9:40 Vote tally in Wisconsin here, as Mayor Barrett, indeed, gets Democrats' nod to run against Gov. Walker....Also as expected, North Carolina voters do pass ban on gay marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships and, you get the idea.
Shot with his own gun: NBC projects that Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar has lost to a Tea Party candidate, Richard Mourdock, in the Indiana primary. Markos Moulitsas has already thanked the Tea Party "for expanding the Senate playing field for us. Just like in 2010.#RememberO'Donnell." The Democratic candidate is Rep. Joe Donnelly. The state party released statement: “Richard Mourdock is a right wing Tea Party ideologue who questioned the constitutionality of Medicare and Social Security, says there should be more partisanship and less compromise in Washington, and actually compared himself to Rosa Parks.”
1:55 Much media coverage today on President Obama’s painfully slow-to-evolve position on gay marriage, on how Vice President Biden’s statement has him (and Biden) on the spot, and what’s ahead. Frank Bruni's column in NYT hits him for delay but also finds it an acceptable political move, for now. “Right now, Obama could stir up a lot of counterproductive noise and passion with an emphatic position in favor of marriage equality. And while it’s the job of advocates to focus on one issue and amass their armies on a single front, it’s the job of those who govern to promote an array of concerns and serve multiple constituencies. To do any good in office, you have to be in office.”
More pressure on Obama now as Democratic activist and icon Caroline Kennedy backs a marriage equality plank in the party platform, and others have joined the call.
And Think Progress helpfully provides media analysis of cable news coverage of the Biden episode, finding that it was broadbased and even Fox refrained from the kind of harsh language we’ve seen at such moments. “The tenor of the conversation is in sharp contrast to the hysterical and often times offensive remarks made about gay people during the 2004 election—when the Bush campaign sought to employ marriage as a way to rally its conservative electoral base—and may reflect the popular shift towards equality.”
1:20 The strange saga of Elizabeth Warren’s “Native American” roots continues to draw major media play in the Massachusetts Senate race. The Boston Herald has dubbed her “Fauxcahontas” who holds “pow wows” with backers. Here’s a more sober example, in today’s Boston Globe—and now Politico has joined in.
Here’s opponent Scott Brown’s latest broadside today, if you can believe it: “Serious questions have been raised about the legitimacy of Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native American ancestry and whether it was appropriate for her to assume minority status as a college professor. Her changing stories, contradictions and refusal to answer legitimate questions have cast doubt on her credibility and called into question the diversity practices at Harvard. The best way to satisfy these questions is for Elizabeth Warren to authorize the release of her law school applications and all personnel files from the various universities where she has taught.… As candidates for high public office, we have a duty to be transparent and open and not hide behind a wall of silence in the midst of public controversy.”
A poll for usually right-leaning Rasmussen today finds the contest basically dead even.
11:45 Meanwhile, further South, former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine may not be our kind of progressive but he is the only Democratic hope to retain Jim Webb’s Senate seat vs. the “Macaca Man,” George Allen. A new poll finds them virtually deadlocked.
Also in Virginia: Blue America today endorsed what it calls a true "progressive," Wayne Powell, in serious bid to unseat Rep. Eric Cantor. Perhaps in Cantor's case Virginia will be for losers not lovers.
11:00 Alternet report, picked up from Huff Post, challenges media assertions that black and Hispanic voter registration is off this year and this may cost Obama the election. The Wash Post comes in for particular criticism for allegedly using faulty data.
10:55 Getting front-page play in today’s NYT is this story headlined “Liberals Focusing Outside Money on Grassroots Organizing.” Naturally, George Soros gets a starring role, but “instead of going head to head with the conservative ‘super PACs’ and outside groups that have flooded the presidential and Congressional campaigns with negative advertising, the donors are focusing on grass-roots organizing, voter registration and Democratic turnout. The departure from the conservatives’ approach, which helped Republicans wrest control of the House in 2010, partly reflects liberal donors’ objections to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which paved the way for super PACs and unbridled campaign spending.”
The fine print: “Organizations likely to be a part of the effort include Catalist, which creates voter lists for allied liberal groups; ProgressNow, a network of state-based Web sites for liberal opinion and activism; and the Latino Engagement Fund, a new group that works to register and turn out Latino voters for Democrats. Conservative independent groups are financing similar outreach to Latino voters: the American Action Network, which spent $26 million against Democratic candidates in 2010, last year unveiled the Hispanic Leadership Network, which will seek to mobilize center-right Latino voters.”
Chris Cillizza of the Wash Post analyzes the Soros donations here.
10:00 Texas Weekly has a new complete list of “competitive” races in the state, both for Congress and state office, color-coded by degree.
But more significant: a report that the state’s controversial “Voter ID Law” may not “see the light of day this year.” A federal district court said Monday that the law will probably not be in place by the November elections unless the state turns over certain documents by Wednesday.
9:55 Today's comedy relief: Romney actually claiming credit for the auto bailout. It's so wacky that even his follow GOPers are scratching their heads as they try to distance themselves from the absurdity. That dog may ride on the roof but it will not hunt.
In case you think President Obama is riding high (with the GOP stooping so low), consider that the latest Gallup tracking poll has him trailing likely opponent Mitt Romney by 47 percent to 46 percent. Other polls find battleground states even and Romney taking independents by about 7 percent. But TPM's latest poll tracking today, weighing several polls, has Obama up by a point and a half. And if you missed it: the Teamsters union (1.4 million strong) endorsed Obama yesterday and promised to put boots on the ground to aid him.
9:50 pm Our own John Nichols, of course, is the man to follow for what to watch in today’s Wisconsin recall primaries. One good thing: sunny day. But will the turnout actually be high—as a measure of “intensity”? What about Republican, and Democratic, “crossovers”? How quickly will the June 5 election campaign start? “It’s already begun.” Governor Walker has already spent a load. “Now, the opposition to Walker will begin to be heard. The first ads raising concerns about his jobs record went up a few days ago, and now come the first ads raising concerns about the ‘John Doe’ probe into corruption in his office and his 2010 campaign.”
The Washington Post today says Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is “headed for victory” in the primary and will take on Walker.
Other primaries today in North Carolina and Indiana, where longtime semi-moderate Sen. Dick Lugar is facing a Tea Party challanger who might actually beat him (see Ari Berman's current report here at The Nation). Daily Kos reports that North Carolina votes today "to decide whether to ban equality in their state constitution. Same sex marriage is already banned in North Carolina; this amendment would be the cherry on top of discrimination and threaten all domestic partnerships. There would be no more legal unions between unmarried people, gay or straight. It could take health care benefits away from families, it could take away domestic violence protections, hospital visitation rights, and all the very basic protections of civil unions. Unfortunately, polling suggests that the amendment is likely to pass."
9:45 It’s official: Twitter will play “outsized role” in 2012 campaign. So says the AP in story today. “While relatively few voters are on Twitter—a study by the Pew Research Center found that about 13 percent of American adults have joined the site—it’s become an essential tool for campaigns to test-drive themes and make news with a group of politically wired 'influencers' who process and share those messages with the broader world. Put simply: When a voter is exposed to any information related to the presidential contest, chances are it’s been through the Twitter filter first.”
And here’s a report on how Obama’s “Life of Julia” slideshow keeps him out in front on use of social media.