TPM News

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele addressed the Nevada Republican convention on Friday -- and affirmed that he wants the United States to win the war in Afghanistan, after having gotten in hot water for seemingly opposing it.

"We don't need the fight inside our own house," said Steele. "I'm tired of it. End it tonight."

"I know that my remarks may have been a little bit confusing or misunderstood," Steele added. "Afghanistan is a war we can win. It is perhaps the hardest place in the world to win a war but this is America, and with the right leadership, and with the right resources and the right rules of engagement on the ground, we not only can win, we must win. We will win and we will not leave our soldiers alone in the battle."

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It seems like everyone has an opinion about David Vitter these days. Dems want him ousted from the Senate; Louisiana Republicans are divided on that question. Reporters just wish he'd take their questions. But there's one demographic that has been studiously silent about Vitter ever since his prostitution scandal gave way to the scandal over his sheltering an aide who violently attacked his girlfriend: conservative women's groups.

Last week, TPM reached out to several conservative women's organizations, both on the national level and in the state of Louisiana, for comment on Vitter's actions. Few of them responded at all.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has made her latest pronouncement on the evils of the Obama administration -- that they are "turning our country into a nation of slaves."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: The Year of Michele Bachmann]

Bachmann appeared at a right-wing conference in Colorado this past weekend, the Colorado Independent reports, and in her speech Friday night she quoted from founding father John Jay: "We are determined to live free or not at all. And we are resolved that posterity shall never reproach us with having brought slaves into the world."

Bachmann then continued, in her own words: "We will talk a little bit about what has transpired in the last 18 months and would we count what has transpired into turning our country into a nation of slaves."

Attorney General Eric Holder Sunday denied that the timing of the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona's immigration law has anything to do with the looming midterm elections. But question remain about whether the Obama administration really did bring the lawsuit now to help Democrats with Latino voters and drive a wedge between Republicans this fall.

If so, the lawsuit is likely to be the only immigration policy action on which lawmakers will be able to campaign, if the Sunday show appearances by members of Congress are any indication of the lack of appetite for passing a comprehensive immigration reform measure this year.

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Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the apparent frontrunner for the Senate seat of the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd is pushing back his decision on whether he will run, as the state sorts out the confusing legal situation on the seat.

Manchin told Politico over the weekend that he would delay his decision on whether to run -- though he again said it is "highly likely" he will run -- until a special session of the state legislature corrects the state's ambiguous law on whether to hold a special election, and he appoints someone as an interim Senator. "My intentions [on a Senate bid] would be third, that's the last thing I would do," Manchin said.

Manchin said that the state legislative process could be taken care of later this week, on Thursday. "We all agreed to have a special session on Thursday at noon," Manchin said. "At that point, we should have legislation presented, they should look at it, approve it, adjust it, whatever -- but come out with a clear understanding of how we proceed to have the election this November with a primary, if they desire, this September or whenever."

Former top officials in the Republican Party of Florida, including chair Jim Greer and executive director Delmar Johnson, spent thousands of party dollars to buy themselves fine cigars, lobster dinners, souvenirs and, in one case, a Winnie the Pooh-themed birthday party.

The former office manager for the party, who says she was fired after she voiced concerns about top officials' spending, gave details on their spending in a story published Sunday in the St. Petersburg Times.

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Democratic Governors Voice Grave Concerns on Immigration The New York Times reports: "In a private meeting with White House officials this weekend, Democratic governors voiced deep anxiety about the Obama administration's suit against Arizona's new immigration law, worrying that it could cost a vulnerable Democratic Party in the fall elections. While the weak economy dominated the official agenda at the summer meeting here of the National Governors Association, concern over immigration policy pervaded the closed-door session between Democratic governors and White House officials and simmered throughout the three-day event."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 11 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 11:30 a.m. ET, and Obama will meet at 12 p.m. ET with senior advisers. Obama will hold a bilateral meeting at 2:10 p.m. ET with President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, and the two will hold a joint press availability at 2:40 p.m. ET.

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Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) is seeing to it that no matter how much the Gulf spill impacts Florida beaches, BP oil will coat the politics of the three-way Florida Senate race this summer.

Last week, Crist called a rare special session of the state legislature to consider a complete ban on offshore oil exploration in Florida waters, a move that would require a constitutional amendment Crist wants to put on the November ballot for voters to consider.

Crist says he's in favor of the ban, a reversal from his past support of offshore drilling in Florida. He says that the shift is due to the scope of the BP spill, which Crist has been talking about for weeks now as tar balls have made their way to the Florida coast. But Crist's political opponents -- the most vocal of them Republicans -- say that concern about winning the Senate race in November is more responsible for Crist's change of heart than the spill is.

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