First Read Flash: Tea Party Virginia?

Updated
File Photo: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks at a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney...
File Photo: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks at a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney...
Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File

Tea Party Virginia? Republicans maneuvered to hold a convention in this year’s statewide elections to ensure Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli would win the nod for governor, but the unintended effect was a chase for the No. 2 job, with a wild convention Saturday leaving African-American minister E.W. Jackson as the party’s upset choice for lieutenant governor. Jackson gave a rousing speech that helped him pull the upset over businessman Pete Snyder on the fourth ballot of the day. The problem for the GOP ticket now – do they defend Jackson amid a barrage of controversial past statements? A sampling in Politico: Jackson  “once compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and bemoaned black voters’ ‘slavish devotion’ to the Democratic Party.”

White House on defense. The Obama administration made the rounds on the Sunday shows, defending a difficult week amid growing controversy on its handling of the IRS scandals, AP phone records and its handling of the Benghazi attacks. On NBC’s Meet the Press, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer pushed back, saying Republicans were “trying to make political hay” of the IRS targeting of conservative groups. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn’t point to specific evidence that the White House knew of the IRS actions before last week, though he insisted it was part of a “culture of intimidation” from the administration. However, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) admitted they lacked evidence that IRS targeting directives came from the White House.  “We don’t have anything to say that the president knew about this,” said Camp.

Moving on up? Despite a difficult week for the president, Obama’s approval is actually up two points from last month in a CNN poll, now at 53%, though that’s within the poll’s margin of error.

First Read Flash: Tea Party Virginia?

Updated