TPM News

Republican Delaware Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell has figured out how to deal with the national Republican Party not giving her enough financial support: Go out and attack them for it on right-wing media outlets, in order to raise money from grassroots Tea Partiers instead.

As Howard Fineman reports:

Specifically, according to two top GOP insiders, she said at a strategy meeting with DC types last week: "I've got Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys."

And that was precisely what she was doing on the radio today. On Hannity's popular afternoon drive-time show, the Tea Party-inspired Senate contender acidly criticized the party, specifically the National Republican Senatorial Committee, for not funneling any serious cash (beyond a pro forma $43,000) into her race against Democrat Chris Coons.

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Conservative groups in Minnesota are offering a $500 reward for tips leading to voter fraud convictions.

Minnesota Majority, Minnesota Voters Alliance and the Northstar Tea Party Patriots have teamed up on a project they call Election Integrity Watch and are running radio ads promoting what they say is a program to train "thousands of citizens of what to look for at the polls."

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In the space of about five minutes this morning, Fox News turned a shutdown of the Brooklyn Bridge over a suspicious flashlight into an international terrorist threat before dismissing the whole thing like it never happened. It's a classic example of Fox News fear-mongering -- in this case, based on Fox's own fear-mongery "scoop" that's been a central narrative of the network's broadcast day.

Here's what actually happened, according to reports. The bridge was closed around 9:40 AM after a pedestrian notified police of a flashlight with copper wire sticking out of it on the pedestrian walkway. (The iconic landmark is currently undergoing renovations, which may explain the construction equipment lying around.)

Both sides of the bridge and the walkway were shut down for about an hour while police investigated. The suspicious flashlight turned out to be just a normal flashlight.

On Fox, however, you can go from zero to "be afraid, be very afraid" to zero again in the space of seconds.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Delaware Senate race gives Democrat Chris Coons a consistent and significant-sized lead over Republican Christine O'Donnell, albeit by a slightly smaller margin than some other firms have shown.

The numbers: Coons 51%, O'Donnell 40%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from three weeks ago, Coons had 49% and O'Donnell had 40%, plus 5% for Congressman Mike Castle, who was considering a write-in bid after he lost the Republican primary to O'Donnell. (Castle eventually decided against it.)

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O'Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]

The TPM Poll Average gives Coons a lead of 55.5%-37.2%.

If you haven't watched Ft. Worth councilman Joel Burns' emotional speech about being a gay teen that he gave during a council meeting the other night I highly recommend you do. And get some tissues. The vid has been making the rounds on the web, and is the latest (unofficial) addition in a series of videos that gay adults have making to encourage gay teens to hang on because "it will get better."

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The new SurveyUSA poll of the Minnesota gubernatorial race shows Democrat Mark Dayton extending his narrow lead against Republican Tom Emmer, in the race to succeed GOP Governor and potential presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty.

The numbers: Dayton 42%, Emmer 37%, and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner at 14%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.7% margin of error. In the previous SurveyUSA poll from two weeks ago, Dayton had 38%, Emmer 36%, and Horner 18%.

If Dayton wins this race, it would be an amazing comeback -- in a Republican year, no less -- for a man who served one term as a U.S. Senator, then retired in 2006 and openly cited problems with his own electability at the time. On the other hand, Emmer has had his own problems, most notably his gaffe and failed damage control efforts when he claimed that waiters were making $100,000 a year in tips and hurting their employers.

The TPM Poll Average has Dayton at 39.5%, Emmer 35.4%, and Horner 15.2%.

77-year-old Mary Jane Schriner wanted to publish a book about the letters she got from the late Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner, back when he was a doting 16-year-old filled with "Pools and Puddles of Purple Passion."

But the Steinbrenner family just told her no. There goes the book.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the California gubernatorial race -- the first poll released since the report of a recording of somebody on Democrat Jerry Brown's campaign calling Republican Meg Whitman a "whore" -- shows Brown continuing to lead Whitman despite the controversy.

The numbers: Brown 50%, Whitman 44%. likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago, Brown led by a nearly-identical margin of 49%-44%.

The "whore" controversy has dominated coverage of the race for the last week with Brown coming under fire from the Whitman campaign and much of the media. (Brown himself did not appear to have been the person who used the word on the weeks-old call, but he did not immediately differ with it on the audio.) However, this poll shows that it doesn't seem to have affected the race in any material way, and his momentum has held up.

The TPM Poll Average gives Brown a lead of 47.1%-43.9%.

"I'd rather be doing this than in some stuffy old political office. I'd rather be out here bein' free," proclaims former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in between footage of her snowshoeing, four wheeling, fishing and watching two grizzly bear cubs fight.

The 30-second spot is an ad for her new TLC reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska."

The spot itself is almost tongue in cheek: Don't miss, for example, Palin warning one of her daughters: "No boys go upstairs!"

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