TPM News

1||Pete Rouse will be stepping into the White House chief of staff role as current chief of staff Rahm Emanuel departs Washington to run for mayor of Chicago. Rouse has worked with Obama for years, starting as a top Senate aide. ||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

2||Rouse joined Obama's team after his former boss Tom Daschle (D-SD) lost reelection in 2004, the same year Obama won his Senate race. He helped Obama make the decision to run for president.||Pete Souza/Chicago Tribune/MCT&&

3|| ||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

4||Rouse is known for a subdued working style that's the opposite of Emanuel's.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

5||April 15: President Obama delivers a birthday present to Rouse, who has been a senior advisor since Obama was sworn in.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

6|| Rouse has roots in Alaska and has worked with candidates there, earning Sarah Palin's ire.||Pete Souza - White House via CNP&&

7|| In making the announcement today, Obama said there's a West Wing expression that if there is a problem, "Let's let Pete fix it."||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

8||Rouse earned the nickname 'The 101st Senator' when working on Capitol Hill. Insiders believe he can help Obama navigate Congressional relations, especially if Republicans take over the House.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

9|| Obama noted today Rouse is camera shy and, unlike Emanuel, "Pete has never seen or a microphone or a tv camera that he likes."||CNN

The liberal group Patriot Majority PAC has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, slamming Sharron Angle's opposition to abortion even in the cases of rape and incest -- and using her own words regarding such situations.

The ad has a visual of a sitting, silent and scared-looking young woman, presumably meant to represent a rape victim. The announcer discusses Angle's position on the issue, with audio of Angle herself cutting in at key points.

"Every four minutes in America, a woman is sexually assaulted. Almost half are teenage or younger. But for a victim of rape or incest, Sharron Angle would force her to have the baby. Angle says, 'Two wrongs don't make a right.' For girls raped by a relative, Angle says they should just make, 'a lemon situation into lemonade.' If that's not extreme, what is? Sharron Angle -- too dangerous to have real power over real people."

The TPM Poll Average currently puts Reid ahead by 47.7%-45.2%.

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About 60 years ago, the United States government intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge or permission.

The report is based on a study by Susan M. Reverby, a professor at Wellesley College.

"In 1946-48, Dr. John C. Cutler, a PHS physician who would later be part of the Syphilis Study in Alabama in the 1960s and continue to defend it two decades after it ended in the 1990s, was running a syphilis inoculation project in Guatemala, co-sponsored by the PHS, the National Institutes of Health, the Pan American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the Pan American Health Organization), and the Guatemalan government," Reverby, wrote.

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Progressive firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) told me last night that rumors of his political demise have been greatly exaggerated.

"We're winning," Grayson told me during a long phone call.

For the past week, bad news has been mounting for Grayson, first in the form of a lawsuit that re-raised rumors that he's behind a mysterious "Tea Party" in Florida -- which real movement tea partiers say is a hoax designed to split the GOP vote. Second -- and potentially worse for the first-term Grayson -- was the release of a public poll earlier this week that showed Grayson trailing Republican nominee Daniel Webster by seven points.

Grayson categorically dismissed the poll, which was published in the right-leaning Sunshine State News and was conducted by a firm owned by Republican pollster Susquehanna.

"This is a consistently biased pollster that comes up with polling that is not believable," he said. Grayson pointed to the internal poll he released last month showing him ahead of Republican nominee Webster by 13 points.

"I don't know how anybody could possibly believe we've dropped 20 points," he said.

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The new Quinnipiac poll of the Florida gubernatorial race shows Republican nominee Rick Scott taking the lead over Democrat Alex Sink. This appears to be thanks to two main factors: Rick Scott's massive self-financed advertising -- and President Obama's unpopularity.

The numbers: Scott 49%, Sink 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±2.9% margin of error. In the previous Quinnipiac poll from mid-August, shortly before the Republican primary, Sink had 33%, Scott 29%, plus 12% for independent Bud Chiles -- who later dropped out and endorsed Sink.

The TPM Poll Average gives Scott a lead of 46.8%-44.3%.

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Stephen Colbert was outraged last night over a Pew research poll that found that many Americans can't answer basic questions about religions. "This Pew research quiz was biased," Colbert said, "because it expects Christians to know about religions other than Christianity."

"I mean just look at these actual questions! 'What is Ramadan?' I don't know, some new flavor of 'Cup O' Noodles'? The point is, it's insensitive to ask that question so close to 9/11."

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Jon Stewart explained last night that about $1 billion of aid to Haiti was stalled in the Senate because one senator placed a "secret hold" on it. This means he was able to anonymously derail the legislation "because our system is stupid," Stewart said.

Stewart revealed that this "international asshole of mystery" was Tom Coburn (R-OK), and he stalled the bill because of a $5 million provision that he thought might waste taxpayer dollars.

So for any Haitian who right now lives on top of a pile of rubble washing their clothes in their own urine bucket, while Sean Penn gives your kids cigarettes while regaling you with Fast Times at Ridgemont High anecdotes, hang in there. Cause we need to sort all this out so you won't have to fill out duplicate forms. You're welcome!

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Sharron Angle has a new TV ad in the Nevada Senate race, focusing on the issue that has been her main weapon against Harry Reid (and her main hedge against attacks regarding her own right-wing stances) -- the economy.

"They're not statistics. They're people," says Angle. "They're the father who got laid off today, and doesn't know how he's going to pay for his mortgage. The frightened senior who's seen half of her home value disappear. And the small business owner who's closing for good.

"Let's be honest. We tried it Harry Reid's way, and it didn't work. It's time to end the bailouts and the reckless spending, the higher taxes, and put Nevadans back to work.

The TPM Poll Average puts Reid ahead by 47.7%-45.2%.

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California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman told KNX radio in Los Angeles on Thursday that she suspects the handwriting on a letter regarding the Social Security number of her former housekeeper is her husband's.

Late yesterday, Whitman's husband Dr. Griff Harsh said in a statement that he did not recall receiving the letter, but said "it is possible that I would've scratched a follow up note on a letter like this."

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Better late than never, but President Obama is finally pressing the Senate to confirm his long-stalled judicial nominees.

In a letter delivered yesterday to key Senators, Obama demanded an end to GOP obstructive tactics that are preventing dozens of non-controversial judges from being confirmed.

"I write to express my concern with the pace of judicial confirmations in the United States Senate," Obama wrote. "Yesterday, the Senate recessed without confirming a single one of the 23 Federal judicial nominations pending on the Executive Calendar.... At this point in the prior Administration (107th Congress), the Senate had confirmed 61% of the President's judicial nominations. By contrast, the Senate has confirmed less than half of the judicial nominees it has received in my Administration. Nominees in the 107th Congress waited less than a month on the floor of the Senate before a vote on their confirmation. The men and women whom I have nominated who have been confirmed to the Courts of Appeals waited five times longer and those confirmed to the District Courts waited three times longer for final votes."

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