TPM News

Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) tonight tore into his Republican rival for suggesting that Carnahan and President Obama are trying to "take away" religious freedom. Carnahan said in a statement that Ed Martin (R-MO) is engaging in "fear mongering" that proves his true character.

As TPM reported last night, Martin said on a conservative radio show Tuesday that the growth of government endangers religious freedom and the "ultimate freedom ... to get your salvation." He said on the "Dr. Gina show" that "[T]hat's one of the things that we have to be very, very aware of that the Obama Administration and Congressman Carnahan are doing to us."

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Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has released an official proposal for a proposed state law to clear up the legal situation on replacing the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, which will be debated and potentially passed in a special legislative session this week:

If the legislation is passed, then the governor can proclaim an election this November to fill the U.S. Senate seat, which would include a special primary election, probably to be held in August or September.

...

There are various election deadlines, some that are in federal law and cannot be waived, that the state must follow in order to hold a valid special election that includes a primary. The governor and the secretary of state have been meeting with a bipartisan group of county clerks to outline the process for a special primary and special general election.

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For weeks, Senate Republicans have filibustered an extension of unemployment benefits on the grounds that Democrats aren't willing to cut spending or raise taxes to pay for them. At the same time, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire, and Republicans want them to be renewed. For two days, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl has raised eyebrows by insisting that emergency aid to unemployed people -- what he called a "necessary evil" -- be paid for through either tax hikes or spending cuts, while the tax cuts (which mostly benefit wealthy people) not be offset in any way. Yesterday claimed that this view is shared by "most of the people in my party."

He was correct.

"That's been the majority Republican view for some time," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told TPMDC this afternoon after the weekly GOP press conference. "That there's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject."

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What exactly is Tom Emmer's position on the minimum wage? The short version is that the presumptive Republican nominee for governor of Minnesota has long opposed the minimum wage, calling it "a true from of socialism," and has recently gotten in hot water for proposing policies that critics argue would result in lower wages -- but his campaign says that scrapping the minimum wage or lowering wages is not on their agenda.

Emmer has gone into damage control mode over comments that seemed to indicate that he thought waiters were being paid too much money, and credits should be instituted for their employers to apply tips towards their wages. Since then he has scheduled a listening session with servers, and even waited tables to show his solidarity with the waiters of Minnesota. What especially got Emmer in trouble was this claim: "With the tips that they get to take home, there are some that are earning over $100,000 a year -- more than the very people that are providing the jobs and investing not only their life savings but their family's future. Something has to be done about that."

Emmer campaign communications director Bill Walsh called TPMDC on Monday, and explained that Emmer did not commit to any solid plan for a tip credit -- and does not want to lower anyone's wages -- but simply indicated that he would support the idea when he was asked about it. "Obvious, Tom Emmer does not think most servers make that much money," said Walsh. "We're not saying that he didn't say people make 100,000 per year. The restaurant owner said it to Tom, and Tom repeated it in a press conference. Absolutely. All we're saying in the Emmer Truth thing is we get it. We know that most servers don't make $100,000 per year."

Walsh added: "It's an extreme example, that's what we do in politics. You go to the extreme examples to make your point."

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The Justice Department has charged four New Orleans police officers with opening fire on unarmed civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina, killing two and wounding four. The DOJ has also charged them, and two other officers, with conspiracy relating to the resulting cover-up.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and Attorney General Eric Holder announced the charges in an afternoon press conference today, five years after the shootings on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans.

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Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in Nevada against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, fired back at Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), who predicted that she would lose to Harry Reid because of her associations with the Tea Party movement. In response, she says that Bennett, who lost his renomination at the state GOP convention this spring, has "outlived his usefulness."

"I'm glad to be lumped to a crowd of mainstream Americans who believe as they showed at the polls that Sen. Bennett has outlived his usefulness. I suppose he's not mainstream any longer," Angle said during an appearance Monday on the Neil Cavuto show. "He has become one of those elitists that is no longer in touch with what the country is really thinking about in these economic times."

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Angle a lead of 45.9%-41.7%.

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It took a few weeks, but the man who helped Rand Paul achieve his meteoric rise to the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky -- and then oversaw Paul's spectacular fall in a series of national television appearances shortly thereafter -- is finally leaving the Paul campaign for good.

Back in May, after the string of disastrous national press appearances that resulted in Paul's high-profile cancellation of an appearance on Meet The Press, campaign manager David Adams was shifted to the role of campaign chairman. Jesse Benton, a longtime Paul family ally and a veteran of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-TX) presidential campaigns, took the reins as Rand Paul's campaign manager.

Today, the AP reports that Adams is leaving the Paul campaign all together, and heading to a new campaign job at an unnamed gubernatorial campaign.

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The DOJ announced new indictments in the Danziger Bridge shooting case today. Here's the full release:

WASHINGTON -Six officers with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) were charged today in connection with the federal investigation of a police-involved shooting on the Danziger Bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina, the Justice Department announced today. The incident resulted in the death of two civilians and the wounding of four others.

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