TPM News

Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki have both recorded robocalls for Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 special election.

Rudy declares that now that Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava has dropped out, this leaves Hoffman as the only choice to oppose Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He does not mention that Scozzafava, who was forced out of the race by national conservatives for her being too moderate, has endorsed the Democratic candidate Bill Owens.

"Not only is Doug Hoffman the only candidate who has pledged not to raise taxes, and not to vote for wasteful pork," says Rudy, "but now that Dede Scozzafava has decided to suspend her campaign, voting for Doug is the only way we can stop Nancy Pelosi from gaining one more liberal vote for higher taxes, higher federal deficits, and government-run health care."

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As Christina mentioned yesterday, MoveOn is targeting the conservative Democrats in the Senate suggesting they may vote with Republicans to filibuster a health care bill.

Radio ads will run in Arkansas and Louisiana, directed at Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). You can hear the Landrieu ad below.

Accompanying the radio spots will be a broader direct mail campaign aimed at Lincoln and Landrieu, but also at Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the only Republican on the list.

Lincoln, Landrieu, and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) will also be faced with polling data showing that the public option is popular among their constituents, who do not want to see them obstructing the passage of a reform bill.

New Jersey independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett is walking back his claim that Sarah Palin meddled in the New Jersey race and encouraged him to quit, saying on MSNBC this morning that he'd heard about Palin's involvement not from her, but when "someone mentioned that she had said something."

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In the stately Mansfield room, where Democrats meet for their weekly caucus lunch just off the Senate floor, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), appeared this morning alongside Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and a number of entrepreneurs from around the country, at an event dedicated to the idea that health care reform is crucial to the survival of small businesses in America.

It was at once fitting and unusual for Landrieu to appear at this pro-reform event. On the one hand, as chair of the Small Business Committee, how could she miss it. But on the other, she's one of a handful of conservative Democrats openly suggesting she might support a Republican health care filibuster, particularly if the public option in the Senate bill isn't affixed to some sort of trigger mechanism.

About nine minutes in Landrieu channeled her inner Democrat. "While we may not yet completely agree on all of the specific details," Landrieu said, "one thing we can all agree on is doing nothing is not an option."

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Another election, another boatload of evidence-free Republican claims of voter fraud...

In part because it's the closest of the major races, the New Jersey governor's race has been the focus of the GOP's dire warnings. Here's how the campaign to stoke fears over voter fraud in the Garden State has ramped up in recent days:

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Former DNC Chair Howard Dean said on MSNBC this morning that the GOP civil war in the special NY-23 congressional race -- in which moderate GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed Democrat Bill Owens after many prominent Republicans defected and supported Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman -- "has destroyed the Republican Party."

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) was able to raise a half-million dollars in his "money-bomb" fundraiser -- a single day of massive online donations -- a solid amount that ought to go a long way towards him fighting out his 2010 campaign, in which the Republicans have had trouble recruiting a big-name candidate to oppose the fiery left-winger.

According to Grayson's official page for the fundraiser, he has taken in $507,125.

Let's compare that to another recent money-bomb, by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who urged her supporters to "send the left a message." In her case, Bachmann only took in about $100,000.

Grayson had a definite public-relations strategy for his money drive, having spent about two weeks promoting the scheduled fundraiser in his TV appearances and other venues, and he built up pledges that could be quickly collected in the morning. Bachmann did not have any similar pledge operation, and as a result Grayson outdid her by a five-to-one ratio.

Rep. Michele Bachmann took to Fox this morning to promote her tea party rally this week, calling it the "Super Bowl of freedom."

Bachmann has called for a rally Thursday at noon on the steps of the Capitol, starring such conservative luminaries as Jon Voight. She then wants tea partiers to stream into the halls of Congress to talk to their representatives directly.

"The only way they're going to listen is if real freedom-loving Americans come here to Washington noon on Thursday, look at the whites of the eyes of their members of Congress and say, 'Don't you remember, I told you don't take away my health care,'" she said.

Video after the jump.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office is denying reports of any understanding with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), that Lieberman would vote for cloture on health care.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley told us: "There is no such understanding. We hope to have his vote in the end but we are not there yet."

A leadership aide also told us: "Senator Reid is speaking with Senator Lieberman and all members of his Caucus. To say that there is some 'understanding' about votes at the end of the process is preposterous."

Conservative Party NY-23 candidate Doug Hoffman was approached last night by Watertown Daily Times reporter Jude Seymour, and asked about Rush Limbaugh's joke that Republican ex-candidate Dede Scozzafava, who dropped out and endorsed Democrat Bill Owens, was "guilty of widespread bestiality. She has screwed every RINO in the country." Hoffman laughed, and refused to condemn it.

"I don't know. I have to interpret it first. (Laughter) I don't know. That's Rush Limbaugh. I don't think I can comment to that," said Hoffman. When pressed further about whether he would denounce it, he said: "No, I don't denounce it. I just heard it this second. Do you want to read it to me again?"

When it was read again to him, Hoffman had no comment.