TPM News

Chris Christie is now firing back against the Corzine campaign on the issue of his own weight, saying Corzine is trying to use Christie's weight problem as a distraction from the real issues of the campaign.

This all started with a Corzine campaign ad that said Christie "threw his weight around" as U.S. Attorney to get out of trouble from traffic violations and car accidents. Later on, when Corzine was asked if he thinks Christie is fat, he answered, "Am I bald?" The most recent, and most blatant instance, came from state Democratic chairman Joe Cryan, who declared to a Democratic crowd: "What would it feel like if the next governor weighs 350 pounds?"

So now Christie has fired back, as the Press of Atlantic City reports:

"I'm gonna let you in on a little secret," Christie told the crowd. "I know most of you didn't know this - but the governor's been whispering this to the press for months and months and months, and now he's trying to be a little cute about talking about it too through his TV ads. I want to make sure you're all seated and you're OK before I let you in on a secret: I'm overweight. And I've struggled with my weight for the better part of 30 years, up and down.

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On a conference call with reporters just now, Democracy Corps' James Carville, Stan Greenberg and Karl Agne went over their focus group study of Republican base voters and their worldview that President Obama is out to destroy the country -- and the pressure this puts on Republican voters to make no compromises with the Obama administration.

"I don't know if we'll say we were startled," said Carville, "but if you take the position that these Republican voters take, it's easy to see why it leads to this, but they really believe that Obama has a secret agenda here. And our view is this is a dominant view in the Republican Party."

Karl Agne also noted that GOP voters see the the party's leadership as too timid and not strong enough on the issues: "Their negative view of the Republican party is really startling."

Carville explained: "What they want is, if people in Washington look at the Republican Party, they say, gee, they really oppose everything the President does. What these folks say is what they're doing is not enough, they want more opposition. If you're a Republican and you watch this, and you don't want to get primaries, there's nothing here that tells you to go compromise on anything -- quite the contrary."

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In the latest unhinged threat on Barack Obama's life, a California man has been indicted by a federal grand jury after allegedly writing a deranged and racist email screed that urged recipients to "kill the 'president,'" and seemed to invoke the recent death of a Census Bureau worker in an apparent act of anti-government violence.

On September 28th, according to the indictment filed by prosecutors and examined by TPMmuckraker, John Gimbel of Crescent City sent an email whose subject line read:

Operation kill big-[epithet]-rig: kill the 'president' [epithet], then write 'fed shit' on his chest with a felt tip.

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This morning, we reported Terry McAuliffe would be returning to the campaign trail in Virginia to stump for Creigh Deeds starting Sunday. Now TPMDC has learned McAuliffe will be bringing one of his friends with him. A Deeds spokesperson told us McAuliffe and Deeds will appear with Bill Clinton at a Northern Virginia event on Tuesday.

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J Street, the "pro-Israel pro-peace" group which is holding its first national conference this month, has sent out an email blast in response to a Weekly Standard-pushed campaign to get members of Congress to drop off the conference's honorary host committee.

So far, five members have asked that their names be removed -- including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) -- with some saying they don't know how their names got on the list. Schumer, for his part, asked not to be included after initially allowing his name on the list, and that happened before the matter was public.

J Street today sent an email to members of its list who are represented by lawmakers on the host committee. It asks supporters to call lawmakers to voice their support for J Street.

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A new focus-group of Republican base voters by the Democracy Corps (D), the consulting and polling outfit headed up by James Carville and Stan Greenberg, presents a picture of the GOP base as being motivated by a fundamentally different worldview than folks in the middle or on the Dem side -- and they see the country as being under a dire threat.

"They believe Obama is ruthlessly advancing a 'secret agenda' to bankrupt the United States and dramatically expand government control to an extent nothing short of socialism," the analysis said." While these voters are disdainful of a Republican Party they view to have failed in its mission, they overwhelmingly view a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of this country's founding principles and are committed to seeing the president fail."

The analysis argues that Obama's unpopularity among conservative Republicans is both quantitatively and qualitatively different from liberal Democratic ire against George W. Bush -- that the GOP is more heavily conservative than the Democrats are heavily liberal, and that the hatred of Obama is more intense than Dem hatred of Bush was. All of this adds up to a powerful set of emotions that the Republican Party as a whole cannot ignore.

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Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) says he plans to run for reelection in 2012, despite being dogged by a sex-and-cover-up scandal since June.

Recent fundraising reports show that Ensign might be the only one who thinks running again is a good idea. In the third fundraising quarter, Ensign banked just $33,000 -- a low number for any incumbent senator and a huge drop compared to his normally gold-plated FEC filings.

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Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is sticking with his cow on the tracks metaphor.

"Moo moo!" he cried Thursday night at a form at the University of Akron, according to audio taped by the Akron Beacon Journal.

Steele had been asked about his original cow-on-the-tracks moment. On Wednesday, after a Fox anchor said the health care reform train has "already left the station," Steele said:

"Well, I'm the cow on the tracks. You're gonna have to stop that train to get this cow off the track to move forward," Steele said. "They told us in June that there would be a health care bill on the president's desk on Aug. 1. I think our efforts helped change that dynamic, and our efforts this fall will continue to change that dynamic."

Video after the jump.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is getting back on the campaign trail tomorrow to try and help former Virginia attorney general Bob McDonnell (R) win over veterans with less than three weeks until the governor's race.

McCain, a decorated Vietnam veteran, will join McDonnell for a rally at a VFW post in Virginia Beach.

The 2008 presidential nominee was a huge campaign get before he ran for president, but has avoided the trail this year.

The 10 a.m. Veterans for McDonnell rally will be held at VFW Post 392 in Virginia Beach.

McDonnell, who served in the Army on both active duty and reserve in the 1980s and 1990s, represented Virginia Beach when he was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

A nationally known arson expert who had been scheduled to testify before a Texas panel probing an investigation that may have led to the death of an innocent man has slammed Governor Rick Perry's handling of the case.

In an email to an official for the Texas Forensic Science Commission, Craig Beyler called for the appointment of the panel members ousted by Perry last month, and the resignation of the new members that Perry appointed in their place. And he said that Perry, a Republican, should recuse himself from making appointments to the panel because -- having signed off on the execution despite a last minute bid from the convicted man's lawyer for a postponement -- the governor has a "conflict of interest."

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