Mark Kelly says he’s still the astronaut, Thad McCotter is in, Bobby Scott is still thinking and the Huntsman campaign isn’t pulling any punches.

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* Space shuttle commander Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), said today that he has no current plans to run for office. "She's the politician in the family, I'm the space guy, and I see no reason to change that now," Kelly said at a National Press Club luncheon. Kelly retired from NASA last month, raising speculation that he might run for either his wife’s House seat or the Senate. He said today that he’s focused on helping his wife recover and spending time with his kids.

* Democrats are going after former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for appearing to backtrack on one of his major attack lines. Romney has repeatedly said that President Obama made the economy “worse.” Yesterday, in Allentown, Pa. Romney claimed that he “didn’t say that things were worse” — an apparent change of heart that undercuts his argument against Obama. 

* Jon Huntsman’s campaign went hard after Meg Whitman today, after the Romney-friendly Republican described the former China ambassador a career politician. “Meg Whitman's comments are puzzling considering, as CEO, she shipped over a 1,000 Ebay jobs from California to Governor Huntsman in Utah, which was the fastest growing state under his pro-business policies,'” Huntsman spokesman Matt David said. “If I were advising Meg Whitman, I would recommend she not brag about losing elections.” David was previously a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

* Another candidate in the presidential race! Rep. Thad McCotter (R-Mich.) announced his long-shot bid today, but he will formally launch tomorrow at a “Freedom Fest” event hosted by Michigan talk radio station WAAM. McCotter, who is one-fifth of the bipartisan rock band “Second Amendments,” is known in Congress mostly for his quirky sense of humor.


* East Moline Alderman Cheri Bustos (D) is running for Congress Illinois’ 17th district, she said yesterday. Bustos is planning a formal announcement for July 13. Meanwhile, local activist Porter McNeil (D) decided not to go after the seat. Democrats are hoping to take down Rep. Bobby Schilling (R), who was elected to the Democratic-leaning seat in last fall’s wave.

* A date has been set for the special election to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) — Sept. 13. There will be no primaries; candidates will be chosen by political parties. Democrats who have been mentioned include New York City Councilman Mark Weprin, his brother, Assemblyman David Weprin, Forest Hills Councilwoman Melinda Katz, state Assemblyman Rory Lancman and former New York City Councilman Eric Gioia. On the GOP side, possible candidates include City Councilman Eric Ulrich and Bob Turner. But it doesn’t matter much, because this seat will likely disappear in redistricting.

* Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) is still thinking about challenging former governor Tim Kaine in the Democratic primary for Senate. “Earlier this year, I set July 1 as the day I would announce whether or not I would seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012’’ he said in a statement. “Today I am delaying that decision.” Scott, the only black member of the Virginia congressional delegation, said that he wanted to give his attention to legislation.

* A judge has denied Wisconsin Republican state Rep. John Nygren’s appeal to get on the ballot in the recall election against Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen, meaning there will be no primary. Nygren was the establishment pick to take on Hansen, but earlier this week the Government Accountability Board ruled that not enough of his nomination signatures were valid. (He collected 424 when 400 were needed, and 26 were thrown out.) The general election will take place on July 19th; Hansen will face David VanderLeest, who Nygren is considering supporting.


James Brown + ramen = gold.

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake