TPM News

Chris Gaubatz, who went undercover as a Muslim to infiltrate the Council on American-Islamic Relations for a new book from WorldNetDaily, posed for a picture with Muslim Democratic Rep. André Carson (IN) while under guise as "CAIR intern" Dave Marshall.

The picture with Carson, who became the second Muslim member of Congress when he took office in 2008, was taken at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America in Ohio last year.

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The newest ad from Bob McDonnell stars a very special supporter: Sheila Johnson, a female African-American businesswoman and self-identified Democrat supporting a Republican -- and who also has publicly told jokes about Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds for stuttering.

The content of Johnson's ad isn't remarkable by itself -- she talks about how she understands what it takes to run a business, and how McDonnell is a bipartisan leader who can grow the economy and create jobs.

The really fun thing is that she refers to herself as a "Democrat businesswoman" -- note the phrasing usually favored by Republicans as an epithet -- and alternately pronounces her candidate's name as "McDonnell" and "McDonald."

As we've been reporting, many on the right are targeting Kevin Jennings, the director of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, over his homosexuality. Today, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and 52 other House Republicans have taken their criticism of Jennings a step farther, writing a letter to the White House asking that President Obama fire Jennings. King has made that request before -- but never with the formal backing of so many other GOPers.

The letter claims that Jennings has "played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America's schools."

"The totality of Mr. Jennings' career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality," the letter continues.

Text of the full letter after the jump.

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Speaking with ABC's Rick Klein just now on the Baucus health care reform bill he voted for Tuesday, Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) took aim at conservatives and said there is "more do do" before the bill is complete.

Wyden said he voted in favor of the bill in the Senate Finance Committee because he "felt it was important to move the issue forward." He said Democrats had to push the bill past "far right" senators who "want to prevent any health care reform" from passing this year.

Wyden also jabbed White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs for saying so often the president wants a final bill with choice and competition. Wyden says the exchanges found in the Baucus bill will exclude 90% of people from participating within seven years. He favors exchanges for all like the ones available to members of Congress, who can switch among providers and plans when they wish. In the interview with Klein, Wyden called the Baucus exchanges "unacceptable" and said the White House claim that exchanges do provide choice and competition is "not going to pass the smell test."

A spokesperson told TPMDC later Wyden will vote against the Baucus bill if it includes the exchanges as written. Late Update: Wyden appeared on ABCNews' TopLine webcast (video not available yet).

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) is today pressing on in the campaign against supposed infiltration of terrorist-linked Muslim interns in key national security committees on Capitol Hill.

As we told you yesterday, the charges are based on a book published by WorldNetDaily, which draws on the work of an actual intern spy, the son of the co-author who went undercover at the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

An animated Myrick complained on Fox News this morning that "quite frankly, [CAIR makes] everybody else look like they're being paranoid by saying anything about them."

Here's the video of the Myrick segment:

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Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and current Republican exploratory candidate for Senate in California, has suffered the loss of her daughter, 35-year old Lori Ann Fiorina, who died this past Monday.

The following statement was issued today by Fiorina's chief of staff, Deborah Bowker, on behalf of the family: "Carly and Frank Fiorina are deeply saddened by the loss of their youngest daughter, Lori. This is a difficult time for the family and they appreciate all good thoughts, prayers, as well as, respect for their privacy during this time of grief and healing."

A new Rasmussen poll of the New Jersey gubernatorial race finds that independent Chris Daggett could be continuing to surge -- but that if his support falls back down, as third-party candidates often do, Republican Chris Christie could hold on to a narrow lead over Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

Respondents were asked for initial support of candidates, and it came out as a tie between the top two: Christie 38%, Corzine 38%, Daggett 16%.

However, Daggett supporters were given a follow-up question about whether they might change their minds, and who they might vote for if they do -- similar to the process that Rasmussen normally uses to push people from the undecided column into leaning towards a candidate. The poll then found that 57% of Daggett supporters could change their minds, and this could result in a new number: Christie 45%, Corzine 41%, Daggett 9%.

"The race is a tossup, and the key question will be if Daggett loses support, how much support will he lose, and where will it go," Scott Rasmussen told TPM, also adding: "There is no perfect way to measure this. But this is where the play is."

Speaking at her weekly press conference just off the House floor moments ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her most impassioned argument in weeks, for including a public option in comprehensive health care reform legislation, arguing against the idea, favored by some conservative Democrats, of mandating that people buy health insurance,\ and then throwing them into what she called the "lion's den" of the private insurance industry.

In so doing, Pelosi came closer than any member of the Democratic leadership has thusfar to suggesting that the individual mandate should be conditional on the inclusion of a public option. Pelosi did not elaborate, when pressed by TPMDC, on whether Congress would revisit the individual mandate if the public option can't survive the Senate. But her implication was fairly clear.

The House, she said, "will not force America's middle income families to negotiate with insurance companies."

Health care experts agree that health insurance market reforms can not work unless everybody is in the risk pool--and that means a mandate. But privately, many activists and experts believe that a strong individual mandate is also a gift to the insurance industry, and that it should be used as a bargaining chip to secure other robust measures, such as the public option.

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There's some big goings-on in Puerto Rico today that don't seem to be getting much press coverage -- big as in hundreds of thousands of people marching against the government, and possibly being threatened with charges of terrorism as a result.

It starts with Puerto Rico's faltering economy -- a $3.2 billion deficit and an unemployment rate of 15 percent as of last month. That's higher than any U.S. state. More than 20,000 public employees have been laid off and the government announced last month nearly 17,000 additional layoffs of public employees. That includes teachers, social workers and health care workers, among others. The latest firings are effective Nov. 6.

So today, according to SEIU, "hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican workers, faith leaders, students and citizens" are taking part today in a protest march against "massive cuts in essential public services." There could be severe consequences for doing so.

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