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Scott Bloch, former U.S. Special Counsel in the Bush Administration, is facing a possible probation sentence this week after pleading guilty in April to misdemeanor contempt of Congress. Bloch is on trial in connection with his use of Geeks On Call to scrub his computer while he was under investigation for misusing his office.

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Over the course of this campaign cycle, marked by anti-incumbent fervor and primary challenges galore, at least one Republican incumbent initially cast as extremely vulnerable has actually become more secure over time, after initial signs that he might be weak: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the 2008 Republican nominee for president.

At first, it seemed McCain was in trouble. Polling had shown him with lackluster approval ratings, his past support for immigration reform made him vulnerable on the right, and the Tea Party crowd's ire at established politicians made the race appear ripe for an upset by former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, a longtime foe of illegal immigration. Indeed, even McCain's one-time campaign poster boy Joe The Plumber had renounced him, and was hoping for his defeat.

But then something happened: McCain straightened up, Hayworth fumbled, and the incumbent has been pulling away in all the polls. In mid-April, Rasmussen had Hayworth within five points of McCain. But today, the TPM Poll Average shows McCain leading by the hefty margin of 52.3%-30.6%, headed into the August 24 primary.

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Progressive pressure on President Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head a soon-to-be-created consumer financial protection bureau has reached a fever pitch. But in a troubling sign for her supporters, the White House is remaining mum, and key senators aren't rallying to her defense. In some cases quite the opposite.

"Elizabeth can be a terrific nominee but the question is, is she confirmable? And there is a serious question about that," said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd during an interview on NPR Monday.

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The first round of the Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary is over, with former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and ex-Congressman Nathan Deal now advancing to the runoff on August 10, the Associated Press has projected, with the ultimate winner to face Democratic former Gov. Roy Barnes.

With 72% of precincts reporting, Handel has 34% to Deal's 23%, followed by former state Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson at 20% and state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine with 17%. Handel, who resigned her post in order to focus on her gubernatorial bid, began this race at the back of the pack, but in recent weeks and months has moved to the top -- and she recently joined the ranks of the "Mama Grizzlies," female GOP candidates endorsed by Sarah Palin. Deal, who also resigned from the House earlier this year in order to pursue his gubernatorial bid full-time, has also dabbled in birtherism. So this should be a fun runoff.

On the Democratic side, former Gov. Roy Barnes easily won the nomination with 66% of the vote in the current count, with his closest opponent, state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, at 22%. Barnes lost re-election in 2002 in a huge upset against Republican Sonny Perdue, partially as a result of Barnes having shrunk the size of Confederate imagery in the state flag. As part of his comeback bid this year, Barnes had a fun ad earlier this summer suggesting that America was "laughing at us" in Georgia, over proposed state legislation dealing with such topics as microchips in people's brains, and on secession from the United States.

The NAACP just posted the full video of Shirley Sherrod's speech in front of the Coffee County NAACP this past March.

The relevant part starts about 16 minutes in. Sherrod is talking about how her father was killed by a white man when she was 17; that night, she says, she made a commitment to stay in the South and work toward change.

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Today featured the prosecution's cross-examination of Rod Blagojevich's brother Robert -- and ended with the ex-governor's lawyers saying their client may not take the stand after all. After all this build up, could Blago sit silently through his trial? What happened?

Blagojevich's lawyers say they don't think the prosecutors have proven their case. But The Chicago Sun-Times suggests keeping Rod off the stand may have something to do with Robert's performance during cross examination. "In just the first 10 minutes of cross-examination Monday, Robert Blagojevich, who had overseen the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund, found himself contradicting his own statements and having to explain a secretly recorded and previously unheard conversation." Today's Moment of Blago comes from Robert, and via the Sun-Times.

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Shirley Sherrod may have found an unlikely ally: Glenn Beck.

Beck defended the USDA appointee, who resigned after Big Government posted a controversial video clip of a speech she gave to the NAACP earlier this year. In the clip, she described an incident when she debated how much to help a white farmer in need of assistance, though she has said that her remarks were taken out of context.

Beck said today that it's possible she "deserves her job back."

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A new poll out of Virginia's 5th Congressional District should give Republicans hoping to knock freshman progressive Rep. Tom Perriello (D) out of the Congress in the fall something to cheer about. According to a poll conducted by SurveyUSA over the weekend, Perriello is running more than 20 points behind the Republican nominee in the race, state Sen. Robert Hurt.

The totals: Hurt 58, Perriello 35, independent candidate Jeffrey Clark 4.

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In a new statement, NAACP president Ben Jealous has backed off his original criticism of Shirley Sherrod after watching the full tape of her remarks.

Jealous, who originally called Sherrod's actions "shameful," now says the whole thing a "teachable moment."

Jealous said that, after reviewing the full tape (which we still haven't seen) and speaking to Sherrod and the white farmers in question, the NAACP has realized it was "snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias."

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