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Right Now: April 25, 2010 - May 1, 2010

Last call

Last call

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 8:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Last call  
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Palin on oil spill: 'No human endeavor is ever without risk'

Sarah Palin, who grabbed Michael Steele's "drill, baby, drill" slogan with both hands in 2008, issues a statement (on Facebook, of course) about the disaster on the Gulf Coast. Parts of it will be familiar to readers of "Going Rogue," who remember the dramatic account of what happened to Todd Palin's work when the Exxon Valdez spilled.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Sarah Palin  
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CrashtheTeaParty founder Jason Levin gets his job back

For a while, the only impact of CrashtheTeaParty.org looked to be the effect it had on Beaverton, Ore. teacher Jason Levin's career. After doing interviews to promote his ill-advised project -- getting liberal plants to out-crazy tea party activists at their own events -- he was suspended. But he's back on the job.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 5:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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'I'm not a true Republican because I don't go on Fox and CNN and scream'

The problem, of course, is that Bennett backed TARP and a compromise health care bill -- and he tentatively supported immigration reform. He can quote the Constitution all he likes. It won't convince these activists.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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'Planned Parenthood's negro project is succeeding'

If you've ever seen those inner-city billboards warning of a mysterious "black genocide," you should check out Kathryn Royce's briefing on the fairly recent comeback of a race-based anti-abortion argument.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 3:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Race  
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Annals of unintentionally hilarious expert quotes

Our future, if it is going to be successful, may lie in the FDR pattern of engaging them openly in heated political warfare, of not cooling off our supporters but of stirring the fires and passions often. It seems to me here that we are in a contest over the soul of the country now and the decision will not be some middle compromise—it will be their kind of society or ours; we will prevail or they shall prevail.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Ginny Brown-Waite retires, but her Florida seat looks out of reach for Democrats

"It's unwinnable at this point," said the Cook Political Report's David Wasserman. "I think it's the second-most senior heavy district behind Rep. Vern Buchanan's (R-Fla.) -- it's the Villages, it's where Glenn Beck goes to do his rallies."

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Jeff Greene's campaign explains his Republican past

"He's a Democrat with Democratic values," said Blank, who is handling press questions as the campaign launches. "After Harvard Business School, he did run for Congress in California as a Republican -- but obviously, since then he has been a Democrat, a supporter of the Florida Democratic Party, a supporter of Barack Obama."

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Rick Perry has 'concerns' about Arizona's immigration law

"Some aspects of the law turn law enforcement officers into immigration officials by requiring them to determine immigration status during any lawful contact with a suspected alien."

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  2010 Election , Immigration  
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The myth of the anti-tea party SWAT team

You'll see these photos again, with or without the story of "SWAT teams" battling back average Americans. (It's very important, for some reason, that Hoft point out that most of the protesters were elderly white women.)

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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Why Republicans aren't signing the Contract From America

Stephanie Mencimer reports on the Tea Party-written, 10-principle pledge that was developed over four months (I was at an early planning meeting) but has met resistance from elected Republicans who want to draft their own sequel to the "Contract with America," the yet-unwritten Commitment to America.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 8:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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Last call

Reihan Salam says good riddance. Rush Limbaugh tells Republicans to stand fast on Arizona. Gary Bauer gets into the Israel scaremongering business. The New York Times ponders Julian Sanchez. The Economist endorses the Tories. Conor Friedersdorf goes back to the...

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Last call  
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Crist jumps; Senate Republicans condemn him

"More than a year ago," say the GOP leaders, "Governor Crist asked for our endorsement with a commitment that he would proudly represent Floridians and our party with principled conservative leadership. Quite simply, he did not keep his word."

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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'Judges trading children for a couple dollar bills'

That rarest of multimedia creations -- a listenable (catchy, even) song written and sung by a political candidate.

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Arizona bill inspires copycats in Texas, Georgia, Colorado

Here is your latest example -- if one was needed -- of state activists leading the national Republican Party. In our diavlog yesterday, Politico's Ben Smith compared this to the "laboratory of democracy" that Eliot Spitzer ran in New York as he sued Wall Street firms. I think it's comparable, but much more intense.

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 5:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Immigration  
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Murkowski challenger hints at Palin endorsement

Fairbanks, Alaska, lawyer Joe Miller is in Washington this week for meetings with conservatives, trying to drum up support for his extremely under-the-radar challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). He's got a great hook: On Monday, he says, he'll have news about Sarah Palin's choice in the race.

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2010 Election , Sarah Palin  
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Watch the bouncing endorsements on Charlie Crist's campaign site

"I am a Republican. Former Committeewoman from Orange County, former staffer for US Senator Paula Hawkins and former Department of Treasury Senior Analyst. I am now a resident of Alachua County. I have grown more and more upset with my party over the past few months. The Republican Party is being hijacked by ultra conservatives that have let compassion and logic fly out the window."

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Rep. Mack: Ariz. immigration law has echoes of Gestapo

"This law of 'frontier justice' – where law enforcement officials are required to stop anyone based on “reasonable suspicion” that they may be in the country illegally – is reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause," said Rep. Connie Mack in a statement. "It shouldn’t be against the law to not have proof of citizenship on you."

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Congress , Immigration  
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The Palin press shield is cracking

Most Americans dislike her and think she's unqualified for the White House. And most Republicans -- even those who like her -- think she has more to do to become electable and ready to govern. But if she runs, she's not going to suddenly get flummoxed by the media.

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  2012 Election , Sarah Palin  
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The Obama Disaster Kit

The offer: stock in a gold mining operation, Constitution Mining. The essential background reading is here, from Ken Vogel.

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Fringe  
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So how doomed is Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah?

"It's a very volatile situation," Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) told me yesterday. "The first time I ran I got around 60 percent at the convention and I was sure, the night before, that I wouldn't get that." (In Utah's system, a candidate who wins 60 percent support at the convention automatically becomes the party's nominee.)

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 10:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Election , Tea Party  
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Finally, a Ted Nugent essay on Sarah Palin's work ethic

The tsunami of support proves that Sarah, 46, represents what many Americans know to be common and sensible.

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
Categories:  Sarah Palin  
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McDonnell: Elements of Ariz. immigration law not 'necessarily helpful to democracy'

In a Tuesday appearance on WTOP, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) engaged in some off-message musing on Arizona's immigration law. After some prodding from a caller and his interviewer, McDonnell admitted that parts of the bill were worrying to him.

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 8:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Immigration  
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BloggingHeads with Ben Smith

Politico's senior reporter sat down with me -- in a manner of speaking -- for a 40-minute chat about immigration, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), and how the media covers the tea parties.

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 8:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Immigration  
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Last call

John Judis diagnoses Arizona's "hysteria." Ken Vogel meets Mike Huckabee's Israel Whisperer. Michele Bachmann speaks too soon. Julian Sanchez is disappointed in George Will. Ralph Z. Hallow strikes again. Robin Hanson tolerates. Elizabeth Scalia is the latest conservative to see...

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 6:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Last call  
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Club for Growth: 'This is the high-water mark of the Crist campaign.'

Mike Connolly, spokesman for the Club for Growth, said, "I wouldn't say that anybody's winning today," said Connolly. "Nobody's gloating. But whatever the polls are today, that's as high as Charlie Crist will go."

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 4:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Ariz. immigration bill author hints that Obama's opposition is race-based

Kris Kobach, a former Homeland Security lawyer for the Bush administration who helped draft Arizona's immigration bill while running for Kansas secretary of state, goes there in a Washington Times op-ed. Mr. Obama's reaction was true to form. Just as...

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Immigration  
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Talking birtherism on 'Hardball'

I also recorded an episode of BloggingHeads with Politico's Ben Smith.

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Fringe  
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Your Rick Perry fact of the day

It's the kind of stuff -- so much less important than his state sovereignty record, but important in building his image -- that has grassroots conservatives daydreaming about a Perry run for president in 2012, despite his many statements to the contrary.

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 2:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2012 Election  
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Bills to repeal health-care reform are failing to gain GOP traction

"What I run into," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told me recently, "is that you ask Republicans to support 100 percent full repeal, but there are a number of them that aren't committed to full repeal."

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  2010 Election , Congress , Health Care  
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What happens when pro-immigration marchers talk like tea partyers?

"We will not stop! We will take up our shovels and our pickaxes, and we break the land, and make your landscaping, and clean your toilets, and our plungers. We will use them against you! Believe that!"

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Immigration  
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Read the GOP's counter-proposal on financial reform

Annie Lowrey has a superlative rundown on the GOP's proposed substitute to the Democrats' financial reform bill.

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Financial reform  
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Crunch time for the Arizona birther bill

In a good Republican year, Burges might get more Republican colleagues in the legislature ready to back her up. But 2011 will be a year of jockeying for the GOP primary, and the state's senior senator may still be Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has made no secret of how much he loathes it when his party engages on this issue.

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 10:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Fringe  
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Arlen Specter: 'I might have helped the country more if I'd stayed a Republican'

The Democratic senator from Pennsylvania speaks like a man who isn't worried about beating Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) in his new-ish party's primary.

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 9:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Tim James, superstar

It's a pattern I've gotten very, very used to. A conservative Republican issues a new ad, or some clip from the campaign trail goes viral. Democrats and liberals make fun of it. Meanwhile, the video becomes incredibly popular and the candidate laughs all the way to the polls. Today's winner of the game is Tim James, a Republican candidate for governor of Georgia who's been mocked for a week for this campaign ad -- which has more than 150,000 views now.

By David Weigel  |  April 28, 2010; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  2010 Election , Immigration  
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Last call

Get ready for "Tea are the World." The race for governor of Georgia gets a third-party conservative spoiler. Ted Nugent loves Arizona. David Iglesias returns! Real talk from Spencer Ackerman on tea parties. Jeff Sessions girds for battle. Robert Reich...

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Poll: Both Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch in serious danger

A much-discussed Salt Lake Tribune poll confirms what I reported last week -- Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) is on track to lose the GOP nomination at next weekend's party convention.

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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HHS: Reports about health care cost study 'completely inaccurate'

For nearly two full days, an anonymously sourced story in the American Spectator -- alleging that the Department of Health and Human Services buried an actuarial report on the costs of health care reform -- has burned up conservative blogs. But HHS tells me that the story isn't true.

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Health Care  
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'Why can’t I micro-chip an illegal?'

An Iowa Republican candidate for the U.S. House suggested in a candidate forum that he should be able to "micro-chip an illegal."

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2010 Election , Immigration  
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Rep. Darrell Issa introduces legislation to fix ban on phony 'census' mailings

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has introduced legislation to tighten the restrictions on political mail made to look like Census forms -- an issue that flared up again yesterday and today after the Republican National Committee, which has been whacked for...

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  RNC  
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Birthers prepare to march on Washington

The long-rumored "birth certificate march on Washington" -- a project of the original birther attorney, Phil Berg -- will happen on Saturday, May 29, at President's Park, right across from the White House.

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Fringe  
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Jeb Bush to call for immigration reform -- this Congress, this year

Jeb Bush is lending his name to an under-the-radar conservative campaign for federal immigration reform this year.

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Immigration  
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I, Sarah Palin defender

Last night I appeared on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann to talk about a story that had been driven into the mainstream by the blog PalinGates. The story: Palin made three statements that PalinGates believed may have been false, and...

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 1:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (143)
Categories:  Sarah Palin  
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Democrats pounce on report of Wall Street money swinging to GOP

Within five minutes of each other, both White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee circulated this story. Why? Read on. A Wall Street Journal analysis of 12 large financial services companies, including J.P. Morgan Chase...

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  Financial reform  
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The Republican Governors Association goes after a tea party independent

Two weeks after independent Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill attended the big tea party on Boston Common, he's getting hit with a seven-figure attack ad from the Republican Governors Association. The RGA's strategy, as the Boston Globe points out, is...

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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'Obama disses white guys'

The Washington Examiner brings us a headline for the ages, in this photo snapped by Twitter user Maimonides. The headline leads to this story by Julie Mason, which captures the narrative I spotlighted yesterday -- conservative shock and horror at...

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 9:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Race  
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The difficulty of covering the GOP's stance on financial reform

Over the past week, several Republicans have called me out for what they considered a flippant tone in coverage of their messaging on financial reform. It's an interesting criticism and a frustrating problem. I don't know how to cover some...

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 8:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Financial reform  
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Last call

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) keeps up the "we're filibustering-but-we're-ready-to-deal" two-step. Palin haters want to believe she perjured herself in the hacked e-mail trial. (My reporting confirms that the questioning was narrowly focused and she didn't.) Andrew Breitbart promises another round...

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 6:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Racism (n): Acknowledging that there are different races

The idea that President Obama is making a special exclusion of nonminority, nonyoung voters is too cute by half.

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 6:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Election , Race  
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FreedomWorks entering Utah Senate Race with direct mail, phone banks, rallies

Conservative group FreedomWorks is about to enter Utah's volatile Republican Senate primary race with direct mail and phone calls.

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Most confusing ad of the day

After watching an ad, you like to be able to say something like, "Ah, I get it." I couldn't do that with this one.

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Election , Financial reform  
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Poll: 35 percent of Republicans back 'bailout fund'

I've gotten a look at the internals of this morning's poll on financial reform, and the party breakdowns confirm that the package being debated in Congress simply hasn't generated much ire among members of the GOP base. With one exception,...

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Financial reform  
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Internal poll has Allen West well-liked, essentially tied with Klein

The campaign of Col. Allen West (ret.), probably the 2010 congressional candidate with the biggest Republican fan base, releases an internal survey that has him leading by 2 points, 44 to 42 percent, over Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.). West ran...

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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The 'bailout fund' is no 'death panel'

There's a lot to chew on in the Washington Post/ABC News poll on financial reform. On the issue as a whole, Obama has a 17-point lead over Republicans. The narrowest support for a Democratic initiative, 43 to 41 percent, comes...

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Financial reform  
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How to read New York magazine's big Palin story

Gabriel Sherman's sprawling New York magazine cover story on "Palin, Inc." is actually a fast and breezy read. It being an article about Sarah Palin, there's no policy to slow it down. We get a brief explanation of how bitter...

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Media , Sarah Palin  
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J.D. Hayworth doubles down on the 'birther bill'

The former congressman, who's still running a strong primary race against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), explains his position on local legislation to require proof of citizenship from presidential candidates. We now require voters to offer proof that voters are who...

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
Categories:  2010 Election , Fringe  
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George W. Bush, now in convenient book form

Crown Publishers revealed the cover of former President George W. Bush's semi-memoir, "Decision Points," on Sunday evening. And here it is: Alan Cooperman blogged some early thoughts about the book when we first learned something about its contents. "Decision Points"...

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 7:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  George W. Bush  
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