TPM News

President Obama stars in a new national television ad to boost get-out-the-vote efforts, a 30-second commercial that the Democratic National Committee hopes lays out the stakes for the midterm elections next month.

"If the other side does win, they will spend the next two years fighting for the very same policies that led to this recession in the first place," Obama says in the ad.

TPM obtained a copy of the ad which you can watch below. It's aimed to run along with Obama's planned town hall forum on BET, MTV and CMT tonight.

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Delaware Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell may have mastered her debate talking points and had a "Saturday Night Live" laughline, but had a tough time this evening with some basic questions about issues she'd face if she is elected to the Senate.

The most striking example of that in her CNN-televised debate against Democratic nominee Chris Coons came at the end of the 90-minute forum when O'Donnell could not name a recent Supreme Court case.

The debate moderator Nancy Karibjanian of Delaware First Media asked O'Donnell to talk about a recent high court opinion she disagreed with. The Republican, who defeated Rep. Mike Castle in a primary last month, paused.

"Oh gosh. Give me a specific one," O'Donnell said after a deer-in-the-headlights moment which you can watch below. Karibjanian said, no, because that was the point: she needed O'Donnell to name one.

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Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell tonight totally confused the United States' history with Afghanistan when talking about the Obama administration's plan to withdraw troops from the country.

She complained that Obama and Democratic nominee Chis Coons are advocating something dangerous by proposing a drawdown of troops begin next summer.

"A random withdrawal, that he has said he supports, will simply embolden the terrorists to come after us even more, saying, 'I've chased away the superpower,'" O'Donnell said during a nationally televised debate hosted by CNN at the University of Delaware.

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The SEIU is behind a new TV ad targeting Robert Hurt, the Republican nominee opposing Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA). The ad gets right at the heart of the national narrative, ripping Hurt for votes in the state legislature that, according to the SEIU, mean he's opposed to extending unemployment benefits to workers who have lost their jobs.

Will the ad have an impact? Depending on which poll you believe, it might or might not. Public polling from robo-call pollster SurveyUSA has shown Hurt ahead by double-digits, though Democrats have howled that the pollster's methodology is not getting an accurate sample of the district. Polling conducted by partisan firms on both sides have shown the race to be closer, with just a few points separating the two nominees.

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Have you read Wheel Of Fortune host Pat Sajak's blog post for National Review Online today? Because if you have, you might be saying: "I'd like to buy a W, T, and an F please, Pat."

That's because Sajak asks that question that's been on no one's mind: "Should state workers be able to vote in state elections on matters that would benefit them directly?"

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A new Siena poll of the NY-23 House district finds that this race could still be a contentious three-way race -- even though Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, the star of last year's topsy-turvy special election, has dropped out. The problem: A lot of his voters might not know that he dropped out -- and his name remains on the ballot -- and he still splits the conservative vote and thus helps Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.

The initial numbers: Owens 42%, Republican nominee Matt Doheny 31%, and Hoffman 15%. When Hoffman backers are informed that he dropped out, the numbers change to Owens 44%, Doheny 39%, and Hoffman at only 1%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. There is no prior Siena poll of this race for direct comparison.

For what it's worth, it's also a good thing for Republicans that Hoffman narrowly lost the Republican primary against the establishment-backed Doheny, and subsequently threw his support the GOP's way. Only 28% view Hoffman favorably, with 55% unfavorable. By contrast, Owens's favorable rating is 46%-35%, and Doheny's is 36%-34%.

A new report by the intelligence company STRATFOR offers a possible explanation for the mystery surrounding the "lake pirates" shooting. Unnamed sources tell STRATFOR the incident "may have been a case of mistaken identity."

Two weeks ago, David Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, were jet skiing and taking photographs on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border. Tiffany later said that she and David were approached by people in three boats, and attacked. The couple was reportedly fired at, and David was shot in the head. Tiffany said she was unable to retrieve his body from the water, and then had to flee for her own safety. Since the incident occurred on the Mexican side of the lake, Mexican authorities have been leading the investigation and search, while Tiffany Hartley and David's family have been very visible in the media telling the story of the shooting and calling for a stepped-up search effort. Neither David Hartley nor his jet ski has yet been found. The entire case has been clouded by conflicting reports and the sheer number of authorities involved on different levels from both sides of the border. Yesterday, the severed head of the investigation's supervisor, Tamaulipas State Police Commandant Rolando Armando Flores Villegas, was found by Mexican authorities.

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The New York Times Magazine is up with this weekend's massive interview with President Obama by the paper's Peter Baker. The story in a nutshell? Obama is ready to reboot after a tough first two years in office.

From the story:

While proud of his record, Obama has already begun thinking about what went wrong -- and what he needs to do to change course for the next two years. He has spent what one aide called "a lot of time talking about Obama 2.0" with his new interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse, and his deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina. During our hour together, Obama told me he had no regrets about the broad direction of his presidency. But he did identify what he called "tactical lessons." He let himself look too much like "the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat." He realized too late that "there's no such thing as shovel-ready projects" when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead "let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts" so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise.

Here are some highlights from the transcript of Baker's long interview with the President.

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The new CNN/Time poll of the West Virginia Senate race shows a tie in the contest to succeed the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd. Furthermore, the race could potentially be spoiled -- though who knows how -- by a left-wing third party with a very rural-friendly name.

The poll has Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin and Republican businessman John Raese tied at 44% each, plus 5% for Jesse Johnson with the "Mountain Party," the state affiliate of the Green Party. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.5% margin of error. There is no prior CNN/Time poll of this race for direct comparison.

The TPM Poll Average gives Raese a lead of 48.4%-45.4%.