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The Morning Plum

* Sharron Angle sharpens up: She's out with a new spot that broadens the economy-based attack on Harry Reid, hammering him for falling home values in Nevada.

The key thing to note is that the spot hits Reid with a line that suggests her team may finally be tightening up its act: "The only thing he's delivered for Nevada is hardship."

Alexander Burns, who first reported on the ad, points out that its goal is to "make the consequences of the economic downturn more concrete."

* What to watch today: The Senate's big vote today on billions in state aid to avert teacher layoffs all comes down to the question of what Susan Collins will do. It just never ends!

* Another thing to watch: George Stephanopoulos wants to know why the Obama administration won't promise a presidential veto if the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich passes.

* But he is a "peaceful Muslim", Sarah: Meet the moderate Imam behind the Ground Zero Islamic center. He's one of those "peaceful Muslims" that Sarah Palin has commanded to "refudiate" the plan.

* Also in the above link, an observation from writer Bobby Ghosh: "The furor over the project only underlines how desperately it is needed."

* Still mum: Anthony Weiner's eruption on the House floor continues to win him national attention as a liberal hero, but he still won't tell us whether he's for or against the Ground Zero Islamic center.

* No end to the skittishness: Dems who remain silent on the mosque entirely ceding the debate to Republicans and conservatives who have succeeded in making it politically toxic to defend the rights of Muslims.

* Demagogues and bigots, indeed: The Post editorial board comes out in favor of the center, ripping some opponents for "bigotry" and "demagoguery." Good.

* Where were you when it really counted? Jonathan Chait says the episode over the Islamic center is a seminal moment, and that history will not look kindly on its opponents.

* No surrender: It looks like ABC News is standing by Christiane Amanpour in the face of the right's assault.

* Call in the Big Dog: Bill Clinton heads to Pennsylvania to stump for Joe Sestak, which could be a big deal, given Clinton's pull with working class whites and given that the race remains incredibly close.

* Another "Fourteenth-er": GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray joins the crowd looking for a review of the 14th amendment, taking refuge behind the argument that this is all about "people gaming the system."

* Don't puncture Palin's bubble! The 'Cuda has taken to scrubbing her Facebook page of criticism. This is taking on the air of real pathology.

* And it's time for another support group: Let's start one for fiscally "conservative" Blue Dogs who are addicted to earmarks and Federal funds for their districts.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  August 4, 2010; 8:25 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , House GOPers , Immigration , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: Sharron Angle: Obama and Reid are making government our false "God"


You're not implying that Tom Shales is 'The Right' are you?? It reads that way.

Posted by: JkR- | August 4, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

re. Weiner and Schumer. As a native New Yorker, I am proud of the local officials and especially of Mayor Bloomberg's consistent stand on the Cordoba Center and his latest, eloquent statement. He really rose to the occasion. As for Weiner and Schumer, they are longtime "Israel right or wrong" supporters, and I doubt anything they'd say about this issue is worth hearing. Stop "nationalizing" this local issue, Greg, and go after, if you like, other localities that have banned mosque construction and those local pols. We won't get principled stands from Schumer or Weiner on this; that's my prediction for what it's worth. And by the way, Weiner is whose "liberal darling"? As I said, with his position on Israel, you've got to be kidding.....

Posted by: nancycadet | August 4, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Re the scrubbing of Palin's facebook page entries (cool tech trick there to catch the deletes by the by)...

I experimented there a few months back and when I noted that Israel had a government managed universal healthcare system, those posts disappeared quickly. Facts with their well-known liberal bias not welcome.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 4, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

JKR -- plenty of folks on the right have picked up that attack line, no?

Nancy, I meant "liberal hero" in the sense that he got tons of attention for his eruption at Republicans on the House floor.

And welcome back, Bernie, hope the move is going well and that you're back to stay.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 4, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Someone needs to ask Bobby Jindal if he thinks his parents "gamed the system":

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 4, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

schrodingers -- interesting point. Anyone know if governor Jindal has taken a stand on the big hot button immigration questions -- the AZ law, the 14th amendment, etc?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 4, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the scrubbing on Palin's page isn't even just criticism...

From the slate article

""Sarah, perception is everything! I learned that in the military. All you have to do is disassociate yourself from those Tea Partiers that are indeed racist and the NAACP gones [sic] away," wrote one in response to Palin's post on the NAACP's charge that the Tea Party tolerated racism. "Even they [the NAACP] admit the Tea Party is not a racist organization. Mrs. Palin, I believe you to be an honorable Woman. You believe in your cause. Sometimes for the good of the cause one has to make a stand even to those that support the cause. Remember John Mccain, circa 2008 in which a woman stood up and called Candidate Obama a Muslim. The Honorable John Mccain rebuked her. This could be your moment."

"Do us a favor Sarah, trap a few Wolves and ship em to D.C., they do eat Rats don't they? Have a great trip Sarah, God Bless."

"please dont let your daughter do a reality show :( but i love your family and you ..hope thats just a rumor from the liberals."

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

For Weiner to be against the mosque would be cowardice - and stupidity.

Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who is in charge of the project, is NOT a radical Muslim. My understanding is that Osama Bin Laden considers imam's like Feisal Abdul Rauf a bigger threat than the west. They fight against Bin Laden and try to bring Islam into the 21st century, and they are in a much better position to do so than all the bombs in the US arsenal combined.

For Weiner to side with Bin Laden and the Republicans... Cowardly. Stupid. Inexcusable.

Posted by: nisleib | August 4, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Gov. Jindal has not taken any position on the Arizona law. As to his citizenship, it depends on what proposal you're looking at. I think Lindsey Graham wants to deny birthright to children of illegals. Jindal's parents had student visas and were not illegals. However, there's some guy in Arizona who wants to deny birthright to children of illegals as well as visa immigrants. Jindal would certainly fall under this restriction.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Greg, did you notice that the Repub who was endorsed in the KS GOP Senate primary by Jim DeMint won by 5 points over Palin's pick?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 4, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I am thoroughly enjoying the angst over at Red State because of Pete Hoekstra's loss in the MI Governor primary. :o)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 4, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

George Pataki was on Morning Joe today talking about the Cordoba House. He conceded that they do have the right to build on private land, but he wants to know where they are getting the money. Maybe this become the new meme.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 4, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Wonder if the facebook page scrubbing will convince the Palinbots that she will never again run for public office?

What a gutless, thin-skinned worm she is.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 4, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, in his column today, again pushes the "Obama is too rational and seems cold" narrative.

If you read the column (interesting as an academic exercise only) you'll find that Gerson is really just doing Maureen Dowd but more rationally and without the warmth.

And note the first sentence and its description of Clinton as "casually smashing lives around him while remaining untouched by the chaos he creates." Not sure what Gerson is talking about here but we assume it is some allusion to Monica Lewinsky (is her life 'smashed'?) We also note there is no mention from Gerson of the hundreds of thousands of innocents who were killed and maimed ('smashed' you might say) as a consequence of the President/administration whom Gerson wrote speeches for and still defends.

Gerson's continuing role and function at the Post is as it was when a speech writer - a propagandist for the conservative movement and the RNC.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 4, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"Greg, did you notice that the Repub who was endorsed in the KS GOP Senate primary by Jim DeMint won by 5 points over Palin's pick?"

Will this be trumpeted by the MSM ad nauseum like her "successful" endorsements were? I'm guessing not.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 4, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The is a good ad by the Angle campaign. I'm not sure how effective it will be in the end though...from everything I've read, everyone in NV already hates Harry Reid. The reason he's trending to a win isn't because people have warmed up to him, it's because he's done a fantastic job revealing how extreme Angle is. She's throwing mud at someone who's already covered in it. It doesn't address the reason she's shedding supporters like a broken dam.


"Fourteenth-er" doesn't work.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 4, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Anthony Wiener is running for future Mayor of NYC, and naturally doesn't want to take "sides" on the Cordoba House because it might cost him votes in that race. His rant was safer because aid for 9/11 workers would be much more popular in NYC, but it was mostly designed to get his name and face in the news again.

Posted by: msmollyg | August 4, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Out here the decision in the Prop 8 trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger will be handed down today and according to Marcy Wheeler, it appears the Prop 8 anti-marriage equality folks will lose this one. Last night they filed an appeal which seems to indicate they already know they lost. Of course, it's not the end but lays the groundwork for going all the way to the Supreme Court, which is pretty scary actually, all things considered. But we do have a very qualified and thorough judge laying that groundwork.

"The decision by Vaughn Walker to have a full fledged trial with a full evidentiary record was inspired and put the Perry case in a unique position compared to how such issues are usually handled on submitted pleadings and argument. this one had a real trial with a real record; that makes a ton of difference for the appeal.

Appellate courts cannot just substitute their views for that of the trial court when there is an evidentiary record, findings of fact and conclusions of law like this, where it is much easier to do so if it has been decided by preliminary injunctive relief, motions or on the pleadings. Walker can really put this in a unique posture with how he frames his findings of fact and conclusions of law; and I expect him to do just that. Walker is very detailed and very smart and crafty. He will lock in and protect his decision to every extent he can, and trust me Walker is very good at this. One of the best I have ever seen. Ted Olson, David Boies, Plaintiffs Perry et. al and fans of Constitutional equality everywhere could not ask for anything more.

So tomorrow looks to be not only a historic day, but a very good one for equality and civil rights under the Constitution. It is about time."

Posted by: lmsinca | August 4, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray joins the crowd looking for a review of the 14th amendment, taking refuge behind the argument that this is all about "people gaming the system."

Sorry, NO REFUGE. This crap needs to be called out clearly as an clear attempt at ETHNIC CLEANSING of a growing US Hispanic population.

Posted by: converse | August 4, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I have a really novel idea for those "Constitutional deniers", rather than have hearings on the Fourteenth, why don't we have meetings on comprehensive immigration reform and settle some of these issues once and for all. Perhaps that would be the most productive use of their time and energy.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 4, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@Greg - spotty posting for a bit yet...still lots to do. But thanks for the welcome.

@koolkat - "What a gutless, thin-skinned worm she [Palin] is."

Possibily apt descriptors for the lady but I think what we are seeing here is something considerably more pernicious. That is, the attempt to re-engineer the political and media universe using billions of corporate-interest dollars and sophisticated marketing techniques. Palin is not manipulating the Facebook procedures nor much of anything else. She is being very tightly controlled and manipulated by the marketers and strategists around her (a model which is now being applied with Angle, Paul and others). Each of them have clearly deduced that it is in their interests to succumb to this external control of their speech and their contacts with media and the electorate. I doubt that any of them understand to whom it is they sell their souls.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 4, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Someone purchase a mirror for this Tom Shales creep.. He is the last one that should be talking about how someone's hair looks.

Go to the link that Greg posted, and look at the picture of Mr. Shales.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 4, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Ims - was just going to post on the California verdict scheduled to be released today. Fingers crossed. Slowly, we move forward against the ugly bigotry.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 4, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are like the Irresponsible Boyfriend, who keeps wrecking his girl friend's car, and then keeps asking to borrow it again.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 4, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Good grief.

"Yesterday, after a mere 20 days of engagement, it emerged that Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin, daughter of the former vice-presidential candidate who invented the word "refudiate", had separated for the second time."

Posted by: bernielatham | August 4, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Say It Again, And Again; Mr. President.

"They have not come up with a single, solitary new idea to address the challenges of the American people. They don't have a single idea that's different from George Bush's ideas, not one. Instead, they're betting on amnesia."

President Obama,

Posted by: Liam-still | August 4, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Not Earth-shatteringly good news but:

* Private sector sees job gains in July *

Private sector employment rose slightly more than expected in July, easing some concerns about labor market weakness ahead of a key government jobs report later this week.

Private employers added 42,000 jobs in July, compared with a revised gain of 19,000 in June, the report by a payrolls processor ADP Employer Services showed on Wednesday.

The rise in hiring was slightly higher than an estimate from economists surveyed by Reuters for a gain of 40,000 private-sector jobs. The June ADP figure originally was reported as a gain of 13,000 jobs.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 4, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"* Demagogues and bigots, indeed: The Post editorial board comes out in favor of the center, ripping some opponents for "bigotry" and "demagoguery." Good."

Do they know that they have Tom Shales in their own house?

Posted by: Liam-still | August 4, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, on election day 2008 when I saw that prop 8 had won and felt that disappointment mixed with the jubilation over the Presidential election, I really thought marriage equality and gay rights was going to be the last frontier in civil rights. Little did I know that Republicans would attempt to take us backward in time and rehash the Constitution and it's amendments.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 4, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Also, I am absolutely THRILLED that Pete Hoekestra lost the MI Gov primary last night.

He is a total disaster.

Actually, the moderate won the GOP race over the establishment and Tea Party picks. Pretty awesome.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 4, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

All, Sharron Angle is now accusing Obama and Harry Reid of trying to turn government into a false "God":

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 4, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Here's a terrific piece cross posted at the Nation with all the reasons why Dems should embrace reform and the civil rights of immigrants. Well worth the read IMO.

"For decades, progressives and Democrats have searched in vain for a wedge issue to call their own, something that could match the success Republicans have had in using race, abortion and homosexuality to split the electorate. Yet unable even to leverage environmental catastrophe, drastic economic inequality and near global financial collapse to their advantage, Democrats have instead mastered trimming and triangulating, accepting much of the conservative agenda while promising to implement it more effectively. But if Democrats could overcome their shortsightedness and embrace immigrants' rights -- as passionately as Republicans mobilize around tax cuts, fetuses and war -- they may find the holy grail they've been looking for, one with the power to transform domestic and foreign policy."

Posted by: lmsinca | August 4, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

* BP: Static kill success ‘a significant milestone’ *

Ding dong, the witch is dead?

According to BP, the busted well in the Gulf of Mexico, which, after being on life support for days, is now at or near death.

The company says that the pressure in the well is now being controlled by the drilling mud after it was pumped into the well for eight hours late yesterday afternoon and last night. The well will be monitored and further drilling mud-pumping will be done if necessary.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 4, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Has Gov. Jan Brewer allocated sufficient funding, to establish concentration camps for rounded up ,undocumented embryos?

Does Gov. Jan Brewer know how much Granny Grizzly admires her large testicles?

Can Granny Grizzly be banned from Arizona for using the Spanish word for Testicles?

Posted by: Liam-still | August 4, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse


Well, it's good news that the commerical jobs growth continues, albiet slowly.

I'll bet you money that the topline number (-65k) will be the one reported...despite all the talk about "private jobs are what matters" when the Census numbers were boosting the topline.

Either way, -65k total, even with a positive 42k in the private sector...not nearly enough. While I'm dissapointed in the Dems for not going around the GOP obstruction, I still am more pissed at the GOP for purposely putting politics over getting the economy back on track.

It's craven, cynical, and just flat out hurts our country.

Hopefully the next Congress can do more to help the situation. The House should, if Dems still hold the majority, be a smaller and more progressive bunch - Blue Dogs are going to get creamed. And luckily, the Senate races have actually started trending a bit towards Dems lately.

The dream senario would be the Dems losing lots of Blue Dogs while holding the majority in the House, and the Senate races tilting "just right" to get to 60(+) Dems - currently a 10% chance at 538, which I believe will go up in the next forcast update (but still a long LONG shot).

Oh, how a guy can dream...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 4, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

* FOX host apologizes for Sherrod-Waters mixup *

FOX News host Greta Van Susteren is apologizing for "a doozy of a mistake" made on her show Monday when a picture of Shirley Sherrod was used to illustrate a segment on Rep. Maxine Waters, the Huffington Post reports.

Waters, a California Democrat, has been charged by the House with ethical violations, and Sherrod was fired from the USDA for incorrectly being cast as a racist. What the two visually have in common is that they're both black women.

Susteren took to her blog Monday to issue an extremely effusive apology, calling the incident on her "On the Record" program, "a very bad mistake and a painful one for which we are very apologetic."

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 4, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Yes BBQ, I feel that Obama's economic policies are working DESPITE the idiots in Congress sabotaging the way forward.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 4, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "She is being very tightly controlled and manipulated by the marketers and strategists around her (a model which is now being applied with Angle, Paul and others)"

You think Angle and Paul are tightly controlled? Um, have you been watching the stuff that, you know, actually comes out of their campaigns?

They aren't tightly controlled, they are out of control, and Angle is well on her way to torpedoing her own candidacy, and will almost certainly lose against Reid, who would have been vulnerable, and an excellent win for the Republicans, had the GOP primary not given us Queen Kookoo Bananas.

Rand uses his 2nd Amendment rights to regularly shoot himself in the foot. These are chaotic campaigns with completely unprepared candidates, not slick, conspiratorially-manipulated corporate products for mass consumption.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 4, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"What to watch today: The Senate's big vote today on billions in state aid to avert teacher layoffs all comes down to the question of what Susan Collins will do. It just never ends!"

Update: From NBC's Ken Strickland

"In votes earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid secured the 60 votes needed to advance a bill that would send $26 billion to states to help with Medicaid and education funding.

"Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe joined with all members of the Democratic caucus to push to vote total to 61."

Now go and change your armor.

Posted by: CalD | August 4, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Angel has a nice twist of facts. They are blaming the Democrats for the mess the Republican's made of the economy.

Fats is your house value was cut in half by 1/08 when Obama took over.

Your retirement was lost before 1/08 when Obama took over.

Both values have increased due to Reid's and Obama's economic policies and it was the Republican's policies that took them down.

Posted by: soapm | August 4, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Greg is always wrong about who reported stuff first. Laura Meyers reported on this ad yesterday.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | August 4, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

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