TPM News

New polls out this morning confirm that the Pennsylvania Senate race has gotten very tight, and very quickly, with Democrat Joe Sestak catching up rapidly after Republican Pat Toomey had previously led by strong margins.

Toomey had led in polls for months, but Sestak is now making a serious race of it in the home stretch. In some ways, this is a lot like Sestak's win in the Democratic primary over incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter -- the political world had largely written him off, but then undecided voters broke heavily his way in the end. Will it be enough this time, too?

The new daily tracking poll from Muhlenberg, conducted over a four-day period: Sestak 43%, Toomey 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±5% margin of error. In the previous, overlapping survey from yesterday, Sestak had taken a lead of 44%-41%.

The numbers from Quinnipiac: Toomey 48%, Sestak 46%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. In the previous survey from a month ago, Toomey was ahead by 50%-43%.

The TPM Poll Average has Toomey holding on to a narrow advantage of 46.4%-43.9%, largely the on the strength of previous surveys that gave him wider leads.

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A hearing about a proposed mosque in middle Tennessee resumed yesterday, with a lawyer for the mosque's opponents claiming the mosque's leaders wanted to fly the "flag of Sharia" over the White House.

The mosque opponents, three local residents, sued Rutherford County, claiming officials violated open meeting law when approving the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro's site plan for an expanded mosque outside of Murfreesboro. The opponents want the court to stop construction.

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Wisconsin's Republican Senate hopeful Ron Johnson got tripped up on a point of policy during a recent interview: Asked what the Department of Veteran's Affairs' responsibility is to homeless veterans, Johnson declared that his election fight against Sen. Russ Feingold is not "about details."

"Certainly the people that step up to the plate to answer that call -- they are a top priority in terms of spending. So we do need a strong VA system. We need to support those folks as long as they need support," Johnson said.

The moderator pressed Johnson -- a government skeptic -- to explain exactly how the government should respond to the issue of homeless vets. "Are there specific things that you think need to happen within that galaxy of services, perhaps, that the VA has some responsibility for or other organizations that would help homeless veterans?"

Johnson responded, flummoxed.

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The media and most viewers of the Oct. 19 Delaware Senate debate thought Republican Christine O'Donnell's question about the First Amendment directed at Democrat Chris Coons was a pretty epic gaffe for the hardcore tea party favorite and Constitution proponent.

O'Donnell did not see it that way, however.

"It's really funny the way that the media reports things," O'Donnell told ABC News this morning. "After that debate my team and I we were literally high fiving each other thinking that we had exposed he doesn't know the First Amendment, and then when we read the reports that said the opposite we were all like 'what?'"

As a refresher, here's how we reported the moment at the Oct. 19 debate:

"You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?" O'Donnell asked, when Coons brought up the fact that the very First Amendment to the Constitution "bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion."

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Axelrod: We Didn't Do Enough to Sell Agenda Roll Call reports: "White House senior adviser David Axelrod admitted Wednesday that the administration didn't do enough to help explain Democrats' legislative accomplishments to the public over the past two years. President Barack Obama 'didn't have time' to focus on messaging as he tackled major issues that 'came in rapid fire' as soon as he got to office, Axelrod told Roll Call during a West Wing interview."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet with a Seattle family at 1 p.m. ET, and hold a discussion on women and the economy at their residence at 1:10 p.m. ET. He will deliver remarks at a 2:40 p.m. ET rally for Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). He will depart from Seattle at 4:20 p.m. ET, arriving at 6 p.m. ET in San Francisco. He will attend an 8:40 p.m. ET private event for Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidate for state Attorney General, and deliver remarks at a 10 p.m. ET dinner for the Democratic National Committee.

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NPR has terminated the contract of long-time contributor Juan Williams over remarks he made on the O'Reilly Factor.  On Monday night's O'Reilly Factor Williams weighed in on Bill O'Reilly's now infamous View appearance (watch the video below).

Well, actually, I hate to say this to you because I don't want to get your ego going. But I think you're right. I think, look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality.
I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

NPR's media reporter David Folkenflik broke the news on Twitter. (Read from the bottom up.)

# Williams also warned Fox host Bill O'Reilly agst blaming all Muslims for "extremists," saying Christians shouldn't be blamed for Tim McVeigh     14 minutes ago  via web

Here's a link to Williams' most contentious remarks in which he said he was "nervous" seeing Muslim airline passengers 16 minutes ago via web

The decision by NPR follows strong criticism for remarks on Fox suggesting he feared passengers in Muslim garb when boarding aircraft. 19 minutes ago via web

NPR statement on terminating Wms contract says his remarks abt muslims on Fox News "undermined his credibility as a news analyst w NPR" 21 minutes ago via web

NPR: "Juan has been a valuable contributor.... However his remarks on the O'Reilly Factor ... were inconsistent w/our editorial standards" 22 minutes ago via web

#NPR terminates contract of longtime analyst Juan Williams for comments made on Fox News about Muslims. More to come.   25 minutes ago  via web  

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"Bobby Thompson" isn't the only fake identity associated with the charity scammer / GOP donor who was indicted last week in Ohio. Thompson -- whose true identity is unknown -- also made up a dozen fake names, then allegedly took out money orders in those names so he could make donations to political candidates.

According to the Ohio attorney general's office, Thompson wrote at least 11 money orders using the names of people who apparently don't exist, along with addresses associated with his fake charity, U.S. Navy Veterans Association. He used the fake names to give $376 to Florida attorney general Bill McCollum in 2006, $2,260 to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign in 2008 and $500 to Marty Seifert, a former Minnesota state house representative who unsuccessfully ran for governor this year.

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When it comes to Rand Paul's college career, it seems like Jack Conway's work here is done. Having turned a weird anecdote from one of Paul's schoolmates at Baylor into a national firestorm, Conway seems ready to pull the Kentucky Senate race back toward something more in keeping with standard electoral politics.

Conway's already suggested he doesn't see Aqua Buddha as his closing argument, having told reporters that the now-infamous ad will likely be off the air by the end of this week. That means it's time to get back to what Conway was doing before the ad dropped -- namely, hitting the Republican Paul over and over for his semi-Libertarianism.

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1||Former President Bill Clinton has been very busy drumming up support for Democratic candidates, attending many, many events this election season.

Here, Clinton rallies the crowd with Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) after a rally in Santa Ana, California. ||Newscom/ZUMA Press&&

2||Clinton takes the stage with Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway in Lexington, Kentucky. ||Newscom/ZUMA Press&&

3||Clinton works the crowd at a rally for Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) at a high school in New Haven, Connecticut. ||Newscom/ZUMA Press&&

4||Clinton and California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown at a rally at UCLA. ||Newscom/London Ent/Splash News&&

5||Clinton headlines an event for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) in Denver, Colorado. ||Newscom/ZUMA Press&&

6||Clinton and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) at a rally in Napa, California. ||Newscom/ZUMA Press&&

7||Clinton and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) in San Antonio, Texas. ||Newscom/ZUMA Press&&

8||Clinton at the Bennet event in Denver.

More on the midterm elections here.||Newscom/ZUMA Press&&