TPM News

Sharron Angle has further expounded on her strategy of courting conservative media and avoiding more mainstream sources -- it's not just about money, as she's said before, but also about only being asked the questions she wants.

"We needed to have the press be our friend," Angle said in an interview that aired on Fox over the weekend.

"Wait a minute. Hold on a second. To be your friend?" said a disbelieving Carl Cameron. Before Angle could fully answer, he added: "That sounds naive." Apparently this was too much for even him.

"Well, no," said Angle. "We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported."

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The tea party movement's Not Racist Week continues tomorrow with a "National Black Conservatives Rally" in Washington on behalf of the group nearly everyone in the movement agrees went too far on the issue of race, the Tea Party Express. More than a dozen African American conservatives will pack the National Press Club to attack the NAACP and set the record straight about what the press release for the event calls "the unrelenting attacks on the tea party movement" and the "effort to dissuade Americans from rebelling at the ballot box in the November 2010 elections."

The keynote speaker at the event will be perhaps the most prominent African American conservative, Alan Keyes. He'll be joined by the Tea Party Express' national spokesperson, Lloyd Marcus.

Marcus pointed to the extensive lineup of black conservatives on deck for tomorrow's event as evidence that the movement is more racially open than some critics have painted it.

"Apparently the NAACP and other groups are afraid to acknowledge the fact that the tea party welcomes people of all races, and is a much bigger and more diverse group than they're willing to admit," Marcus said in a statement.

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Kendrick Meek, who's battling billionaire Jeff Greene in Florida's Democratic Senate primary, is out today with a new television spot, his third of the campaign. Unlike Meek's first two efforts, negative ads that tore into his opponent's Wall Street ties, the new ad is cheery, focusing on Meek's life and career. Greene isn't mentioned once.

At a time when many Floridians either don't know who Meek is or view him unfavorably, the new ad is an effort to endear him to voters: his mother is seen in the ad gently ribbing Meek for losing his hair, a state trooper lauds Meek's performance as a highway patrolman, and a black-and-white photograph depicts Meek shaking Sen. Ted Kennedy's hand.

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Last night, Stephen Colbert named military contractor David H. Brooks his "Alpha Dog Of The Week," after Brooks allegedly used company funds to pay for personal expenses, including a $100,000 ruby-encrusted American flag belt buckle which Colbert said "makes it a patriotic duty to salute his crotch."

Colbert added that Brooks also used the funds to pay for a face-lift for his wife, and pornographic videos for his son. "Although i seriously doubt his son will ever see anything more pornographic than his father f*cking over our troops to buy a face-lift for his mother," he said.

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Jon Stewart was pleased to learn last night that Fox News finally has a front row seat in the White House Briefing Room. "Fox News," he said. "Finally in the front. Oh, so that's why they get so much sh*t wrong! They couldn't hear!"

Stewart also commented on the choice of the Associated Press to get Helen Thomas's old seat. Thomas retired after a flap over her comment that the Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine."

"Ironically," he said, "Thomas's retirement led to a territorial dispute over who would get her tiny, purely symbolic piece of land."

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now adding his voice to those Republicans flirting with an attempted repeal of birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of parents who are illegal immigrants -- by far the highest-level endorsement yet from the party establishment. Although McConnell did not take a firm position on the issue, he nevertheless seemed to paint this as a widespread, consensus belief: "I don't think anybody thinks that's something they're comfortable with," he said of the status quo, guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, in which anyone born in the U.S. automatically becomes a citizen, regardless of their parents' immigration status.

McConnell's office told Sam Stein on Monday that McConnell believes "we should hold hearings" on the subject, which has been much discussed on the right.

In a follow-up interview with The Hill, McConnell elaborated. "I think we ought to take a look at it -- hold hearings, listen to the experts on it," McConnell said. "I haven't made a final decision about it, but that's something that we clearly need to look at. Regardless of how you feel about the various aspects of immigration reform, I don't think anybody thinks that's something they're comfortable with."

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After having supported the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has decided not to support President Obama's second SCOTUS pick, Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Last night, in response to questions from TPMDC, he explained his differing decisions.

"[She's] just not been able to give people comfort," Nelson said. "The calls have been running -- there's a constituency not to vote for her. There's not a strong constituency to vote for her."

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka implored state and local labor leaders and political organizers this morning to fight harder than ever in the fall elections, pleading with them to think about progress that's been made under President Obama and to "keep going."

Trumka, who has not shied away from criticizing Obama, got specific with his pitch. He said the nation can't afford to have Senators like Republican candidates Sharron Angle (NV) and Rand Paul (KY), or to have a Speaker John Boehner if Democrats lose control of Congress. He also criticized the Democrats who haven't been supportive of the labor movement.

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