TPM News

Pretend for a moment that you're Michael Steele. You won the RNC chairmanship earlier this year, and have been at the helm of the GOP for months as it has waged a fierce internal battle over the future of the party. You also have a reputation for being a bit of a buffoon. So the off-year elections roll around, and things go OK. Dede gets Scozzafav'd, but for the most part the media trains its eyes on gubernatorial pick ups in New Jersey and Virginia and declares victory for the GOP.

You might think that's a pretty good outcome. But Steele apparently wanted more credit for the Christie and McDonnell wins. So what's a political chief to do?

According to Politico the answer he arrived at was 'fire my communications director and fill the void with CNN's celebrity GOP talking head Alex Castellanos."

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Over the weekend, Washington Times employees wondered what was going on when a group of men began hauling boxes out of the large executive office that was used by former Executive Editor John Solomon, a newsroom source tells TPM.

The four middle-aged men closed the blinds in the office and stayed in it for at least two hours, the source says. They left carrying a small box and some other items, in plain view of staffers on weekend duty. Then a pair of men went into the office suite used by Solomon and his assistant, on the mezzanine level of the paper, and carried out several moving boxes on a cart, according to the source.

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A new survey of Wisconsin by Public Policy Polling (D) finds Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold ahead of former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who has been mulling a possible challenge to the three-term incumbent.

The numbers: Feingold 50%, Thompson 41%, with a ±3.5% margin of error. Feingold is also tested against the two lesser-known Republican businessmen currently in the race, leading Dave Westlake by 47%-32% and Terrence Wall by 48%-34%.

Feingold has an approval rating of 45%, with a disapproval of 37%, and President Obama's rating is tied at 47%-47%. Thompson, despite having been elected governor four times in the 1980's and 1990's, has not fared well since he left office to become Georg eW. Bush's first Secretary of Health and Human Services, and later an unsuccessful presidential candidate -- his favorable rating is in negative territory, at 38%-45%.

"A lot of Democrats were scared yet another of their seats would go on the vulnerable list when Tommy Thompson said he was interested in running for the Senate last week," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the pollster's analysis. "But Thompson's popularity is not what it used to be, and it looks like Russ Feingold is in a solid position."

President Obama welcomed Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today at the White House, saying it was "fitting" that India was the first country to be hosted for an official state visit.

Obama said the nations can work together to curb the effects of climate change, end poverty and strive for a world without nuclear weapons. He said they each are "speaking out and standing up for the rights and dignity" that all humans deserve.

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Muslim Mafia author Dave Gaubatz says in a new interview that his open call for a Winnebago, a pair of motorcycles, and $25,000 to conduct counterterrorism research in North Carolina was "bait" designed to draw attention away from real field research he was conducting elsewhere.

"While Elliot [sic] and like terrorist supporters were focused on my 'alleged' research in NC, I was hundreds of miles away conducting research in other locations," Gaubatz tells FrontPageMag, a Web publication edited by David Horowitz.

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Poll: Public Opposes Afghanistan War -- And Favors More Troops For It? A new CNN poll finds a somewhat contradictory result regarding the war in Afghanistan. The poll has 50% of respondents favoring a troop surge in Afghanistan, with 49% opposing it. At the same time, only 45% favor the war, with 52% opposing it -- meaning that there are a few respondents who oppose the war, and want to send more troops.

Obama's Day Ahead The President and First Lady will welcome Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur to the White House, at 9:15 a.m. ET. President Obama and P.M. Singh will hold a bilateral meeting at 10:20 a.m. ET, with an expanded bilateral meeting at 10:55 a.m. ET, and a joint press conference at 11:35 a.m. Et. President Obama will meet with senior advisers at 2 p.m. ET, and with Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 3:10 p.m. ET. The President and Vice President will meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at 4:30 p.m. ET. The President and First Lady will greet P.M. Singh and Mrs. Kaur at 7 p.m. ET on arrival for a state dinner, and host the dinner at 8:15 p.m. ET.

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