TPM News

With only days to go before Majority Leader Harry Reid unveils his forthcoming energy legislation, the Senate's lead climate change negotiator acknowledged today that he's shy of the 60 votes he'd need to overcome a filibuster if it includes provisions meant to mitigate global warming.

"Are we there? No," said Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in response to a question from TPMDC this afternoon. "We don't have the 60 votes yet. I know that. But we're close, enough to be able to fight for it, and we'll see where we wind up."

Kerry has never claimed otherwise, and has always suggested that building a 60-plus vote coalition for climate legislation would be a tough climb. But his acknowledgment comes as other key Democratic members and chairmen are trying to prevent any plan to cap and price global warming pollution from coming to the floor without 60 votes in the bag. Just today, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), chair of the Democratic Policy Committee, publicly cast doubt on whether that's possible.

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Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) comments that President Obama "favors the black person" by default in an argument may have cost him an appearance at a Colorado fundraiser.

King was previously going to speak at an event for Colorado state Rep. Cory Gardner, who is running against freshman Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey. But as the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports:

He was scheduled to speak at a $100 a person fundraiser for Gardner on Saturday in Hudson, but the event has been scrapped, Gardner campaign manager Chris Hansen said.

Hansen wouldn't elaborate on the reasons, but he informed the Coloradoan of the cancellation after the paper inquired about King's remarks. The campaign had sent an e-mail to supporters Friday promoting the fundraiser.

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If you're wondering whether Republicans will hide Nevada Senate hopeful Sharron Angle from the press the way they've sequestered Rand Paul, wonder no more.

At her debut appearance on Capitol Hill today, Angle zigged and zagged her way through private corridors and through side doors to avoid taking even perfunctory questions from waiting reporters.

This afternoon, as nearly a dozen reporters stood in wait, Angle attended the Republicans' weekly policy luncheon--a common tradition in both parties after primary victors and other hopefuls enter the general election. When it was over, though, and Angle was ready to leave, she didn't exactly welcome press attention. Rather she took a back door out of the dining room, through the waiting room outside the Senate chamber into a reception area, which reporters are forbidden from entering. From there she took a senators only staircase down to the first floor of the Capitol toward a side exit on the building's north face. That's where the pack caught up with her and peppered her with questions, which she almost entirely ignored as she weaved her way east toward the driveway, and into her car to safety.

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The new survey of Louisiana by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that despite the disaster created by the BP oil spill, the state's voters still overwhelmingly support offshore drilling.

The poll asked: "Do you support or oppose drilling for oil off the shore of Louisiana?" The answer was support 77%, oppose 12%. In addition, only 31% said that the spill made them less supportive of drilling, to 28% who said it made them more supportive, and 42% for whom it made no difference.

"People are always concerned with their economic livelihood," writes PPP president Dean Debnam. "In Louisiana the economy and jobs are clearly tied to the oil and gas industry. Louisianans seem more concerned about the closure of oil rigs than of beaches."

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today joined Democrats calling for a state criminal investigation into the mysterious candidacy of Senate nominee Alvin Greene. Greene (D-SC) was able to capture 59 percent of the vote and win the party nomination last Tuesday despite having never campaigned. CREW also filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over alleged reporting violations by Greene and two other no-name Democratic candidates in South Carolina.

CREW and others have said the investigation should focus on how Greene came up with the more than $10,000 filing fee. Officials with the watchdog group asked South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster (R) to investigate whether Greene was "induced" to run in a violation of state law. That's an echo of the calls from the state Democratic Party and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who has suggested Greene's candidacy was part of some sort of conspiracy.

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It seems that Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul's rogue ophthalmology certification outfit, the National Board of Ophthalmology, is still recertifying doctors even though the group has virtually no public footprint.

Ben Smith at Politico reports on the group Dr. Paul founded to protest changes in the national American Board of Ophthalmology's certification policies:

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Gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman (R-CA) reportedly shoved one of her eBay employees and later resolved the matter with the help of a private mediation attorney, a confidentiality agreement and "around $200,000."

The New York Times is reporting about a June 2007 incident in which an eBay employee claimed that Whitman "became angry and forcefully pushed her in an executive conference room at eBay's headquarters."

Citing several anonymous former employees, the Times detailed a dust-up between Whitman and Young Mi Kim, who was helping the executive prepared for an interview. According to the Times -- and not disputed by Whitman's campaign -- Kim "told at least one colleague that Ms. Whitman used an expletive and shoved her."

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With nearly five months to go until Election Day, Republican hopes of retaking the Senate have dimmed and they're privately lamenting their lost opportunity. Until just a few weeks ago, Republicans considered winning a Senate majority a long shot but by no means out of reach. But the euphoria over Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts in January seems a distant memory now, especially after the latest round of primary results last week.

Primary victories by Carly Fiorina in California and Sharron Angle in Nevada bolstered a growing national narrative that Republican candidates are lightweights, or too outside the mainstream, to survive in the fall, and that could harm even top tier Republicans.

"There's now a path to 'acceptable losses' for Democrats," notes one cautiously optimistic Democratic strategist.

"I totally see how the number stops at five to seven [Republican pickups]" says a Republican consultant, speaking of an optimistic scenario for the GOP.

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During an interview on Sean Hannity's TV show last night, Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle declared twice that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn't care about the country -- or his home state of Nevada, for that matter.

Hannity publicly dared Reid to come on the show and debate Angle live. And Angle chimed in: "We have to ask Harry why he doesn't care about Nevada, why he doesn't care about America."

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The new survey of the Illinois Senate race by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that this state is now struggling in its choice between two seriously flawed candidates -- and there could even be a significant protest vote for a third candidate.

The numbers: Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who has endured bad publicity from the failure of his family's bank, has 31%. Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, who has come under fire for false statements about his military record, has 30%. And a third candidate, LeAlan Jones of the Green Party, gets 14%. The survey of registered voters has a ±4.2% margin of error.

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