TPM News

A new USA Today/Gallup poll out today shows that President Obama continues to ride a surge in approval of his handling of health care reform since helping signing historic health care reform into law last month.

While support for the bill itself appears to have fallen back to pre-reform numbers showing a majority opposed to Democratic-led reforms, the numbers continue to show that Obama personally scored a political win when he signed the reform bill, boosting public perception of his handling of a signature issue from the 2008 campaign.

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To push back against criticism of the pay-day lending industry, W. Allan Jones, the high-living pay-day lender entrepreneur we've told you about, has turned to blogging. In his only post so far, the Tennessee multimillionaire and founder of the pay-day lending giant Check Into Cash, Inc., defended the industry's sky-high annualized interest rates.

As we've reported, Jones co-founded the Community Financial Services Association (CFSA), an industry trade group that played a key role in convincing Congress to weaken provisions in the financial regulatory reform bill intended to crack down on the industry's predatory lending practices.

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani formally endorsed Marco Rubio today in the Florida Senate race -- and took some clear jabs at Crist, who had reportedly backed out of endorsing Rudy in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.

On a conference call with conservative bloggers, Giuliani said that his endorsement was about more than "whether Charlie Crist broke his word with me on several occasions; he did -- that's the reality, that's the truth -- he did break his word."

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani announced his support for Marco Rubio at a campaign event in Florida earlier today. Here is his released statement:

"I am proud to join Marco Rubio today and endorse his candidacy for the United States Senate. Now, more than ever, we need leaders we can trust to demonstrate bold leadership and provide a little common sense in Washington. In Marco Rubio, Floridians have that leader," said Mayor Giuliani.

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A U.S. attorney in Alabama whose close ties to local Republicans were at the heart of previous high-profile charges of politicized justice is drawing scrutiny again. Last week, the U.S. Justice Department received a formal complaint alleging that an investigation being run in part by U.S. attorney Leura Canary was intended to influence the vote on an upcoming bill in the statehouse, and asking that Canary be removed from the probe because of her "close political ties" to Governor Bob Riley.

This isn't the first time that Canary's ties to Riley and Alabama Republicans have generated controversy. Numerous observers have charged that the prosecution by Canary's office of former governor Don Siegelman, who in 2006 was convicted on corruption charges, was politically motivated. Canary's husband, Bill Canary, a top Alabama GOP political consultant and associate of Karl Rove, ran Riley's 2002 gubernatorial campaign against Siegelman, a Democrat.

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Jacob Ward, one of the nine alleged Hutaree militia members charged in an alleged plot to kill police, reportedly became irate at Ohio police last year after they refused to press charges against his mother, who had confiscated Ward's AK-47 and pistol.

The Detroit Free Press reports on the unusual reason Ward, of Huron, Ohio, said he needed the guns:

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who's trying to fight off a primary challenger who claims McCain is too moderate, has in an interview with Newsweek gone back on his most famous nickname.

"I never considered myself a maverick," McCain said. "I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities."

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