TPM News

Leslie Johnson, the wife of Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson whom the feds say stuffed nearly $80,000 in cash in her bra and flushed a $100,000 check down the toilet to try and hide evidence, could still take the seat she was elected to on the County Council despite the federal charges pending against her.

Not so fast, say current and incoming members of the council who have joined critics in calling for Johnson to step aside.

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Airport Security Uproar Frustrates White House Advisers The Washington Post reports: "For a White House often accused of being lax on national security, the uproar over invasive security techniques at airports is a head-snapping swing in the other direction...'Everyone is a little bit surprised that less than one year after a suicide bomber was sent to the United States to blow up a plane over Detroit with a bomb in his underwear we would be having the debate that we're having right now,' another administration official said Monday."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:15 a.m. ET. President Obama and Vice President Biden will depart from the White House at 9:55 a.m. ET, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 10:10 a.m. ET. They will arrive at 11:45 a.m. ET in Peru, Indiana. At 1:20 p.m. ET, they will tour the Chrysler Indiana Transmission Plant II, and deliver remarks to workers at 1:35 p.m. ET. They will depart from Indiana at 3:45 p.m. ET, arriving at Andrews Air Force Base at 5:10 p.m. ET, and back at the White House at 5:25 p.m. ET.

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President Barack Obama's nominee to take over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) faces a pretty big hurdle to securing his confirmation by the Senate: opposition from the National Riffle Association.

It didn't take long for the NRA to come out against Andrew Traver once his nomination was announced by the White House last Monday night. Less than two business days later, the NRA was out with a release not only opposing Traver's nomination, but calling for Obama to withdraw the nomination altogether. ATF, the agency charged with enforcing the nation's gun laws, has been without a permanent director since 2006.

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Thomas Schultz says it's time for a change at the Republican National Committee. A 22-year-old student at Brigham Young University in Utah and the brother of Iowa's Secretary of State-elect, Schultz plans to use the power of the grassroots to topple RNC chair Michael Steele, who has touted a connection to grassroots as a cornerstone of his tenure at the top of the committee.

On Monday, Schultz launched, an online petition he hopes will centralize what he sees as general opposition to Steele among rank-and-file Republicans across the country. He, like a lot of establishment Republicans here in Washington, said Steele's tenure has done more harm than good to the GOP as it gears up for the presidential election in 2012.

In an interview Monday, Schultz told TPM that former RNC political director Gentry Collins' scathing resignation letter of Nov. 16 finally pushed his concerns about Steele into action.

"After that letter came out, and then after some other articles came out talking about how Steele has a fair number of votes for the January election, I was concerned," he told me. Over the weekend, he set up the page and got to work spreading the message that it's time for Steele to go.

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For years, people have contended that a right-leaning bias exists in public opinion polls that fail to consider cell phone users. This argument has some new backing-- a Pew Research Center report released Monday suggests that polls based on landline-only samples do, in fact, suffer from a Republican bias.

The report, which confirms findings from a mid-October study, suggests that support for Republican candidates is significantly higher when a survey's sample is composed only of landline telephone respondents, rather than both landline and cell phone users ("dual frame samples"). Pew calculates a bias among likely voters in 2010 that is about twice as large as the statistical skew evident in 2008 landline-only election surveys.

In the October study, Pew looked at four 2010 election polls and found that in three of them, "estimates from the landline samples alone produced slightly more support for Republican candidates and less support for Democratic candidates, resulting in differences of four to six points in the margin." In the latest study, it was determined that Republicans were favored in landline-only likely voter surveys by an average of 5.1 percentage points more than they were in polls with dual frame samples. In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama's lead over John McCain was on average 2.4 percentage points smaller in landline samples.

For a single-poll example of this trend, Pew's final pre-election poll found Republicans leading the congressional generic ballot question 51%-39% for the landline-only sample, whereas the lead narrowed to 48%-42% when cell phone interviews were also considered. Currently, the analysis notes, House Republicans lead by a seven-point margin.

While Americans are undeniably growing more reliant on cell phones, there are still those who have access to both a landline and cell phone ("dual users"). The report suggests that dual users who are reached by cell phone differ demographically and attitudinally from dual users reached on their landlines. As such, another bias emerges-- those reached by cell phone, who "are younger, more likely to be black or Hispanic, less likely to be college graduates, less conservative and more Democratic," gave the GOP a five-point advantage in the congressional generic ballot question, whereas Republicans led by 12-points among dual users reached by landline. Pollsters are thus faced with yet another bias to counter, as polling for the 2012 elections is already well underway.

For Pew's complete report, click here.


The Minnesota Supreme Court has now ruled against Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer's effort to force counties to sort through precinct rolls and potentially eliminate votes deemed to be excessively cast -- a move that could have delayed the upcoming recount of the election in which Democrat Mark Dayton is ahead. And in a truly remarkable move, the court issued its ruling only about two hours after today's oral arguments.

As The UpTake reported, the ruling was unusually fast. Key quote:

Based on all the files, records, and proceedings, herein,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT the petition be, and the same is, denied. So as not to impede the orderly election process, this order is issued with opinion to follow.

Petition denied.

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Experts hired by USA Today to analyze a 2006 Congressional report that questioned global warming data say the report appears to have been plagiarized heavily from textbooks and Wikipedia.

The report was requested, and then often quoted, by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) when he was chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It was written by Edward Wegman, a statistician with George Mason University. The school is now conducting its own investigation into whether Wegman plagiarized the report, which calls into question numbers used by climate scientists.

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If you find that your Sarah Palin needs are somehow unsated, good news! Tonight she sits down with Fox News' Sean Hannity and reveals that she wouldn't bother sitting down again with CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric, calling her 'a reporter who already has such a bias against whatever it is that I would come out and say?'

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