TPM News

Tom Tancredo isn't going away. The former congressman and one-time presidential candidate may have upended the Colorado gubernatorial race with his third-party run, but he's still not shy to air his controversial views on national issues. In a phone interview with TPM, Tancredo discussed the gubernatorial race, the Cordoba House project, and what he really fears about Obama. He also referenced a long-standing urban legend about the Obamas' supposed war on Christmas.

"I remember a little thing, like Ms. Obama saying she didn't want any Christian artifacts in the White House during Christmas time," Tancredo said. Another problem, Tancredo said, is "hosting Ramadan events there."

Tancredo's recitation of the urban myth about Michelle Obama disdaining Christmas is just one of several instance of Tancredo ascribing an otherness to the Obamas.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has conceded defeat in her Republican primary, losing in a major upset to right-wing challenger Joe Miller. The primary was held last week, with Miller taking a 51%-49% lead in the election night count to the surprise of many observers. However, the final result was delayed by an extended period of absentee ballots arriving, with many of them counted earlier today.

The Anchorage Daily News reports:

Speaking to reporters at her campaign headquarters in Anchorage, Murkowski said "based on where we are right now, I don't see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor."

The concession came after a day of counting absentee ballots in which Murkowski gained little ground on Miller, the Fairbanks attorney backed by former Gov. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express.

Miller will face Democrat Scott McAdams, the mayor or Sitka.

Updated: 8:25 p.m. ET

In an Oval Office speech tonight, President Obama heralded the official end of combat operations in Iraq. But it was not an entirely triumphant moment for the White House, as it continues to be assailed in all directions over the war and the U.S. economy.

"Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended," Obama said in prepared remarks. "Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. This was my pledge to the American people as a candidate for this office."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Goodbye, Iraq: Many American Soldiers Come Home After U.S. Drawdown]

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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric trying to build an Islamic community center and mosque in downtown Manhattan, is cutting short his visit to the Middle East in order to deal with the controversy at home.

ABC News reports that Rauf, who has been traveling for the State Department as part of a mission to build understanding between Middle Eastern countries and the U.S., will leave from Dubai tomorrow.

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Sharron Angle has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, seeking to shake the Harry Reid ads that have painted her as an extremist. Instead of directly rebutting the charges, however, Angle turns the focus back to the lousy economy.

"On Harry Reid's watch, Nevada's unemployment rate has shot past 14% -- highest in the country," says Angle. "Our foreclosure is highest in the nation. Home values have dropped almost 50%. Those aren't just numbers -- they're people who've lost their jobs, families who've lost their homes.

"Harry Reid's dragged Nevada down to perhaps its lowest point ever -- and he wants call me an extremist?"

The TPM Poll Average currently puts Reid ahead by 46.6%-43.7%.

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The Florida gubernatorial race could be getting yet another curveball thrown into it, the St. Petersburg Times reports, with independent candidate Bud Chiles expected to drop out soon. And at first glance, it looks like this could ultimately benefit the Democrats.

Chiles, a businessman and activist for health care for children in poor areas, is a son of the late Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, and had acknowledged that his views are closer to the Democratic side than the GOP. Interestingly, Chiles said last week that he thought the upset win in the Republican primary by right-wing former health care executive Rick Scott would help his own campaign -- but that he would not want to be a spoiler.

"I'll say this till the end: I'm not in this race to create a situation where Rick Scott becomes governor," Chiles told reporters last Thursday. "I believe every day, and I think what happened in the (Republican) primary is a very strong indication that I have a very viable candidacy. As long as my candidacy is viable, then, if I'm sending the message that Floridians want to hear, I'm going to keep doing that. And if, at some point, I feel that it's not viable then we can have another discussion about it."

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A 35-year-old Seattle man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly punching a 7-11 clerk in the head.

Police say Brock Stainbrook walked into the 7-11 just after midnight Aug. 24, approached a clerk wearing a turban, threw change on the floor and then punched the clerk in the side of the head.

"You're not even American, you're Al-Qaeda. Go back to your country," he then said, according to police.

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