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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

Of all the beliefs seemingly held by the California man who allegedly shot a Bureau of Land Management ranger this weekend -- and those include traces of 9/11 trutherism, conspiracies about fluoridated water and anti-Semitism -- perhaps one of the most puzzling is Brent Douglas Cole's apparent assertion that he is "a statutory Attorney General of the United States."

The Southern Poverty Law Center linked Cole, 60, who allegedly shot a BLM ranger and a California Highway Patrol officer on Saturday near a campground within the Tahoe National Forest, to a profile in which he described himself that way. (Cole was also wounded in the shootout, and state and federal authorities are investigating the case.)

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The kissing congressman, Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), said this week he might not retire from Congress at the end of this year after all, as he said he would do when he was caught kissing a staffer on camera.

Politico reported late Tuesday that McAllister said he was "55 percent to 45 percent toward running." He must decide by Aug. 22.

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The man accused of shooting two law enforcement members in California, including a Bureau of Land Management ranger, has had at least one previous run-in with law enforcement and has described himself as the target of a massive government conspiracy.

Brent Douglas Cole, 60, was named by the Nevada County Sheriff's Office on Monday as the suspect in Saturday's shooting that also left him wounded.

Anna Ferguson, assistant district attorney for Nevada County, confirmed to TPM that Cole was also facing misdemeanor charges in Nevada County Superior Court for allegedly carrying a loaded firearm. He was charged on Jan. 26.

On Tuesday, the Union newspaper in Grass Valley, Calif., published an article that quoted from court documents in the case. The documents showed Cole believed he was the target of a massive conspiracy:

Officers acted without warrant or any probable cause to seize my person using a swat team style assault, and then started looking for something to charge me with. I was attacked and molested, unconstitutionally arrested, unlawfully incarcerated, repeatedly intimidated and coerced to plead guilty to having committed a crime, held in secret for five days, and my property and liberty taken from me since January 26, 2014. I am being persecuted for being a gun owner, and for exercising my inherent Right by unwitting or unknowing accomplices of a seditious conspiracy against rights instituted by foreign powers inimical to the United States of America.

That's in line with online profiles, reviewed by TPM, that appear to belong to Cole and suggest someone obsessed with multiple conspiracy theories, including 9/11 trutherism, fluoridated water and anti-semitic beliefs.

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While explaining why his conservative state thoroughly embraced health care reform, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) said Tuesday that part of his strategy was avoiding the word "Obamacare" -- which, he said, "has been demonized."

"The phrase 'Obamacare' has been demonized," Beshear said during a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., hosted by the pro-Obamacare Enroll America group. "When you say, 'Obamacare,' it creates the immediate partisan reaction."

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In 1975, Hillary Clinton defended a man accused of raping a 12-year-old child during the early years of her private legal practice. She wrote about the case in her 2003 memoir, "Living History." It was the subject of the 3,000-word story by Newsday during the 2008 presidential campaign.

But after the Washington Free Beacon published an audio recording Sunday in which Clinton discussed the case, conservatives then spent Monday dissecting Clinton's role anew.

The Free Beacon portrayed Clinton's attitude as "casual and complacent" while she discussed the case in an interview for a never-published story by Esquire magazine.

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Explaining her hesitation to renounce her vote in favor of the Iraq War, Hillary Clinton said Monday that she didn't want to "break faith with" the U.S. military.

The remarks gave a little more context to Clinton's admission in her new book that voting for the Iraq War in 2002 was "wrong. Plain and simple."

Backtracking on the vote earlier would have been the "smart political decision," Clinton told a Toronto business group on Monday during her ongoing book tour. But she explained why she felt she couldn't.

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U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who is running to replace Bobby Jindal as Louisiana's governor in 2015, said Monday he would consider adopting Obamacare's Medicaid expansion if elected.

The Associated Press reported that Vitter said he would not be opposed to expanding Medicaid under the health care reform law, on the condition that the state improved the performance of its Medicaid system and as long as it would not negatively affect other state programs.

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As much as it consumed news headlines after its failed October launch, Obamacare has been conspicuously absent since it eclipsed 8 million sign-ups in April and open enrollment came to an end.

That might be because, instead of the bad news that lends credence to Republican doomsaying and captures media attention, most of the Obamacare news lately has been pretty encouraging about the law's sustainability going into Year Two.

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