TPM News

Notwithstanding his 2007 prostitute scandal and a more recent controversy surrounding his retention of a top aide who attacked his girlfriend with a knife, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is seeking the endorsement of the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association.

"I write to request that you support a Louisiana Sheriffs' Association endorsement of me for the U.S. Senate at your conference in Destin next week," writes Vitter in letters he sent to Sheriff's around the state, obtained by TPMDC. "I have worked hard to earn your support in a number of ways."

Among his pitches, Vitter notes, "Just recently, for example, I strongly opposed and helped defeat attempts to impose mandatory collective bargaining on your departments. This was included in a U.S. House-passed bill, which received the support and vote of my opponent Congressman [Charlie] Melancon."

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, Council On Foreign Relations president Richard Haass, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Mexican American Legal Defense And Education Fund president Thomas Saenz.

• CNN, State Of The Union: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

• Fox News Sunday: Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I), former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA).

In its bid to block the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Family Research Council is arguing that soldiers could get HIV if gay men and lesbians are allowed to serve openly -- and that kids might read porn instead of the Bible. In a 98-minute Webcast caught by the LGBT POV blog, FRC's Tony Perkins promised to explain, "How the military is being used to advance a radical agenda."

Perkins began the webcast (watch it in full below) with a warning: "What you will see and hear tonight may enrage you." The broadcast included Oliver North, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO). FRC has been campaigning adamantly against the repeal of the Clinton-era ban on gays in the military.

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Just days after Kendrick Meek took to the airwaves with his first TV ad in Florida's Democratic Senate primary, he's back with another hard-hitting spot. Like his first ad, which came out Monday, Meek's latest effort goes for the throat of billionaire opponent Jeff Greene, who's depicted in the ad as a big spender running a dishonest campaign. "Jeff Greene can buy anything," the ad begins, "except the truth."

The line's not only a populist zinger, but also a nod to Greene's financial advantage in the race, which until this week had enabled him to blanket the state with TV spots that Meek's campaign couldn't afford to answer. The Meek campaign -- which on Wednesday claimed to have earned the financial backing of national Democratic party organizations -- has not yet disclosed the scope of its latest ad buy. But since Monday, when Meek's first ad went on the air, the Greene campaign has already struck back with two new spots, both mudslingers that accuse Meek of corruption.

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The House ethics panel's investigatory subcommittee says that they recommended to the full committed that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) be reprimanded for his 13 alleged violations.

Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), who led the investigation, told reporters today that his committee recommended Rangel be reprimanded instead of the more serious penalties of censure or expulsion.

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Glenn Beck denied yesterday that his long history of criticizing the Tides Foundation had anything to do with the alleged targeting of the group by Byron Williams, the anti-government gunman suspected of engaging in a shootout with police in Oakland, California, possibly while he was on his way to targeting Tides and the ACLU.

"I expose the Tides Foundation and show you what it is, and I am now responsible for terrorists attacks?" Beck asked.

As we've reported, the fairly obscure Tides Foundation has been brought up several times on Beck's show, characterized as part of what Beck sees as a conspiracy by President Obama and other left-wing people and organizations to spread socialism.

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If you thought that the Republican filibuster of the tax-cutting small business bill meant that the Senate didn't have a particularly productive day Thusday, you'd be wrong. In fact, the Senate authorized the issuance of a conservation stamp, created Polycystic Kidney Disease Awareness Week, gave a little money to the Patent and Trademark office and, oh yeah, doubled the penalties for making pot brownies. Yes, the same week that Congress significantly reduced the racially-charged crack-powder sentencing disparity, they also voted to create one between pot brownies and dime bags.

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Former Rand Paul campaign manager David Adams -- who sauntered off into the sunset after Paul's epic national implosion in the days after he won the Republican nomination for Senate in Kentucky -- is defending his decision to allow Paul to hoist himself on his own libertarianism in that infamous Maddow interview.

In a recent interview with liberal Kentucky blogger Barefoot and Progressive, Adams says he sat in the room watching while Paul spent 18 minutes sputtering through a discussion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act -- but that he thinks the end result was not that bad for Paul. Besides, he says, if Paul was going to catch flack for his views on property rights as they apply to civil rights, there was nothing Adams as campaign manager could do about it.

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According to anonymously-sourced reports pushed by right-wing blogs last weekend, members of Mexico's notorious Zetas drug gang crossed the border into Texas and, "in what could be deemed an act of war," seized two ranches near the border town of Laredo. The situation was dire, wingers warned, but a government enforced media blackout kept knowledge of the raid from the general public.

Really?

No, not really.

Here's the thing: the "raid" never happened.

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Prepare for Charlie Rangel to become a household name during the fall campaigns, political operatives from both parties are saying. The Republican plan for August, according to aides TPM spoke with this week, is to tie the party to Rangel and the fact he was charged with 13 violations yesterday. The GOP says it's only fair game, since the Democrats in 2006 ran on Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pledge to "drain the swamp" and tried to link all of the Republican candidates with disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

Republicans are tickled pink that a spotlight is shining on Rangel (D-NY) just as the campaign season kicks into high gear, and campaign operatives are advising GOP candidates across the country to try and nationalize his ethics charges and get Democrats to defend him. Vulnerable House Democrats are feeling the squeeze, and Republicans are digging up their 2006 statements accusing the GOP leadership of fostering a culture of corruption. The looming midterms are one reason House Democrats had been urging Rangel behind-the-scenes to cut a deal, and why Republicans are saying he missed his window.

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