TPM News

When it comes to his job approval ratings, President Obama has a clear homecourt advantage.

Polling results released today by Gallup show that while Obama's approval numbers are sliding nationwide, the president is still quite popular in some parts of the country. In Washington D.C., Obama has a sky-high approval rating of 85%. In Illinois, where Obama lived for several years, he boasts a 54% approval rating. And in Hawaii, the president's home state, 68% of adults approve of his job performance. Birthers may be disappointed to learn that Kenya was not included in Gallup's survey.

Obama's also doing well in Delaware (where 62% approve), Maryland (60%), New York (57%), Connecticut (57%), and California (56%). All in all, respondents in 15 states gave Obama an approval rating of over 50%.

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The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission today won accreditation from the United Nations despite Republican efforts to defeat the group's application.

As we told you last week, Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) wrote a letter to the other countries who sit on the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council -- countries including anti-gay strongholds like Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- urging them to vote against the New York-based group's application.

Their effort failed, and the resolution passed 23 to 13, with 13 abstaining.

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The proposed construction of a Muslim community center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has become a hot issue in the Republican primary for the open Dem-held TN-06 district. One candidate, Lou Ann Zelenik, has been accusing her rivals of not taking a strong enough stand against it -- and her campaign is also warning against the possibility of Sharia law being instituted in Tennessee.

As the Daily News Journal reports, Zelenik joined a march last week to oppose construction of the center. During the march, she accused her two main opponents, state Sens. Diane Black and Jim Tracy, of not doing anything to stop it.

In an interview with TPMDC, Zelenik's campaign manager Jay Heine summed up the problem: "Here's what we're seeing. We're seeing it as -- this isn't a mosque. They're building an Islamic center to teach Sharia law. That is what we stand in opposition to. And this is one of the largest Islamic centers in the country, at 53,000 square feet on 15 acres."

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The GOP's Senate campaign arm is gathering data on donors and supporters of Republican candidates by asking not about Senate candidates in 2010, but who they like for president in 2012 (and the polices they want GOP leaders to push this fall). Among the 2012 contenders on the survey? One Sen. John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee. Also gracing the list is McCain running mate Sarah Palin and dark horse contender Sen. John Thune. Not on the list are potential candidates Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

National Republican Senatorial Committee political director Chris LaCivita emailed the group's mailing list this weekend to ask about 2012 and the GOP agenda, telling supporters, "Your voice needs to be heard right now."

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Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott (R) was at a town hall meeting over the weekend, and things got a little intense when an audience member demanded Scott answer for the medicare fraud case that plagued health care giant Columbia/HCA right before Scott resigned as CEO.

Scott -- a millionaire anti-health care reform crusader who's now using his personal fortune to muscle his way ahead of establishment favorite state Attorney General Bill McCollum in Florida's Republican gubernatorial primary -- pretty much kept his cool while getting yelled at.

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Is the Tea Party Express' Mark Williams a racist? He certainly says he's not. But Williams -- the spokesman for one of the tea party movement's most Republican establishment-connected groups -- has shown himself to be a virtuoso when it comes to, I guess accidentally, writing and saying racist things. (Two quick examples: There was that time he called Muslims "animals of Allah" in an email and that other time he called President Obama an "Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug" on camera.)

This week, Williams' accidentally racist chickens have come home to roost. After posting one of his most overtly racist (accidentally, I guess) statements ever to his personal website after the NAACP passed a resolution calling on national tea party leaders like Williams to condemn racist rhetoric seen at tea party rallies in the past, Williams has found himself ostracized by a growing number of tea party groups across the country.

Not even his friends are standing up for him now. It's a surprising end for the man who helped to transform the tea party into a Republican political force.

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A California man, whose mother said he was upset about Congress' "left-wing agenda," allegedly opened fire on police officers during a traffic stop in Oakland early Sunday morning.

The man, identified by local news reports as Byron Williams of Groveland, was allegedly pulled over for driving erratically by the California Highway Patrol. As the officers approached his truck, they saw several guns and ammunition, according to police, and they saw the suspect reach for a handgun.

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Democrats were already pretty pleased with the fact that NRCC chairman Pete Sessions pushed for a return to Bush era policies over the weekend. Now they have more ammunition. On C-SPAN's Newsmakers yet, NRSC chairman John Cornyn went a step further.

"Look, I think President Bush's stock has gone up a lot since he left office," Cornyn said. "People appreciate his resolve and commitment in the face of a national security threat like 9/11. He had his challenges no doubt. We have learned a lot about things we could have done better as Republicans in terms of fiscal responsibility...I think a lot of people are looking back with a little more -- with more fondness on President Bush's administration, and I think history will treat him well."

Looks like both Democrats and Republicans want the 2010 elections to be a referendum on the bush administration. Video below the fold.

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Scott McInnis said last week that "voters don't really care" about the plagiarism allegations that are rocking his campaign. At least one poll suggests otherwise.

Last week, the Denver Post caught McInnis apparently copying a state Supreme Court Judge's work for essays on water policy that he was paid $300,000 for after retiring from Congress. Twenty percent of Colorado Republican voters who supported McInnis before that revelation now say they'll back another candidate, according to a SurveryUSA poll commissioned by The Denver Post.

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