TPM News

A top economic adviser to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) quit his position after he was caught attempting to bring marijuana into his Senate office building.

The aide, Marcus Stanley, was stopped by Capitol Hill Police at an entrance to the Hart Senate building on Tuesday when officers found him with "a green, leafy substance which tested positive for marijuana,'' a spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.

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Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is leading in her reelection bid against former HP CEO Carly Fiorina (R) -- but not by much. That's according to a new CNN/Time poll of 866 registered voters in California showing Boxer ahead 48-44.

The numbers are in line with past polling showing Boxer locked in a tough race with the wealthy Fiorina, who dominated the primary field in large part thanks to her comfort level with spending her own wealth on campaigning. More recent polls have shown Fiorina with the narrow lead among likely voters, suggesting that Boxer needs to motivate her base to overcome Fiorina's enthusiastic supporters.

The TPM Poll Average shows the race to be essentially tied, with Boxer leading 46.7-45.0.

A new poll of registered voters in Kentucky throws more uncertainty into a Senate race that in just the last several days has featured polls showing Republican nominee Rand Paul way ahead or just a little ahead of Democratic nominee Jack Conway. The CNN/Time survey of 869 registered voters potentially changes that narrative entirely, showing Paul and Conway locked in a 46-46 tie.

Polling is always an inexact science, and nowhere is that more obvious than in Kentucky this week. It's important to note that the new CNN/Time poll surveys registered voters, while the other public polls touted by Republicans this week (and showing Paul with a big lead) were taken among likely voters. In keeping with the story of the season, likely voters have tended to lean Republicanism heavily, which could explain the disparity between today's CNN/Time poll showing the race to be a dead even and today's Rasmussen poll showing Paul ahead by 15.

Regardless, the CNN/Time poll suggests the race in Kentucky is still potentially up in the air which should give a boost to Democrats hoping to score the upset win in the Bluegrass State. The TPM Poll Average shows Paul leading the race 47.1-41.4.

As Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center gets ready to burn copies of the Koran at his Gainesville, Florida church this Saturday (September 11), many national voices are calling for him to change his plans. House Minority Leader John Boehner, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and RGA Chairman Haley Barbour have all criticized the planned Koran burning. And Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander of the Afghanistan War, has gone as far as to say that the plan could put American troops in danger.

But as Jones forges full-speed ahead with his incendiary event, some of the nation's most prominent Islamophobic voices have expressed their opposition (though usually with caveats), to Jones' idea....

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski would like to retain her job, and she's meeting with the Libertarian candidate to see if they can strike a deal to get her on the fall ballot. Murkowski (R-AK), unseated in a shocking primary last month, met yesterday with Libertarian candidate David Haase.

Haase told Politico that he is "considering it and I wanted her to come up with some reasons why, and she's considering that."

Polls show Murkowski might be able to defeat Joe Miller (R) and Scott McAdams (D) should she run as a libertarian, but as we reported last week, the party's official members voted unanimously they don't want her as their candidate. Haase would have to withdraw by next Wednesday for Murkowski to take his place. She could file as a write-in candidate up to five days before the general election.

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Gaffe all your want, Jan Brewer -- the polls show voters don't care. A new Rasmussen survey of 500 likely voters in Arizona shows voters are more than ready to return the Republican to the governor's office this November. The poll shows Brewer ahead of Democratic nominee Terry Goddard by 22 points. She's leading the race 60-38, according to the new numbers.

The poll comes after the last Rasmussen poll from August 25 showed Brewer ahead 57-38. Despite the truly embarrassing moments Brewer has publicly suffered between that poll and today's new one, her already huge lead appears to have actually gone up.

The TPM Poll Average shows Brewer leading Goddard 59.9-36.4. The trendlines show her with almost epic momentum in the contest -- suggesting that if Goddard is going to make this race competitive, he had better make his move soon.

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A new report by a coalition of 70 government watchdog groups found that the backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests has gone down by 40 percent during the first nine months of the Obama administration.

But the report also notes that the declassification system continues to fall further behind, and addresses "looming secrecy problems" that the Obama administration should address. The report does not measure the impact of the White House's Open Government Initiative.

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For the second time this week, a public poll shows the Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky, Rand Paul, with a big lead over his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway. At the same time, a new poll from a Democratic pollster shows the race to be much closer than that, though it still shows Paul with a lead. Meanwhile, Conway's campaign is vocally protesting the public poll results, claiming their man is still running close to Paul.

The new survey of 500 likely voters in Kentucky from Rasmussen today shows Paul with a whopping 54-39 lead over Conway. The result includes "leaners" -- respondents who first said they were were undecided in the race and are then pushed to make a decision. The poll shows Paul gaining momentum over the previous Rasmussen poll, conducted Aug. 17, which showed Paul leading 51-41.

A few days ago, SurveyUSA released a poll showing Paul ahead 55-40. Even Paul was wary of that one, as one Kentucky TV station reported: "neither Paul or his campaign staff expressed confidence in the poll's 15 point margin."

Conway's campaign completely rejected the poll, questioning SUSA's sample and its methodology. They preferred to talk about a new poll from Democratic polling firm Anzalone-Liszt which shows Paul leading 48-45.

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Less than 48 hours after President Obama announced a plan to create a $50 billion national infrastructure investment bank, Republicans -- and at least one Senate Democrat -- have set it up for long odds. Republicans denounced it as another "stimulus" bill, and resumed their calls for broad tax and spending cuts. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), in a fight for his political life, said he'd only support the proposal if it constitutes no new spending.

"I will not support additional spending in a second stimulus package. Any new transportation initiatives can be funded through the Recovery Act, which still contains unused funds," Bennet said in a statement. "Public-private partnerships that improve our infrastructure are a good idea, but must be paid for, should not add a dime to the deficit, and should be covered by unused Recovery Act dollars. We must make hard choices to significantly reduce the deficit."

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