TPM News

The notorious stain on the pants saved by an Oregon masseuse from the night she claims she was sexually assaulted by Al Gore tested negative for semen, the woman told the Portland Tribune, the weekly newspaper that first investigated her allegations.

The revelation about the stained pants (a version of which previously appeared in the National Enquirer, which first reported the woman's allegations) are among several new details that emerge from an article in the latest issue of the Tribune. The article, written by the paper's former managing editor, seeks to explain why and how the paper reached its decision not to publish the claims of Molly Hagerty (who has since publicly identified herself).

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Nervous Congressional Democrats tonight are getting reassurances from the Democratic National Committee that they shouldn't be worried about this fall's midterm elections. Let go of your fears, DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse is telling members in a memo obtained by TPM. His basic message: we can win because we can still tell voters that we're better than former President Bush and his Republicans.

Even as they racked up a major policy victory today by passing financial reform (following on the passage health care reform this spring), it's been a rough week for Democrats. Poll numbers show voters are increasingly eying Republicans as worthy leaders of Congress, and even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs hasn't done Democrats any favors. So tonight Capitol Hill Inboxes are dinging with the memo from Woodhouse, which offers, "President Obama is much more popular than President Bush was in 2006 or President Clinton was in 1994."

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Rep. Roy Blunt this quarter has outraised his rival Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan in the battle for the heartland.

Blunt (R-MO) pulled in $2.2 million in donations during the second quarter from April 1 to June 30, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported. Carnahan raised $1.5 million during the same period. Blunt has $4.5 million in the bank and she has $3.6 million cash on hand. They are vying to replace retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO).

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The Tea Party Express' Mark Williams -- fresh off his claim that the NAACP makes "more money off of race than any slave trader, ever" -- took to his personal blog today to offer an at least racist-ish screed calling out the NAACP for continuing to use the word "Colored" in its name.

In the post, Williams calls NAACP President Ben Jealous "Tom's Nephew" and ties tea party calls for smaller government to "emancipation" (which, of course, is just steps away from the standard tea party line that Democratic policies amount to "tyranny.")

But the central theme centers around, as Williams writes, the "absurdity of a group that calls blacks 'Colored People' hurling charges of racism."

Here's a sample (the post is written in the form of a mock letter to President Abraham Lincoln from Jealous):

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Here's an interesting flashback into the recent political career of Minnesota state Rep. Tom Emmer, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor: He sponsored legislation last year to lower the legal penalties and procedural hurdles that face accused drunk drivers -- all while he has had brushes with the law on this very subject in his own past.

As the Star Tribune and local blogs reported back in March 2009, Emmer sponsored legislation that would get rid of the state's process of automatically revoking the licenses of people accused of driving while under the influence, or who refuse to take a sobriety test. The law Emmer tried to water down currently calls for a civil court process to have a license restored pending a final conviction. Instead, under Emmer's bill, a license revocation would have only occurred after a conviction.

In fact, Emmer himself had received a ticket for DWI in 1981, when he was 20. And then again in 1991, when he was 30, he was charged with DWI and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of careless driving. "We all come to the Legislature with life experiences, but it has nothing to do with this bill," Emmer said in 2009. "This is a good bill."

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Sen. Barbara Boxer's reelection bid may be in trouble in the Golden State, but she's sitting on a massive campaign war chest that will come in handy if her battle with Carly Fiorina (R) ends up being as tough as it seems to be.

Both Boxer (D-CA) and Fiorina released fundraising figures for the second quarter (April 1-June 30) today and the strong numbers help Boxer offset some bad poll news in recent days. Boxer raised $4.6 million and has $11.3 million in the bank.

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Oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for almost 90 days because, in part, the well's blowout preventer didn't work. And as it turns out, the blowout preventers on the relief wells -- the relief wells that are the only way to permanently stop the oil from leaking -- were also found to have "performance problems."

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar noted this week that the relief wells' blowout preventers, or BOPs, had been recently checked out under new testing requirements and found to have problems themselves, which have since been repaired.

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Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in Nevada against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has been raking in some serious cash since the lead-up to her primary win on June 8 -- though she still lags far behind Reid in overall cash on hand.

Angle's campaign ended the pre-primary financial filing period on May 19 with only $132,000 cash on hand, and $170,000 in debts, having gone through her resources to get her upset win against the incredibly self-destructive Sue Lowden. However, her campaign has now announced that they've raised $2.29 million since then through the end of June, and now have zero debt.

Reid brought in less in that time, at only $1.2 million, with a total of $2.4 million for the whole second quarter, with no debt, according to numbers released by the campaign. Reid, however, still has a huge advantage in cash on hand: Reid $8.94 million, Angle $1.77 million, a 5-1 ratio in favor of Reid.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Angle a lead of 44.4%-42.3%.

(Angle figures via Jon Ralston)

CAIR, the national group focused on protecting civil rights for the nation's Muslim population, is standing in support of the NAACP's resolution calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate racism in their ranks. In a strongly-worded statement released this afternoon, CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper said that his group shares the NAACP's concerns about racist rhetoric found among tea partiers.

"If the Tea Party wishes to be taken seriously by mainstream Americans, it must repudiate all those who express or promote extremist, racist or bigoted views while claiming to be affiliated with the movement," he said.

The statement comes as the debate over building a Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan has fired up many groups on the right, some of whom have suggested letting Muslims worship near the site of the World Trade Center attacks is tantamount to letting the terrorists win.

For it's part, the NAACP resolution has produced a fair amount of outrage on the right with some tea party leaders suggesting it shows that the NAACP is itself a racist organization.

Second quarter fundraising results suggest that dropping out of the Republican primary for Senate in Florida was a good move for Charlie Crist. According to the AP, Crist raised $1.8 million in the second quarter, an increase of $700,000 from the first quarter of the year -- which Crist spent struggling under the surging GOP support for Marco Rubio.

Crist has $8.2 million cash on hand, a testament to his past fundraising prowess as a Republican. Leaving that party behind to run as an independent has cost him dearly in that regard -- Rubio just broke Crist's old fundraising record with his eye-popping $4.5 million second-quarter fundraising result.

But the increase in Crist's overall fundraising total is good news for the governor's Senate bid, as are polls that continue to show him with the advantage in three-way race for Florida's open Senate seat. The TPM Poll Average for the contest shows Crist with 36.6% of the vote, Rubio with 32.6% and embattled Democratic party candidate Kendrick Meek -- who faces an increasingly tough primary of his own -- with 14.7%