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Check out this declaration from Minnesota state Sen. Mike Jungbauer, who is now running for the Republican nomination for Governor: That God called him to run -- and he's setting out to achieve a literally miraculous level of fundraising.

Here's what he told a local newspaper:

An evangelical Christian with a degree from the Moody Bible Institute, Jungbauer purposefully set his campaign fund-raising goal in excess of that suggested by experts as a kind of verification he was following the right path.

"I believe if I'm really called by God to do this, and again it's not necessarily called by God to be the governor, but to do the campaign, to do it right, I set the goal quite high when I would have to believe it was truly miraculous (to achieve), and I couldn't say I did it, or they (the campaign) did it," said Jungbauer.

So God has called Jungbauer to run for governor, and to raise a lot of money -- but not necessarily to win and be governor? Talk about mysterious ways.

And yes, Jungbauer's state legislative district is inside Michele Bachmann's Congressional district.

(Via Minnesota Independent.)

Blockbuster stuff from the New York Times Sunday on stunningly frequent contacts during the height of the financial crisis between Henry Paulson and his successor as CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein.

The then-Treasury Secretary and Blankfein spoke by phone two dozen times in one week in September 2008 when AIG was bailed out -- a deal that handed Goldman, a key counterparty of AIG, $13 billion in federal money.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Times' account of the contacts between the two men, for which Paulson belatedly sought and received an ethics waiver, is that the phone calls were often coming from the Treasury Secretary.

In one day, Sept. 17, Paulson called Blankfein four times. Then after taking a call from President Bush in the evening, the Treasury Secretary called Blankfein yet again -- almost as if he felt obliged to keep the Goldman CEO constantly abreast of his progress. He spoke with Blankfein "far more" than with other executives, the Times reports.

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The National Republican Congressional Committee is now slamming the Democratic leadership's response to the town hall disruptions with a new press release, saying that the Dems are now questioning the patriotism of their political opponents and calling them un-American -- the same politics they used to denounce during the Bush years.

The target of this is the new USA Today column by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, which declares of the town-hall disruptions: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades." The NRCC also targets Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN), who told the Washington Post: "What I don't want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions."

"According to the Democratic leadership, if you oppose an increase in healthcare costs, massive deficits, and higher taxes, you are 'un-American,'" said NRCC communciations director Ken Spain. "By calling town hall attendees 'political terrorists' or questioning the patriotism of their own constituents, Democrats have reduced themselves to the hateful and unproductive rhetoric they once excoriated."

Check out the full release, after the jump.

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North Carolina Tea Party Revolution has posted videos from their big protest outside Rep. Brad Miller's (D-NC) office on Friday, which they claim had 695 attendees -- and the videos sure to tell you a lot about the nature of right-wing anger right now.

Miller has not been holding town halls, but instead scheduled a meeting at his Raleigh office with a small group of constituents who were also conservative activists. The Tea Party then gathered outside:

These people really do see America as a place that has now been taken over by an illegitimate regime -- note the signs like "Liberal Government + Liberal Media = Tyranny," and "United Socialist States of America." Plus there's a defiance of the home-made shirts of a cracked ACORN logo, with the name spelled backwards to make a new acronym: "Not Really 4 Obama's Communist America." If the government isn't conservative, it's tyrannical.

And just look at this example, of a man saying that our children have been "enslaved" by a $115 trillion debt -- complete with baby dolls in striped prisoner outfits and chains:

"And we're tired of the government's saying that we're paid and that we're organized. We are not. We're everyday citizens," the man explained "We get together on Internet Web sites to figure out where things are going on, and what's going on -- just like the other side does. And we're sick and tired of this, we gotta take back America now."

The Alberto Gonzales self-rehabilitation tour continues?

The former Attorney General, who launched a mini media blitz in May, is back, this time trying his hand with New York Times magazine interviewer Deborah Solomon.

Among other tidbits, Gonzo says he hasn't talked to George W. Bush since the president left office. And he confirms that no law firm has offered him a job in the years since he resigned. (Though his lawyer told TPMmuckraker in May he was engaged in unspecified "legal work.")

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Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) -- who last week denounced President Obama for supposedly wanting to create a "death panel" that would condemn her Down Syndrome son to go without health care -- is now calling for civility at town halls, and to not diminish our political discourse. Here's her latest Facebook post:

There are many disturbing details in the current bill that Washington is trying to rush through Congress, but we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment. Such tactics diminish our nation's civil discourse which we need now more than ever because the fine print in this outrageous health care proposal must be understood clearly and not get lost in conscientious voters' passion to want to make elected officials hear what we are saying. Let's not give the proponents of nationalized health care any reason to criticize us.

It would be incorrect to say that Palin is backing off. Rather, she is calling for civility in the manner of the debate, so as to focus effectively on how evil and disturbing her opponents are.

(Via Ben Smith.)

House Democrats have set up a "war room" to help members push health care reform during the August recess, according to The Hill.

The 24/7 war room staff, working out of Rep. Steny Hoyer's (D-MD) office, will answer policy questions from members and closely monitor the news. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will make daily phone calls to freshmen and sophomore members, and there will be more caucus conference calls than usual.

Obama Looks To Regain Momentum Over Recess Roll Call reports that President Obama plans to use the August recess to regain momentum in the health care debate. "It's been confusing for people and there's a lot of misinformation, so the president is going to use August to set the record straight," said an unnamed senior White House official. "He'll be very direct."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama is spending today in Guadalajara, Mexico. He will hold a trilateral meeting at 10 a.m. ET with Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The three of them will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. ET. Obama will depart from Mexico at 2:15 p.m. ET, arriving back at the White House at 6:35 p.m. ET.

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Dean: Palin "Just Made That Up" About The Death Panel Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean told CNN that Sarah Palin's line about President Obama establishing a "death panel" was simply wrong. "About euthanasia, they're just totally erroneous. She just made that up," said Dean. "Just like the 'Bridge to Nowhere' that she supposedly didn't support.

Gingrich Defends Palin On The Death Panel Appearing on This Week, former Speaker Newt Gingrich defended Palin on the "death panel" talk, even though George Stephanopoulos pointed out multiple times that the health care bill does not promote euthanasia. "You are asking us to trust turning power over to the government," said Gingrich, "when there are clearly people in American who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective standards."

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Obama: "Outlandish Claims" About Health Care Bill Are "Simply Not True" In this week's YouTube address, President Obama rebutted what he called "outlandish claims" that have been made against his health care plan:

"So, let me explain what reform will mean for you," said Obama. "And let me start by dispelling the outlandish claims that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid, or bring about a government takeover of health care. That's simply not true. This isn't about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it's about putting you in charge of your health insurance.

Virginia Gubernatorial Race Takes Center Stage In GOP Address This weekend's Republican address was delivered by Bob McDonnell, the GOP nominee for Governor of Virginia. He delivered a standard conservative message, with a focus on how these issues affect his own state as well as the country at large:

"As I travel throughout Virginia, I listen to our people who are concerned about the jobs they have, worried about finding the jobs they need, and concerned about what jobs will be available for their kids in the years ahead," McDonnell said, later adding: "As Republicans, we believe you create jobs by keeping taxes and regulation low, and litigation at a minimum."

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