starting out the general election with a lead over Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

The numbers: Buck 46%, Bennet 41%. The survey of likely voters was conducted Wednesday, the day after Bennet and Buck each won their heated primaries, and has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago, Buck led Bennet by 48%-42%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Buck a lead of 45.7%-42.8%.

Last night at his 80th birthday party (and fundraiser), Charlie Rangel partied like it's 1999 -- and like he's not under investigation for ethics violations.

With special guests Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, Chuck Schumer, and other New York political stars, the Democratic Congressman tried to show he was unfazed by his ethics troubles, while enjoying cake and some Dionne Warwick tunes. "This sure ain't no funeral, is it?" said Rangel.

Here are some videos from the event...

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The new SurveyUSA poll of the California Senate race gives Republican Carly Fiorina the lead against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The numbers: Fiorina 47%, Boxer 42%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.1% margin of error. In the previous poll from a month ago, Fiorina was ahead by a narrower 47%-45%.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Boxer a narrow lead of 45.8%-43.2%, with most other polls putting the incumbent ahead but under the crucial 50% mark.

Bill McCollum -- who may be seeing the Republican gubernatorial primary in Florida finally shifting his way after months running behind Rick Scott -- appears to ready to try and ride his way to victory on the back of an immigration enforcement proposal he himself calls "tougher" than Arizona's controversial 1070 law.

The details of McCollum's plan, as reported by the Miami Herald: "The proposed law would require immigrants to carry valid documentation or face up to 20 days in jail and would allow judges to hand down stiffer penalties to illegal immigrations who commit the same crimes as legal residents."

"Arizona is going to want this law,'' McCollum told reporters. "We're better, we're stronger, we're tougher and we're fairer.''

The proposed law is already creating the expected headlines: "Is Florida the New Arizona?" Time wondered. But in a state where prominent Republicans like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio publicly frowned on key provisions of Arizona's law, the answer to that question is probably no.

So, what's behind the shift? Simple politics, Democrats say. McCollum is proving himself willing to swing way out to the right to beat Scott -- who has been hammering McCollum as too moderate -- leaving the the Democrats potentially facing a nominee who could be on the wrong side of Florida's large immigrant population.

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The new SurveyUSA poll of the California gubernatorial race gives Republican Meg Whitman a one-point advantage over Democratic state Attorney General and ex-governor Jerry Brown, in the race to succeed GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The numbers: Whitman 44%, Brown 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.1% margin of error. In the previous poll from a month ago, Whitman actually had a wider lead of 46%-39%.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Brown a narrow lead of 44.6%-42.7%.

Bryan Fischer, who wrote a blog post this week arguing that the U.S. should have "no more mosques, period," explained to TPM today that "every single mosque is a potential terror training center or recruitment center for jihad" and thus "you cannot claim first amendment protections if your religious organization is engaged in subversive activities."

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Anderson Cooper did a fun takedown last night of the latest right-wing meme against birthright citizenship -- that according to anonymous former FBI officials, there is a long-running plot to have "terror babies" born here as U.S. citizens, then flown overseas and trained to come back and attack the United States 20 to 30 years later. Last night, Cooper brought on an actual former FBI official to debunk it.

The "terror babies" plot has previously been discussed on the House floor by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX). On Tuesday night, Cooper hosted Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle, who also pushed the great danger of the terrorist babies -- though she said she would not reveal her sources and did not have the evidence on hand. So on Wednesday night, Cooper hosted Tom Fuentes, who served as the FBI's assistant director in the office of international operations from 2004 to 2008.

"The FBI has 75 offices overseas, including offices in Jordan, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan," explained Fuentes. "There was never a credible report -- or any report, for that matter -- coming across through all the various mechanisms of communication to indicate that there was such a plan for these terror babies to be born.

"Also, I'd like to add, there seems to be a lot of former FBI agents lurking in the halls of Congress and in the legislature in the state of Texas, so I'm kind of curious about that issue as well."

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The jury in Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial told the judge today that they have only come to unanimous agreement on two of the 24 charges.

As for the other 22 charges, the jury said they haven't even begun to discuss the 11 wire fraud charges. They have not been able to come to a decision on the other 11.

According to the Sun Times, Judge James Zagel is instructing the jurors to keep trying:

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And now you know why politicians run negative ads. A new poll from Mason-Dixon out today shows Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum back in the lead of the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary race. The poll shows McCollum leading former hospital executive Rick Scott 34-30. That's a huge swing from Mason-Dixon's last poll, which showed Scott ahead 37-31 only a week ago.

The poll is great news for McCollum, who many observers had all but written off after Scott's multi-million dollar ad blitz knocked McCollum, the establishment choice, into a solid second place. If Mason-Dixon's new numbers are correct, the August 24 primary is now basically a toss-up. To what does McCollum owe his improved fortunes?

According to the Miami Herald, McCollum's "nonstop attacks" on Scott's "integrity and business record have put him in the lead for the first time." McCollum has stepped up his attacks on Scott in recent weeks, spending money and turning his attention to the challenge after largely ignoring Scott at first. It looks like McCollum's efforts are paying off.

But Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker told the paper the real winner in the nasty Republican primary appears to be Democrat Alex Sink.

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