TPM News

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now adding his voice to those Republicans flirting with an attempted repeal of birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of parents who are illegal immigrants -- by far the highest-level endorsement yet from the party establishment. Although McConnell did not take a firm position on the issue, he nevertheless seemed to paint this as a widespread, consensus belief: "I don't think anybody thinks that's something they're comfortable with," he said of the status quo, guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, in which anyone born in the U.S. automatically becomes a citizen, regardless of their parents' immigration status.

McConnell's office told Sam Stein on Monday that McConnell believes "we should hold hearings" on the subject, which has been much discussed on the right.

In a follow-up interview with The Hill, McConnell elaborated. "I think we ought to take a look at it -- hold hearings, listen to the experts on it," McConnell said. "I haven't made a final decision about it, but that's something that we clearly need to look at. Regardless of how you feel about the various aspects of immigration reform, I don't think anybody thinks that's something they're comfortable with."

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After having supported the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has decided not to support President Obama's second SCOTUS pick, Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Last night, in response to questions from TPMDC, he explained his differing decisions.

"[She's] just not been able to give people comfort," Nelson said. "The calls have been running -- there's a constituency not to vote for her. There's not a strong constituency to vote for her."

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka implored state and local labor leaders and political organizers this morning to fight harder than ever in the fall elections, pleading with them to think about progress that's been made under President Obama and to "keep going."

Trumka, who has not shied away from criticizing Obama, got specific with his pitch. He said the nation can't afford to have Senators like Republican candidates Sharron Angle (NV) and Rand Paul (KY), or to have a Speaker John Boehner if Democrats lose control of Congress. He also criticized the Democrats who haven't been supportive of the labor movement.

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Senate Starts Kagan Debate With Confirmation On Track The Senate will begin debate today on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. A successful confirmation is expected later this week, as nearly all Democrats plus some Republicans have indicated that they will vote for her.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. He will sign the Fair Sentencing Act at 11 a.m. ET. He will host a town hall with Young African Leaders at 2 p.m. ET. He will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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A pseudonymous liberal blogger in Washington state hopes that progressives across the country will show up to tea party rallies on September 12 and -- if it's legal -- light up a confederate flag so tea partiers can watch it burn.

"I think that it would start a great conversation about race and about how it's being used for political gain right now," the blogger, who preferred to be identified by his online handle, "General J.C. Christian," told me Monday. "I can imagine people showing up at the tea parties, which I'll do at my local one, and the tea party backers will start explaining why [the flag] is about state's rights, not slavery, and all that and basically hang themselves."

"I think that will be one of the messages that come out of the tea party events if my idea works out and people actually embrace it," he added.

General JC Christian, who writes the satirical anti-conservative blog Jesus' General, says he's serious about Burn The Confederate Flag Day, which he announced Sunday night on Facebook and the web. And while there's no sign so far that Burn The Confederate Flag Day will spread across the nation, the idea seems sure to at least ruffle some tea party feathers.

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In a three-way Tennessee Republican gubernatorial primary to be held this Thursday, two right-wing candidates have been splitting what Monty Python would call the "silly vote," leaving Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam as the de facto "sensible candidate," and thus making him the frontrunner.

A recent Mason-Dixon poll gave Haslam the lead with 36%, followed by Rep. Zach Wamp at 25% and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey with 20%. To be sure, Haslam has tacked right somewhat. For example, he used to be a member of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's (I) Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition. But in early 2009 he left the group and joined the National Rifle Association.

But with that said, there's nothing that Haslam has done or said that compares to the other two. Let's take a look.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the darling of right-wing activists who recently founded the House Tea Party Caucus, is now further seeking to advance her national profile -- she's starting her own leadership PAC.

In the finest traditions of political action committees, the committee's title is built as a complex acronym around her name: MICHELEPAC, the "Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere" PAC.

Bachmann filed the paperwork just this past Friday, so the committee has not yet reported raising any money.

On Saturday, TPM attended the Uni-Tea rally in Philadelphia, with the hopes of witnessing the most diverse Tea Party rally ever.

Unfortunately, the mostly white gathering left us with crushed hopes and broken dreams, though we did manage to capture some good video of Tea Partiers trying their darndest to rally the multi-racial crowd that never was...

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Uni-Tease: Scenes From The Tea Party's Failed Diversity Day]

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A new Rasmussen poll of Arizona has yet more bad news for former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who is challenging Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary. On the slim chance that Hayworth were to win the August 24 primary, he would in fact be the weaker GOP nominee -- and even trail the Democrat, former Tucson Councilman Rodney Glassman.

McCain leads Glassman in the general election by 53%-34%, while Glassman actually edges out Hayworth by 43%-38%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. The TPM Poll Averages for the general election matches have McCain leading Glassman by 52.3%-29.3%, and Glassman leading Hayworth by 42.2%-37.4%.

In the previous poll from mid-May, McCain led Glassman by 57%-28%, and Hayworth led Glassman by 49%-33%. Since then, of course, Hayworth has been dragged through the mud by such stories as his involvement in a 2007 infomercial promoting company's shady (and expensive) seminars on receiving "free money" from the federal government. It's not the kind of thing that would endear a candidate to swing voters.

Of course, it should be noted that the TPM Poll Average for the Republican primary puts McCain ahead of Hayworth by 53.6% 32.1%.

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