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The Morning Plum: New SEIU ad rips Lincoln

* Labor unleashes ad against Blanche Lincoln: The SEIU is going up in Arkansas with a tough new ad slamming her for voting with George Bush and being in the tank with Big Oil and Gas.

A source sends over video of the as-yet-unrealeased ad, previewing how labor intends to frame its attack on Lincoln in the countdown to the runoff with Bill Halter in early June.

"Remember when gas hit $4 a gallon?" the ad asks. "What did Senator Blanche Lincoln do? She helped George Bush and Dick Cheney give oil and gas companies over $14 billion in tax breaks. Maybe that's why Lincoln received over half a million dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies."

The spot is in keeping with labor's strategy of painting Lincoln as a creature of Washington who has sold out ordinary Arkansans.

* Also: Bill Halter is up with a new spot that claims momentum for Halter: "Three more weeks. Two more candidates. One choice for change."

* National GOP strategists can't be happy to see that Rand Paul's comments about the Civil Rights Act continue to get huge play, with big takeouts in The Washington Post and The New York Times.

* Concession of the day: Paul finally acknowledges on CNN that the problem of segregation in the south was "so big that it did require federal intervention."

* Laughably lame pushback of the day, from James Taranto: Yes, Rand Paul was wrong to say the Federal government shouldn't have the power to ban discrimination, but liberals who pointed this out were doing so in order to "smear" the GOP and the Tea Party.

* Good read: Dan Froomkin on how the little girl who piped up to Michelle Obama was right.

* David Kurtz says history will render a harsh judgment on whether financial reg reform, which passed the Senate yesterday, meaningfully challenged Wall Street's power and hegemony.

* Also: In the shocker of the day, the broad bipartisan support it was supposed to garner just never materialized.

* Which Obama plans to seize upon to develop a populist message for the midterm elections, painting Republicans as beholden to megabanks.

* With Obama on the verge of notching two major pieces of legislation this year, Ben Smith says it: He may be a strong president.

* No-nonsense reporting from ABC News finds that violence on the U.S. side of the Mexican border is on the decline.

* Oh, dear: Nancy Pelosi's insistence on getting Don't Ask Don't Tell repealed this year has put House Armed Services Committee chair Ike Skelton, a repeal foe, in a tough political spot. Pass the hanky!

* And it looks like Guantanamo may not end up getting closed after all.

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 11: 12 a.m.: Taranto item edited slightly for accuracy.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 21, 2010; 8:11 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Financial reform , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Next: Rand Paul is still ducking the core issue


"What else is happening?"

Morning, Greg. The Gulf Oil Disaster is heartbreaking. If interested, scan through these articles in the New Orleans Times Picayune:

It looks like the White House is finally beginning to take over authority from BP. A month late, if you ask me.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Re: AR Senate:

I like Halter's chances against Blanche ("I have always depended on the kindness of suckers") Lincoln. Also, I've read that Bill Clinton will be campaigning for Lincoln. Hopefully, this will be the Kiss of Death like it was for Hillary. Bill Clinton can't campaign for anyone but himself and I hope this just serves to remind everyone in AR that Lincoln is the DC insider. If so, Bye-Bye Blanche.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I thought that was fascinating that Politico labeled Obama "a strong president".

True that although both legislative victories are watered down he and the Democrats did get it done in the end by passing a truly historic health care reform package that no president has ever been able to pass for decades and Wall Street reform.

Who said that Congress can't do big things.

I say the next legislative task that MUST be taken is Energy Indepedence that focuses on a Green Economy. That is what should be pushed from now until the Fall.

Posted by: maritza1 | May 21, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

"I say the next legislative task that MUST be taken is Energy Indepedence that focuses on a Green Economy. That is what should be pushed from now until the Fall."

Agreed, Maritza. Now that FinReg is done it's time that Obama focused like a laser on the Gulf Disaster, green energy, and climate change.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"With Obama on the verge of notching two major pieces of legislation this year, Ben Smith says it: He may be a strong president."

To me (perhaps as a consequence of being Canadian?) this notion fits into the "Well, duh" category. It seems inarguable from my perspective. He's made big changes in a very short time where others haven't been able to get them done over a full term or consecutive terms. And all done in the face of near absolute political opposition and obstruction, a large propaganda network in full throat, and billions of dollars in special interests invested to knock him and his projects down.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 21, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Miss Piggy back at the Big Oil trough even as her state is being destroyed by oil. Once Blanche is history: LANDRIEU HAS TO GO!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Miss Piggy back at the Big Oil trough even as her state is being destroyed by oil.

Once Blanche is history: LANDRIEU HAS TO GO!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Rand Paul defends Big Oil and says Obama is being "un-American" by criticizing the company that is destroying the Gulf of Mexico.

"Kentucky's Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul is criticizing President Barack Obama's handling of the gulf oil debacle as putting "his boot heel on the throat of BP."
Paul says Obama's criticism of the oil company sounds like an attack on business and "really un-American.""

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

In the vein of Obama's doing a good job (and Democrats), there's this from Joe Klein. It sure is an uphill battle though.

"The latest--an update from Michael Scherer's smart post below--is that Rand Paul is now saying that he regrets the appearance with Rachel Maddow, not the ridiculous statements he made in favor of a private business's ability to discriminate according to race. I suspect that this will be the first of many such disasters for the Tea Party libertarians. They are about to find themselves faced with actual political rivals who will be more than happy to expose the utopian foolishness of their ideology. This will be a rare moment of public education for an electorate that doesn't pay sufficient attention to even the most important aspects of democracy."

"If Democrats play their cards right, by November most Americans will know that Medicare is government health care, that social security is a government pension service, that all the bank bailout money either has been paid back or will be covered by a modest tax on too-big-to-fail banks, that the Obama stimulus package mostly consisted of tax cuts for them and support for necessary local government functions like schools and cops--and that the jobs-creating aspects of the stimulus package have been remarkably free of corruption."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 21, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Rand Paul said on ABC that the President's criticism of BP is unAmerican because Obama wants to keep his boot on BP's throat. Paul said that's attacking business and sometimes accidents just happen.

Is this guy for real? Has this guy seen the the disaster in the gulf?

Posted by: caribgirl | May 21, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Rand Paul's spokesperson (just resigned), unbelievable:

Posted by: Papagnello | May 21, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@Greg, re: Politico (Strong Obama)

"In the space of four months, President Obama has gone from being a president whose legacy might have been limited to the financial stabilization of the beginning of his term to one whose strength, and broad policy legacy, seems difficult to question."

I know you like Ben Smith and all, and it's swell that an article on politico isn't some pathetic right-wing nonsense. But why did it take this long, and why is he only looking at 4 months? In 1 year and 4 months, Pres. Obama has:

Passed the largest economic stimulus package since the New Deals.

Passed a comprehensive Health Care Reform bill.

Passed a comprehensive Financial Reform bill.

Stabilized the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

Got one SC nominee confirmed, and is poised to get a second one confirmed before the mid-terms.

Held the largest world summit since the foundation of the UN, on nuclear proliferation.

Negotiated an updated START treaty with Russia.


And that's just the MAJOR stuff he's accomplished in 16 months. Not even half way through HIS FIRST TERM. Seriously? That's what it takes before Politico is willing to say that he might be a strong President?

If that's the bar, then we haven't had a strong President in decades.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 21, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

WaPo's Gerson:

"A specter is haunting the Republican Party ... It is the specter of ideological overreach."

Ya think?

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Slave Sargent:
" David Kurtz says history will render a harsh judgment on whether financial reg reform, which passed the Senate yesterday, meaningfully challenged Wall Street's power and hegemony"

History's first draft just got recorded yesterday with the Dow's 376-point tumble.

It's a wonderful thing you're doing with your moonbat livestock here, MemeMaster.

Sniff around Rand Paul's and Blanche Lincoln's bedsheets, trying to rehabilitate Blumenthal, and carry on about any number of minor irrelevancies to keep their feeble minds from the big stories.

The Alleged Hawaiian and his cronies on the Hill are NOT creating jobs and are deficit-spending any chance this country might have at a recovery.

The President of Mexico has the gall to castigate the democratically elected government of the state of Arizona while at the podium of the House chamber, and your moonbat masters give this wretched high-caste oligarch, (who is only too happy to export his mestizo campesinos to be economic parasites upon us in El Norte), a standing ovation.

I actually agree with Gingrich on this one...remember that video,pal, because I think you're going to be seeing it again and again and again.

But meanwhile, keep your mouth-breathers' feeble minds programmed with these inane red-herrings and irrelevancies.

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 21, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"And it looks like Guantanamo may not end up getting closed after all."


How 'BOUT that?

Moonbats PWNED by the Alleged Hawaiian...AGAIN!

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 21, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

lms, thanks for the Klein piece. Nicely put.

Hard to believe how much self-destruction one candidate can visit on himself in just a few short days. And this before his opponent has even gotten started on him.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 21, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Greg, any additional news on the Dennis Blair resignation?

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 21, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

OT, but I just watched Rand Paul on Good Morning America, and Paul is a buffoon. He is definitely NOT ready for primetime.

When pressed about his 2002 letter to the editor to his local paper in which he stated that private businesses should be able to discriminate along any lines, he bristled. He told George Stephanopolous. "What is going on here is an attempt to vilify us for partisan reasons. Where do your talking points come from? The Democratic National Committee, they also come from Rachel Maddow and MSNBC."

So, according to Paul, Stephanopolous of ABC gets his marching orders Rachel Maddow and MS-NBC. Ah, once again with the vast liberal media conspiracy. But that was not all. He spent the entire ten minute interview dodging and weaving and provided maybe only one answer to many direct questions which were asked. Paul even trotted out Sen. Byrd as a straw man to divert attention to from his own words:

"If you want to bring up 40-year-old legislation, why don't you bring me on with Sen. [Robert] Byrd, and we'll talk about how he filibustered the Civil Rights Act. Make him, call him to task for something he actually did as opposed to calling me to task for something they insinuated that I might believe that's not true."

Either Paul would have us believe that ABC and MS-NBC are effectively one intertwined network, or the liberal control of the media is so insidious that it extends back to controlling him to write the 2002 letter to the editor that is plaguing hims still.

Damn! I didn't know that us liberals were THAT good!

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 21, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Gas, translation: hard questions are liberal.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 21, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

The best thing about Randy Paul is that he drives a MASSIVE wedge between the Tea Parties and the GOP, which, as we know, are basically one and the same. Look for journalists, who obviously smell blood in the water, to start asking other GOPers if they agree in the Tea Party brand of pseudo-libertarianism.

The GOPbaggers have 5 months to dance on the head of a pin while the Dems go off and sell their many accomplishments. Among which, I would add to BBQ's list, is getting Russia and China to agree to sanctions on Iran.

And who could be a better bastion of the Dem's accomplishments and progressive "govt works" message than Joe Sestak, Jack Conway and Bill Halter. We'll see I guess, but it's obvious to me that last Tuesday was a game-changer in many ways. (And getting finreg done is another massive bonus).

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 21, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, agreed. And it's important that the Dems have come out with good candidates. Halter is really solid, and while I don't love Sestak, he has been poised and has struck exactly the right tone and message in all the interviews I've seen of him this week.

Don't know anything about Conway, but if he runs a patient, smart campaign "Randy" Paul will self-destruct. And will do so on his own if he keeps it up, as the GOP will not come in to help him.

Let's hope Tim Kaine and the DNC have a solid plan going forward.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 21, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Also, from First Read this morning, this is yet ANOTHER stunning example of just how pathetically poor the Republicans screwed up our national security apparatus:

"""all the sources agreed the "fundamental flaw" in the organization is that "the DNI has all the responsibility without the power or authority." Indeed, as the New York Times points out, Blair’s eventual replacement will be the fourth DNI in five years. Wow."""

Could there be a more stunning example of negligence on behalf of protecting America?

The bill that initially created the DNI position was written in response to recommendations by the 9/11 commission...

...but Republicans (Denny Hastert, Cheney, Rumsfeld) watered it down and took away all of the authority granted to the position.

Read the full review of the changes in an article at Slate:

"""Initially, the Senate passed a bill that closely reflected the commission's suggestions, which a handful of Republicans in the House firmly rejected. House Speaker Dennis Hastert refused even to bring a similar bill to the floor for a vote.


The explicit duties of the new national intelligence director, as laid out in the bill, have not yet been reported. Whatever they are, they will be strictly limited by the provision forbidding the abrogation of the defense secretary's statutory responsibilities.

This explains why Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld so strongly opposed the reforms recommended by the 9/11 commission and adopted by the Senate. They would have stripped him of those responsibilities—i.e., of his power over so vast and shrouded a chunk of the national security machinery."""

Read it all here:

Worth a read for sure. Dems in the Senate acted to allow the new position to protect the people. GOPers in the House, Executive branch and DoD acted to protect the power of the military establishment. Just insane.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 21, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

All, new Rand Paul post on his remarkable ABC News appearance this AM:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 21, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Um, look, if you want to lie about your record of service? THIS is how to do it:

The Los Angeles Times notes the California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore (R) "has emphasized his service as a military officer and a young Reagan White House appointee at the Pentagon as experiences that helped make him the most qualified candidate. But at times he appears to have overstated those accomplishments, particularly his experience under fire and his role in the development of a U.S.-Israeli anti-ballistic-missile defense program."

In one debate DeVore spoke of being "shot at in Lebanon" but did not make clear "that the shooting occurred in the 1980s while DeVore was a college student studying Arabic and other subjects in the Middle East. Nor did he note that while the shooting was in his vicinity, there was no indication he was a target or was in actual danger."

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 21, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"while I don't love Sestak"

BG: I haven't been enamored of Sestak either but I saw him on some show (maybe Tweety's) yesterday and Sestak was much more commanding that I've seen before. Maybe he's hitting his stride after knocking off Specter. Hope so.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, imho, towards the tail end of his campaign he was schooled on being more vibrant and animated. I've always liked his politics but not his campaign/speaking style. I think someone in the Dem apparatus took him aside and said, look, if you want to win this thing, we're going to have to train you on how to act on TV. It's all conjecture on my part that this has occurred, but from the beginning of his campaign to now he's a different man and clearly more likable and more forceful, two things that are absolutely necessary in today's age of retail politics.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 21, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Agree completely on Sestak.

Worst thing is his name sounds like the bad lizards on "Land of the Lost." Slestaks.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 21, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Sestak has an odd cadence to his speech. But he does seem better. A little coaching can go a long way if someone is willing to listen and learn.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

What else is happening?
The White House is standing behind Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat Attorney General of Connecticut and Senate candidate, who has been shown to be a serial liar about his service in Vietnam.
How'd you miss that, Greg?

Posted by: dpinillinois | May 21, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

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