In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is now running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Roland Burris in the 2010 election, is now pouncing on GOP Congressman Mark Kirk -- who has been mulling whether to run for Senate himself -- for having openly told the Chinese government not to trust America's budget numbers.

Giannoulias released this statement:

"In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Mark Kirk is essentially telling China, which holds more U.S. debt than any nation on earth, not to trust the American government, and by extension, the American people. This puts the full faith and credit of the United States at risk and threatens to permanently wreak havoc on the credit markets that are essential to our recovery and our economic future.

"Congressman Kirk's reckless actions demonstrate a terrible lapse in judgment and should be immediately retracted," said Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

Kirk is not an official candidate at this time, and Giannoulias has yet to actually nail down his own nomination. But a Dem is clearly taking an early opportunity to keep this story alive and attack a potential rival.

With the Democratic primary for Governor of Virginia over and done with, the state now proceeds to the general election and a question that will be heavily examined by national media: Is this one-time Republican stronghold now going to continue being a state that is up for grabs or perhaps even leaning to the Democrats -- or could it snap back to the GOP?

Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine is unable to run for re-election (this is the only state left where governors are limited to a single term at a time) and the nominees now are Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds and Republican former Attorney General Bob McDonnell. This is in fact a rematch from 2005, when McDonnell defeated Deeds for Attorney General by 323 votes out of about 1.9 million. (McDonnell resigned as Attorney General this year to become a full-time candidate for governor.)

For now at least, immediately post-primary, the new Rasmussen poll gives Deeds a lead over McDonnell of 47%-41% -- a number that seems broadly in line with the trend of high-profile contests in Virginia since mid-decade.

The state has become much friendlier to Democrats since 2005, giving them three additional House seats, both Senate seats, and of course delivering their 13 electoral votes to Barack Obama after continuously voting Republican since 1968. Democrats will be trying to consolidate those gains and nail down this state as blue territory. Republicans will be trying to win the crowd back and rebuild their party at both the state level, and as a sign of a national comeback. In the background, the race is likely to be seen as proxy for President Obama's continued popularity or lack thereof, almost a year into his presidency.

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In a new Rasmussen poll of this year's Virginia gubernatorial race, the first survey since Tuesday's Democratic primary, Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds leads Republican former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell by a margin of 47%-41%, with a ±4.5% margin of error.

In all the polls taken before the primary, McDonnell led Deeds (and the other two Democrats) by varying margins. But now that the Democrats have a definite candidate, Deeds is now benefitting from the traditional post-primary bounce.

From the pollster's analysis: "It is worth noting that, following Deeds' victory, the number of undecided Democrats is significantly lower than the number of undecided Republicans and unaffiliated voters. It is too early to know if this reflects a temporary bounce following Deeds' primary victory or if it signifies a more lasting change."

Senate GOPers Ask Sotomayor For More Information The Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have sent Sonia Sotomayor a letter complaining that her questionnaire is incomplete, asking her to submit another supplement: "If you believe that your questionnaire is fully responsive, we would appreciate an explanation to that effect." They also ask her for copies of materials she edited for the Yale Law Review, and to explain why an all-female organization that she belongs to does not violate the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will hold a town hall meeting at 1:10 p.m. ET today in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The subject of the event will be to discuss the need for health-care reform. He will arrive back at the White House at 5:10 p.m. ET.

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Remember when I posted footage of anti-abortion activist Randall Terry from the National Press Club? Where he said that murdered abortion provider George Tiller had reaped what he sowed--and then invited members of the media out for hot wings and Guinness?

Well, now he's given those who missed out a second chance . Terry will host another press conference tomorrow, also at the National Press Club, to make the case that "Tiller's death and office closing can help propel pro-life movement, derail Sotomayor and overturn Roe."

Before that, though, he'll serve members of the wings. And Guinness.

The event was scheduled before today's act of murder by a right wing extremist--and before Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) condemned the politicization of this sort of tragedy. But it's still on the Press Club calendar.

Among the chief critics of a recent Department of Homeland Security report on right wing extremism was House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who, after the report was released said, "The report that came out of DHS was offensive, and unfortunately, Secretary Napolitano still has a lot of explaining to do."

After it became clear that the suspect in today's deadly shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum is the sort of right wing extremist that report warned about, I put in a call to Boehner's office to ask whether the tragedy had made him reconsider his earlier criticisms.

Here's the Republican Leader's response: "Trying to exploit this awful tragedy to score political points - from the right or the left - is simply grotesque. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."

Rush Limbaugh has some interesting timing -- he made a joke on his show earlier today about Barack Obama supposedly not having a birth certificate:

"You know a lot of people talk about Obama and his Messianic complex," said Limbaugh. "He does have one thing in common with God. Barack Obama has one thing in common with God. Do you know what it is? God does not have a birth certificate, either."

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) met with Sonia Sotomayor yesterday, and walked away impressed. Just... not impressed enough to fully endorse her nomination. "I was pleased to meet with Judge Sotomayor today and I am impressed with what I have learned so far about her life, career and views," Nelson said. "We had a very good discussion about the role of the different branches of government, her history on the bench and previous cases, and her judicial philosophy."

I believe Judge Sotomayor understands how crucial it is to faithfully uphold the law and Constitution on the bench, and not bring an agenda to the bench seeking to make law. I also believe she is committed to respecting settled law and precedent.

The American people deserve a thorough and even-handed confirmation process in the weeks ahead. I look forward to learning more about Judge Sotomayor in that process. It would be unfair to prejudge the nominee, one way or the other, before she has a fair hearing before the Judiciary Committee, has the opportunity to tell her story to the American people and the Senate has time to consider her entire record.

In earlier statements, Nelson noted the historic nature of the Sotomayor nomination, but made sure to inveigh against activist judges at the same time.

In an order issued just a short while ago, the Minnesota election court has now commanded Norm Coleman to pay Al Franken $94,783.15 in itemized costs from the trial.

The Franken legal team had originally asked for $161,000, but the court rejected some of the claims as either not being sufficiently documented or not justified under the loser-pays provision of the election contest law. Bear in mind that even the $161,000 claim would only have made a small dent in the millions that have been spent in this process.

This was previously the subject of much back and forth in legal filings between the two parties, with Team Coleman arguing that no costs should be awarded until after the appeals are done. With this order now hanging over them, it will now be one more thing to litigate or otherwise sort through.