TPM News

Marco Rubio has a new ad in the Florida Senate race, hammering ex-Republican and now independent Gov. Charlie Crist as an opportunist.

Though Rubio's ad doesn't directly mention the story, he appears to be alluding to Crist's recent insistence that he would have left the GOP and run as an independent even if he had been leading in the polls for the Republican primary. (At the time he switched, Rubio led in the polls for the primary by 20-30 points.)

"We all know what he's doing. Charlie Crist was losing, so he switched sides," Rubio says in the ad. "Just to win votes, he flip-flopped on everything, from the stimulus to ObamaCare. And when that failed, he started falsely attacking. Don't fall for it. Typical politicians who will say or do anything won't retire the national debt, protect Social Security, or help create a single new job. I'm Marco Rubio, and I approved this message because Washington already has enough politicians who care more about their own future than they do about yours."

The TPM Poll Average gives Rubio 42.7%, Crist 29.3%, and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek 21.9%.

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Through months of polling, Democratic state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Republican former hospital executive Rick Scott have each found themselves atop a number of surveys on the Florida gubernatorial race. From May to early-August, Scott led all but one polled matchup with Sink. Then, the month-long span between an August 11 Mason-Dixon poll and a September 11 Fox News poll saw the Democrat trail in only a single survey. Now, as we near the actual election, Scott finds himself back in control of the polls.

Most recently, an October 3 Sunshine State News poll had the Republican on top of the contest by two points, 44%-42%. Just prior to that, Republican-leaning pollster Public Opinion Strategies had him leading 46%-42% and a Rasmussen survey produced a five-point lead for the controversial nominee.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is getting involved in the case of a man reportedly killed by "lake pirates" while jet skiing on a body of water that straddles the Mexico-Texas border. Perry told the Associated Press that he has asked Mexican President Felipe Calderon to call him within 48 hours to discuss the search for David Hartley. Perry said if Hartley is not located by then, "we're not looking hard enough."

Tiffany Hartley says that she and her husband were jet skiing and taking pictures on the Mexican side of the lake last Thursday, when they were attacked by people in three boats. David was reportedly shot in the head, and Tiffany, unable to lift his body onto her jet ski, fled for her safety. Neither David nor his jet ski have been located. Hartley's family has been vocally calling on the governments of both Mexico and the U.S. to step up their efforts. The incident happened in Mexican waters, and the local sheriff has declined an invitation to assist in the search "because it's dangerous."

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In the race to replace retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), Republican nominee and former Rep. Rob Portman appears to be in prime position to keep Republican control of the Senate seat.

This morning, a Quinnipiac poll of the Ohio race was released and found the Republican leading Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher 55%-36% (the previous Q poll, from mid-September, put Portman up 20). Earlier this week, a Fox News poll had the race at 53%-37% (the previous Fox News poll put Portman up 13).

In the last month of polling, the narrowest margin produced for the contest was Portman leading by seven points.

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Would Hillary Clinton somehow run with President Obama to take Vice President Joe Biden's place in 2012? It's the latest -- but utterly nonsense -- idea generating cable chatter to rival the "dream ticket" rumors from 2008.

Obama allies have been shouting "No!" as loud as they can, but given the long, rocky Clinton-Obama history, the train has left the station and there's no turning back.

Clinton said today at the Fortune "Most Powerful Women" summit that she has "absolutely no interest and no reason for doing anything other than just dismissing these stories and moving on."

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Connecticut Senate race gives Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal a big lead over Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon.

The numbers: Blumenthal 54%, McMahon 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from a week and a half ago, Blumenthal led by only 50%-45%.

Along with two other recent surveys, one from Public Policy Polling (D) and the other from Fox News (conducted via a Rasmussen offshoot), the evidence is piling up that Blumenthal appears to be pulling away after McMahon had previously been closing the gap.

The TPM Poll Average gives Blumenthal a lead of 51.1%-44.0%.

Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell has put leading Republicans in a tough (and funny) spot. In response to her 2006 claim that she had seen classified information about a secret Chinese plot to take over the United States, the current Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and former RNC chair Ed Gillespie are saying that hey, maybe she's right.

Back when she first ran for Senate in 2006, losing the Republican primary, O'Donnell claimed during a debate that China had a "carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America," and criticized one of her GOP opponents for wanting the United States to pursue cooperation with the country. "There's much I want to say. I wish I wasn't privy to some of the classified information that I am privy to."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O'Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]

Appearing last night on MSNBC's The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Steele was grilled by Lawrence O'Donnell (no relation) about this matter. "Michael, you know she`s lying about the classified information, right? I mean, reassure the country," said Lawrence O'Donnell.

"Do you know -- do you know that, Lawrence?" Steele replied. When Lawrence O'Donnell stated that he was certain that Christine O'Donnell was lying, Steele answered back: "Produce your evidence and invite me back on the program and talk about it."

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Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak is up with a new TV ad that seeks to remind voters of Republican rival Pat Toomey's affinity for Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin.
The 30-second spot, which was not released by the campaign but was airing Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in the Philadelphia media market, refers to Toomey as "Pennsylvania's most right-wing congressman"--a reference to an American Conservative Union rating that has put him to the right of former Senator Rick Santorum.

It goes on to air a clip in which Toomey says "my voting record's pretty heard to distinguish from Rick Santorum's," and reminds viewers that Toomey called Palin "a spectacular governor." It also airs a clip in which Toomey voices support for outlawing abortion and enacting penalties for doctors who perform them.
With most public polls showing Toomey leading Sestak one month before Election Day and with the race expected to tighten, the new ad underscores a key pillar of Sestak's strategy: make Toomey unacceptably conservative to Pennsylvanians.
"Pat Toomey," the ad says, "he's not on our side."

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