Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a senior reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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AUDIO: Elizabeth Warren Clarifies Her Occupy Wall Street Comments

| Tue Oct. 25, 2011 10:03 PM EDT
Elizabeth Warren (right) is the front-runner to take on Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in 2012.

Elizabeth Warren isn't backing down from her support for the Occupy Wall Street movement, even as conservatives look to turn the nationwide protests movement into an electoral wedge issue. Speaking to reporters after an event in Framingham, Massachusetts on Tuesday, the Senate candidate downplayed her comments to the Daily Beast, suggesting that she had created the movement—but pointedly embraced their anti-Wall Street message and cast them as kindred spirits against a "rigged" economic system.

The controversy began when the Daily Beast's Samuel Jacobs published a profile of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau architect, in which  Warren was quoted saying of Occupy Wall Street: "I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do." Conservatives pounced—the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a statement noting that "the Boston Police Department was recently forced to arrest at least 141 of her Occupy acolytes in Boston the other day after they threatened to tie up traffic downtown and refused to abide by their protest permit limits." The Boston Globe moved Warren's comments closer to Al Gore-and-the-Internet territory, headlining its piece, "Warren claims credit for Occupy Wall St. protests."

So after an event in Framingham on Tuesday, Warren tried to clear things up a bit. She stood by her suggestion that her anti-Wall Street work had influenced the movement, while emphasizing that she believed Occupy Wall Street was a separate grassroots movement. Here's what she said when informed by a local reporter that her comments had not gone over well at Occupy Boston:

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Rick Santorum Still Thinks Sodomy Should Be a Crime in Texas

| Tue Oct. 25, 2011 12:00 PM EDT
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.)

Just in case you thought he'd had a change of heart, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum went on Minnesota rap-core evangelist Bradlee Dean's radio show on Saturday to double down on his belief that states should be able to make anal and oral sex illegal: 

Santorum pointed to the landmark case, Lawrence v. Texas, where the U.S. Supreme Court overturned sodomy laws that were used to imprison gays and lesbians.

"And I stood up from the very beginning back in 2003 when the Supreme Court was going create a constitutional right to sodomy and said this is wrong we can’t do this," Santorum said. "And so I stood up when no one else did and got hammered for it. I stood up and I continue to stand up."

You know the rest. Asked to defend his comments back in 2003, Santorum went a step further, arguing that allowing two men to have sex would be akin to "man on dog." In response, sex columnist Dan Savage held a contest to come up with an alternative definition for Santorum, and redefined it as—NSFW!—"the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex." As MoJo's Stephanie Mencimer has chronicled, the alternative definition has became a serious problem for the candidate because it's the first thing that comes up when you Google his name. (The second result is a Wikipedia entry about Savage's "Santorum" campaign.)

But what's really interesting here is the venue: When last we heard from Dean, he was suing Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, and the American Independent News Network for $50 million for quoting him, with some caveats, suggesting that the execution of gays was "moral." (Dean has explicitly condemned the execution of gays, but has, like Santorum, called for sodomy to be outlawed and gays to be banned from public office.) The crux of the lawsuit was that Dean believed liberal media outlets were using him as a proxy to assassinate Rep. Michele Bachmann's character, because Bachmann has raised money for Dean and praised (and prayed for) his ministry. He also was upset that Maddow made fun of his name. So has Dean given up on Bachmann? If the polls are any indication, he wouldn't be the only one.

Behind Herman Cain's Smokin' Ad: His Big Tobacco Days

| Tue Oct. 25, 2011 6:00 AM EDT
Herman Cain's campaign manager, Mark Block, stars in the 2011 art house flick, "Now is the time for action!"

This Herman Cain campaign ad, which was released last night, has gotten a lot of people wondering what Cain's been smoking. The Daily Beast's Michelle Goldberg calls Cain's smile at the end "the creepiest fucking thing I've ever seen." MoJo alum Suzy Khimm says Cain must be "clearly a devotee of Ryan Gosling in Drive, with that slooow smile at the end." Long-shot presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, who like the rest of the field is probably wondering why he is is trailing in the polls to Herman Cain, immediately contemplated filming a spoof.*

Herman Cain's Wild West Campaign Spot

| Tue Oct. 25, 2011 12:51 AM EDT

Everyone's talking about Herman Cain's bizarre ad, in which his campaign manager lights a cigarette and Cain flashes a moderately evil grin at the very end. Yes, it's weird. But by any objective metric, this Cain online ad from August, when he was polling at at 5 percent, is actually much, much weirder:

For that matter, this spot, in which Cain announced his candidacy by wandering around someone else's farm, looking lost, is also kind of weird: 

 

Tennessee Hotel "Now Under Shariah Law," Anti-Shariah Activist Says

| Mon Oct. 24, 2011 5:26 PM EDT

If you didn't buy your plane tickets yet to November's Preserving America Conference in Nashville, you might want to wait a little while. The Veterans Day conference is dedicated to combatting the very, very stealth threat posed by Islamic Shariah law in the United States. But on Thursday, the hotel that was scheduled to host the shindig announced that it was cancelling the contract and asking organizers to find a new location. That's too bad, because Central Tennessee—where local activists (with some help from GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain) have been pushing to halt the construction of a mosque they believe is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood—seemed like a natural place for the conference. Per the Tennessean:

Steve Eckley, senior vice president of hotels for Amerimar Enterprises, said he wasn't fully aware of the topic or the people involved when he booked the event in Nashville, and now he fears that resulting protests could turn violent. As well, the hotel's other clients that day expressed concerns.

William Murray, chairman of the Preserving Freedom conference, responded: "The Hutton Hotel is now under Sharia law."

Devastating. Given that these kinds of events go off without incident all the time in the United States, it's hard to see why the hotel was so concerned about violent protests. As the Murray's reaction suggests, the only real consequence of the cancellation will be to further the organizers' perception that their views under siege, and the Caliphate is one step closer to being realized. Anyway, according to the conference's website, the event will be headlined by Center for Security Policy's Frank Gaffney (who believes Grover Norquist's American Conservative Union has been infilitrated by the Muslim Brotherhood), blogger Pamela Geller, former congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik, and—not making this up—"Gopher" from Love Boat:

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