TPM News

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino was recently down to negative $567.50 in campaign funds, according to his latest filing through August 30. Since the filing, Paladino, who has pledged to donate up to $10 million of his own money to his campaign, has given a cash infusion of about $500,000.

Paladino's primary opponent Rick Lazio has reported about $500,000 cash on hand, leaving the two Republicans on roughly equal footing heading into the September 14 primary.

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The two non-Republican candidates in the Florida Senate race have some new ads in this wild and wacky election, with some amusing new spots from independent Gov. Charlie Crist and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.

In the Crist ad, the ex-Republican walks alongside some large physical letters, a bit less than waist-high, that spell out "DEMOCRATS" in blue and "REPUBLICANS" in red. Crist talks about how as an independent he will be able to focus on common goals and take the best ideas of both sides -- as he rearranges the letters into alternating blue and red, to spell out "AMERICANS."

"Because at the end of the day, there's only one party I work for," says Crist.

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Terry Jones, the pastor of a small radical church who plans to burn Korans on Sept. 11, said this morning that, although he takes the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan's warning seriously, he will still go ahead with "Burn A Koran Day."

Yesterday, Gen. David Petraeus said that Jones' demonstration could endanger American troops in Afghanistan. Geoff Morell, the Pentagon spokesman, echoed those concerns today on MSNBC, saying burning Korans would put troops in more danger throughout the Muslim world.

But Jones, in an interview with CNN this morning, said he isn't swayed.

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In a bid to raise awareness of David Vitter's ethical scandals, Louisiana Democrats are raising money to run a TV ad recreating an encounter Vitter had with a prostitute.

"We need to get Forgotten Crimes on television in Louisiana," reads a fundraising letter the LA-Dems sent to supporters this morning. "A recent independent poll found that an astonishing number of likely voters in Louisiana are unaware that David Vitter admitted breaking the law but was never held accountable."

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The Michigan Supreme Court ruled last week that the Michigan Tea Party will not be on the November ballot, echoing a decision by the state's appellate court, and putting an additional nail in the coffin for the enigmatic Tea Party group that is accused of committing fraud when filing its election ballots.

The Michigan Tea Party is believed by many tea partiers to be a Democratic operation, aimed at splitting the Republican vote in November by putting up phony candidates who aren't really tea partiers at all. State Dems have contended they have nothing to do with the Michigan Tea Party.

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One-Seat Majority Is Democrats' Bottom Line CQ reports: "Democrats have long acknowledged the challenges they face this fall. But with the economy still teetering and voters unhappy with Democratic leadership, many are privately conceding that the best Democrats can hope for may be razor-thin hold on the chamber. 'At the end of the day, all that matters is whether we control the majority ... that's the only thing that matters, and we have to set up an environment where our ultimate objective -- maintaining the majority -- is met,' said a Democratic leadership aide, who acknowledged that the party faces a 'very, very tough -- in many cases brutal -- election.'"

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, and will receive the economic daily briefing at 10:30 a.m. ET. They will meet at 11:10 a.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and meet at 11:50 a.m. ET with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Obama and Biden will have lunch at 12:45 p.m. ET. Obama will meet at 1:15 p.m. ET with senior advisers. Obama and Biden will meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at 4:30 p.m. ET. (Ed. note: This item has been changed since a White House schedule update.)

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In his new role as New York Times columnist, Peter Orszag proved won't just be a soldier for the Obama administration. In his first piece, the President's just-departed budget director created a big headache for his former boss by calling for a two-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts -- including the ones for the wealthy.

The White House and Democratic leaders on the Hill want to let the tax cuts benefiting the wealthiest expire, but are facing opposition from some of their own members, who will now have Orszag to cite as justification for holding out.

"[T]he best approach is a compromise: extend the tax cuts for two years and then end them altogether," he wrote. "Ideally only the middle-class tax cuts would be continued for now. Getting a deal in Congress, though, may require keeping the high-income tax cuts, too. And that would still be worth it."

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As we head into the true crunch time of the 2010 election, the crucial period between Labor Day and November 2, let's take a look at what might just be the steepest uphill climb for Democrats this fall: Holding on to the Arkansas Senate seat held by incumbent Dem Blanche Lincoln.

Just take a look at the TPM Poll Average to see how much ground Lincoln would have to make up to score a victory in November. The Republican nominee, Rep. John Boozman, is ahead of Lincoln by a whopping 60.3%-31.2%.

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