Perry Stein

Perry is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in Washington D.C. Prior to TPM, she was a reporter-research at The New Republic and worked for her hometown paper, The Miami Herald. Perry can be reached at perry@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Perry

Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin, the newly announced Tea Party-backed primary challenger to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said Wednesday he's willing to use his own cash to finance his 2014 race.

"[McConnell] can pretend I’m a nuisance, but the fact is, I’ll be the biggest nuisance he’s ever had in his political career,” Bevin told Bloomberg News Wednesday. “I’m not going to match him dollar-for-dollar; I’m going to match him on ideology.”

“What I bring to the equation that Mitch McConnell does not is an understanding of how the private sector actually works,” Bevin, who was once a private-equity executive, added. “I’ve been the CEO of a company that makes bells and the CEO of companies that produce billions of dollars for which people are fiduciarily responsible.”

Meanwhile, a number of influential conservative groups haven't endorsed either candidate yet, leaving open the option of backing Bevin. They include the Club For Growth, Madison Project and Senate Conservatives Fund, according to the Louisville-based WHAS11.

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Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father, hopes the foundation he co-founded in his murdered son's name will help allow something positive to come from his death, he said Wednesday as he delivered remarks on Capitol Hill at the first hearing of the newly formed Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys.

The Trayvon Martin Foundation advocates against senseless crime and gun violence and will educate people on relevant Florida laws.

"There are so many positive things that can and will come out of this incident," Martin said Wednesday. "There's nothing we can do to bring Trayvon back, but if there's something we can do as a foundation to help other families from going through this, then we're here."

"I vow to do everything in my power to never stop fighting for Trayvon, not only for Trayvon but for so many other black and brown boys in this country," he added. "We are trying to turn this message into a positive."

The hearing was entitled "The Status of Black Males: Ensuring Our Boys Mature Into Strong Men."

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President Barack Obama made an appeal to the member of Congress during his speech on the economy Wednesday in Galesburg, Ill, specifically urging Republicans to "stop taking meaningless repeal votes" on legislation such as the Affordable Care Act.

"If you think you have a better plan for making sure every American has the security of quality, affordable health care, stop taking meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete ideas with the country," he said. "If you are serious about a balanced, long-term fiscal plan that replaces the mindless cuts currently in place, or tax reform that closes corporate loopholes and gives working families a better deal, I’m ready to work – but know that I will not accept deals that do not meet the test of strengthening the prospects of hard-working families."

Lydell Hartford Jr., a 20-year-old freshman linebacker at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was accidentally shot to death outside his home in Louisiana by a 16-year-old friend who was playing with a gun he thought was unloaded, according to the Post Crescent.

The teenager squeezed the trigger several times and Hartford was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck.

The .38-caliber gun was owned by Hartford's mother. Hartford and the teenager, whose name is not being released, found the gun in a car that was parked in the family's driveway, according to a release on the University's website. 

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Willie Louis, a key witness in the landmark Emmett Till murder trial that galvanized the civil rights movement in the 1950s, died last week at the age of 76, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

Louis, who was known as Willie Reed at the time, witnessed the murder of Till, a black 14-year-old, who was allegedly killed by two white men in Mississippi after he whistled at a white woman.

A white man later approached Louis with a gun and asked 'Boy, did you see anything?' Louis responded 'no,' according to the Tribune.

But Louis decided to testify anyway and was hailed as a civil rights hero.

The men were found not guilty by an all-white jury and after the trial, Louis, fearing for his safety, fled to Chicago and changed his name. He told no one of his connection to the case, and eventually worked as an orderly at area hospitals.

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The now beleaguered Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said in an interview Wednesday that he has given "no consideration" to stepping down from his post.

"I think there have been a couple of bad rumors about that," McDonnell told NBC Washington in a satellite interview from Kabul, Afghanistan. "Virginia is in better shape than most states...I think that's what people appreciate, that's what they expect out of government and that's what we're going to continue to do the next five months."

McDonnell has been under fire recently for accepting money for personal use from one of his major donors, Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. The Republican said Tuesday that he has since repaid the more than $120,000 in loans to Williams, but did not clarify whether he would reinburse Williams for various gifts, including footing a $15,000 catering bill for the wedding of McDonnell's daughter.

"I thought it was the right thing to do, to make the loan payments, and to begin to heal the trust that might have been broken," McDonnell said in the interview.

Watch the interview below:

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) stood by incendiary remarks he made last week in an interview about DREAMers--where he was quoted as saying that for every valedictorian DREAMer, there are 100 more who are carrying drugs across the border--despite near universal condemnation from Democrats and his Republican colleagues.

"It seems as though I have a few critics out there, but those who have been advocating for the DREAM Act have been trying to make it about valedictorians," King said on Radio Iowa Tuesday. "I don’t disagree that there are DREAMers that are valedictorians, but it also would legalize those that are smuggling drugs into the United States."

"I made a comment in an interview last week….to Newsmax…and I said: ‘For every valedictorian, you have a hundred 130-pound drug smugglers with calves the size of cantaloupes.’  And that comes from being down on the border, spending days and nights down there in multiple trips and time with the Border Patrol…That description essentially came from them," the congressman continued.

“It’s not something that I’m making up. This is real," he added. "We have people that are mules, that are drug mules, that are hauling drugs across the border and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back and if those who advocate for the DREAM Act, if they choose to characterize this about valedictorians, I gave them a different image that we need to be thinking about because we just simply can’t be passing legislation looking only at one component of what would be millions of people.”

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Huma Abedin stood by her husband, New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, Tuesday as he responded to new allegations of sexually explicit chats.

"Anthony has made some horrible mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress and after," Abedin said after her husband spoke at a press conference. "But I do strongly believe that that is between us and our marriage. We discussed all of this before Anthony decided to run for mayor."

"I love him, I have forgiven in him, I believe in him and, as we have said since the beginning, we are moving forward," she added.

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Fox News' Sean Hannity fired back at MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Monday, slamming the 'Morning Joe' host as just a "prop" used by Washington insiders to "attack conservatives."

“It’s not really worth responding to liberal Joe and his under 400,000 viewers or whatever he has," Hannity said on Fox News. "His radio show failed, his TV show is failing, he has kind of sold his soul, you know, on a liberal network, and he attacks conservative and is used by a prop by his insider Washington pals to attack conservatives."

Scarborough previously criticized the Fox News host for asking if President Barack Obama and Trayvon Martin are similar because they both "smoked pot, did a little blow." Obama said in his speech Friday that Trayvon could have been him 35 years ago.

"It seems we keep hearing that Trayvon had it coming because he had pot in his system: I keep hearing this from people like Sean Hannity and others on the right," Scarborough continued. "Really? Would we like to go across college campuses in America and tell all white boys that if they have marijuana in their system they are fair game?"

Watch Hannity on Fox News below:

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