Here's a tough argument to make: "Amid mounting criticism, House Republicans said this week it is not hypocritical to vote against the stimulus and later seek money from it for their districts. After standing united in opposition to the president's economic stimulus bill a little more than a year ago, many Republicans have touted the benefits of that measure back in their districts, according to a comprehensive list compiled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)."
"Roughly one of four donations to House candidates so far this election cycle is coming from individual donors from outside states," CQ reports. The top three out-of-state recipients are Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) with 99.6% of his individual donations from outside his state; Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) with 93% and House candidate Linda Stender (D-NJ) with 92.8%.
ARIZONA: Sen. John McCain has a new Web ad linking statements by his Republican challenger, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, to those of "birthers" like Orly Taitz and Philip Berg, who doubt President Obama's citizenship.
COLORADO: The Hill: "Political observers say -- and supporters of [Sen. Michael] Bennet worry -- that [Democratic primary challenger Andrew] Romanoff will gather momentum with a strong showing at the caucuses next month and the state assembly in May, using it to create a real race before the Aug. 10 primary. Conversely, they say losing at the state assembly could represent the end of the road… When it comes to the state's primary process, the word "Byzantine" is often invoked. The March 16 precinct caucuses lead into county and district assemblies in April, which eventually lead to the state assembly on May 22. At the state assembly, candidates must get 30 percent of the vote to make the ballot, or get at least 10 percent and then petition onto the ballot. Alternatively, a candidate can skip the process and simply petition to get on the ballot. But whoever receives the most votes at the assembly gets the top of the ballot in the August primary."
FLORIDA: Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio is on the defensive today after the Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times report that he "charged grocery bills, repairs to the family minivan and purchases from a wine store less than a mile from his West Miami home to the Republican Party of Florida while he was speaker of the Florida House." Rubio said Wednesday that he paid for all personal expenses billed to an American Express card given to him by the party to use from 2005 to 2008, when he left public office. The rest of the charges, he said, were legitimate party expenses. Those expenses include a $1,000 charge at Braman Honda in Miami for repairs to the family car in January 2008. Rubio said the minivan was damaged by parking attendants at a political function and that the party agreed to cover half of his insurance deductible. The party also paid $2,976 for him to rent a car in Miami for five weeks, according to the records provided by a confidential source. Rubio said the party allowed him to put personal expenses on the card -- and the party reviewed his bill monthly."
Rubio's explanation: "I was as diligent as possible to ensure the party did not pay for items that were unrelated to party business. There was no formal process provided by the Party regarding personal charges.'' And the state party, not exactly backing him up: "Party spokeswoman Katie Gordon said the card was not supposed to be used for personal expenses. 'The RPOF American Express card is a corporate card and is meant to be used for business expenses.'"
NEW YORK: The hits (via the New York Times) keep coming for David Paterson. "Last fall, a woman went to court in the Bronx to testify that she had been violently assaulted by a top aide to Gov. David A. Paterson, and to seek a protective order against the man. In the ensuing months, she returned to court twice to press her case, complaining that the State Police had been harassing her to drop it. The State Police, which had no jurisdiction in the matter, confirmed that the woman was visited by a member of the governor's personal security detail. Then, just before she was due to return to court to seek a final protective order, the woman got a phone call from the governor, according to her lawyer. She failed to appear for her next hearing on Feb. 8, and as a result her case was dismissed."
"On Wednesday night, in response to inquiries from The New York Times, Mr. Paterson said in a statement that he would request that Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo investigate his administration's handling of the matter. The governor also said he would suspend Mr. Johnson without pay. Through a spokesman, Mr. Paterson said the call actually took place the day before the scheduled court hearing and maintained that the woman had initiated it. He declined to answer further questions about his role in the matter."
Hey, Harold Ford, welcome to New York, Part 987: "Harold Ford Jr. was blasted last night at the Stonewall Democratic Club, where gay activists shouted him down and questioned his new stand in favor of same-sex marriage. For 30 minutes, Ford, who is weighing a New York Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, was hammered for his two House votes in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have constitutionally banned gay marriage. Ford was repeatedly interrupted by many of the 250 people who packed the room, insisting he had come to understand that civil unions were not equal to marriage."
The New York Daily News adds, "Ford tried to explain how he went from voting to ban gay marriage with a constitutional amendment in 2006 as a Tennessee congressman to now supporting it as he mulls a primary bid against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. It wasn't an easy message to get out in a raucous 30 minutes at the W. 13th St. club. Ford was interrupted repeatedly by chants of 'No more lies, no more lies' and 'Snake-oil Harry, go away.' At one point, several audience members raised signs with slogans like, 'It's the lies, stupid!' At the end of the session, someone even ignited a loud but harmless confetti bomb -- sending a noticeable jolt through Ford and others.
TEXAS: "Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist on Wednesday endorsed Rick Perry for re-election as governor," the Dallas Morning News reports. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's camp responded to the endorsement: "When it comes to border security, Rick Perry's a Minuteman in the campaign but then takes a minute to forget what he said when the election is over."