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The Democrats are quick to spin today's big news in NY-23 -- that moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava has dropped out, and the party has now endorsed insurgent Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman -- as a sign of the GOP becoming more and more extreme.

DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer gives us this statement: "The Republican Party's extreme right wing ideologues sent a chilling message to the few remaining moderate Republican Members and candidates: moderates are not welcome in the Republican Party and differing opinions will not be tolerated."

Rudominer also says the GOP has bungled this race: "The NRCC mishandled the race from day 1. The NRCC spent nearly $1 million (which is a quarter of their current cash on hand) on a race where they didn't understand the district or how the NY State party line ballot worked, they actively criticized the Conservative Party candidate, and they couldn't lock in the endorsements of Republican Party leaders."

The Republican National Committee announced it will immediately back Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman following GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava's campaign suspension in the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional district.

Here is Chairman Mike Steele's statement.

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The two remaining candidates in the NY-23 special election, Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Doug Hoffman, have now each reacted to moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava dropping out of the race.

Owens gave a conciliatory note, praising Scozzafava's public service and denouncing Hoffman as a right-wing extremist, a clear play for Scozzafava's voters:

"Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava has been an honorable public servant for years now and I have a tremendous amount of respect for her and her commitment to her principles. While we disagree on certain issues, we share a dedication to serving the best interests of Upstate New York and the Obama administration's efforts to get our economy back on track. Those interests will always be my highest priority."

"I remain focused on my campaign. Over the next 4 days I will continue traveling the district to discuss my record of helping create jobs and my plans to continue that work in Congress."

"Voters have a clear choice on Tuesday: they can elect to go back to the George Bush economic agenda, or they can vote to move forward. Doug Hoffman and the Club for Growth's extremist agenda won't do a thing to get our economy moving again. While Doug Hoffman is solely committed to continuing tax cuts for the wealthy which will add $500 billion to the deficit, protecting tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas, and privatizing Social Security, I will fight to turn the page on that agenda. I will work to create jobs Upstate to get our economy back on track because that is the type of leadership we need right now in Congress."

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A GOP source tells TPM that the National Republican Congressional Committee is going to get behind Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 special election, now that moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava has dropped out.

Hoffman is in a close race with Democrat Bill Owens, and Scozzafava suspended her campaign today after polls showed her in third place. With the NRCC's backing, Hoffman will go from insurgent third-party candidate to being the de facto new Republican nominee (though Scozzafava will still be on the ballot as the GOP's candidate).

NRCC chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) will have a statement out shortly.

Late Update: The NRCC has released a joint statement -- co-signed by Sessions, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) -- backing Hoffman. It is available after the jump.

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In a huge development in the NY-23 special election, Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava has announced that she is suspending her campaign, citing an inability to win in light of recent polls and a lack of money -- leaving this race as a vote between Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and a strong message that the Republican Party can no longer nominate moderate candidates, or else face a right-wing revolt.

Scozzafava told the Watertown Daily Times that the new Siena poll, which said she was in third place, meant that she would be unable to catch up with Owens and Hoffman.

Interestingly, Scozzafava did not expressly endorse Hoffman in her statement, but simply released her supporters to "transfer their support as they see fit to do so," and hoped for a stronger Republican Party:

It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my Party will emerge stronger and our District and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations.


The big question now, then, is how Scozzafava's voters will break down between Owens and Hoffman, and how many might still pick her as a protest vote (she will still be on the ballot). Her platform was socially liberal and economically conservative, and there was a lot of bad blood between the local GOP and Conservative campaigns. So let's see what happens next.

Scozzafava's full statement is available after the jump.

Read More →

The new Siena poll further confirms that the NY-23 special election has become a tight race between Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, with moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava in third place for this GOP-held seat.

The numbers: Owens 36%, Hoffman 35%, and Scozzafava 20%, with a ±3.7% margin of error. In the previous Siena poll from two weeks ago, Owens had led with 33%, Scozzafava was in second with 29%, and Hoffman trailed with 23%.

In addition, the new poll finds that only 29% of likely voters view Scozzafava favorably, with 51% viewing her unfavorably. By contrast, Owens is in positive territory at 40%-36%, and Hoffman at 41%-37%.

"Unfortunately for Assemblywoman Scozzafava, this has become a two person race between Owens and Hoffman," said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg, in the polling memo. "She now has the support of only one in five voters, having gone from 35 percent support to 20 percent support since the beginning of the month."

Read More →


September 1: Annie Leibovitz takes an Obama family portrait.

Official White House Photo by Annie Leibovitz




October 29: The First Lady welcomes students from Bancroft Elementary and Kimball Elementary to help with the fall harvest of the White House Kitchen Garden. Staff and volunteers from local food shelter Miriam's Kitchen also help harvest tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.

Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton




October 29: The President and First Lady greet Girl Scouts in the Oval Office after signing the Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




October 23: President Obama waits backstage before a speech at a reception for Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick at the Westin Copley Place hotel in Boston.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




October 23: Seen through the fuselage of Air Force One, a U.S. Marine is seen waiting for Marine One to land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




October 23: First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Queen Silvia of Sweden in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House.

Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton




October 23: Professor Vladimir Bulovic gives the President a tour of an alternative energy research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




October 22: Obama meets with, from left, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Harry Reid (D-NV) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) in the Oval Office.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




October 22: The President talks with Phil Schiliro, left, special assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, and Michael Strautmanis, special assistant to the President and chief of staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, in the Blue Room of the White House, before signing the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




October 22: President Obama sits down to lunch with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office Dining Room.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




October 21: Staff and interns gather to watch President Obama's helicopter depart en route to Andrews Air Force Base.

Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton




October 21: The Presidential motorcade departs Newark International Airport en route to a rally for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine rally.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson




October 21: The President and senior adviser Pete Rouse huddle backstage before the Corzine rally.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 21: Michelle Obama demonstrates proper hula-hooping technique as part of her efforts to encourage wellness and exercise.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton




October 21: Another event: The President is just about to give a speech on small business at a document archiving firm in Maryland.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 21: The Cabinet meets at the Treasury Department to practice response in case of a catastrophic earthquake.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 21: Stage directions in Hyattsville make sure everyone's in the right place to announce Obama's small-business policy.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 21: The man behind the scenes: trip director Marvin Nicholson.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 21: Personal aide Reggie Love is the butt of the President's jokes as Marvin Nicholson and others listen in.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 21: Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) returns from Afghanistan to report on the presidential elections and other matters. National Security Adviser James Jones looks on.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 20: Katie Hogan, associate director of Press Advance, watches from the floor of the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, as her boss delivers remarks at a big-money fundraiser.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 20: A young boy puts some arm into his high five with the President at a fundraiser for NY-23 candidate Bill Owens.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 20: Obama speaks at the Owens fundraiser.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 17: White House visitors catch a glimpse of important business: the President is speaking with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 28, 2009: The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden greet New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter on the pitcher's mound at Yankee Stadium during Game One of the World Series. They're joined by an Iraq war veteran, retired Army Capt. Tony Odierno, and Yankees legend Yogi Berra. The game was dedicated to veterans and their families.
Earlier in the day, Obama and Biden joined the Yankees at a VA hospital in the Bronx to visit with patients.

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo




The foursome take the field at Yankee Stadium. Odierno is a West Point graduate and Yankees employee who lost his left arm in Iraq.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton




Retired Army Capt. Tony Odierno throws out the first pitch of the Yankees-Phillies game.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton




The New York Yankees stand on the field during the National Anthem before the game begins.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton




It is high! It is far! It is gone!: Michelle Obama and Jill Biden react to a play during the game.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton

Who are the most frequent guests at the White House? It's impossible to tell from tonight's massive dump of White House visitors logs. The lists are based on media requests, meaning names that weren't specifically asked for by reporters don't appear.

Still, there are some interesting findings in the partial list.

SEIU president Andy Stern appears most often on the list. He visited the White House around 20 times in the past nine months, according to the logs. Former Obama transition director John Podesta appeared about 17 times. NOW president Kim Gandy was the third most popular with about 15 visits.

It makes sense that Stern would be a popular guest -- beyond leading a group key to the Democratic base, Stern's SEIU has been a leading voice on behalf of health care reform.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) visited the White House grounds 11 times this year, the records of some visitors released tonight by the Obama administration show.

Daschle, a friend and key Obama adviser during the campaign who dropped out due to tax problems after being nominated as secretary of Health and Human Services, was at the White House on Inauguration Day.

He also was there Jan. 25 with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Jan. 26, Jan. 27, Jan. 28 meeting with David Axelrod's assistant, Jan. 28 meeting with OMB chief Peter Orszag, and twice on Jan. 29, meeting with Larry Summers.

Daschle, a top adviser for a lobbying firm that deals with the health industry Alston & Bird, withdrew his nomination in early February amid questions about his taxes.

He appears on the list again as a White House visitor on June 1, July 15 and July 16.

During a 2006 examination, an SEC staffer asked Bernie Madoff for information. Madoff replied that he had already provided it to a top agency official. To which the SEC-er responded: "It's a big organization, we don't talk to each other."

That's according to Madoff's testimony to SEC investigators. The agency's inspector general's office has just released documents that were part of its probe into its failures on the Madoff affair. And they further the picture of a regulator at which the right hand didn't know what the left was doing, and which depended on inexperienced and over-matched agents to sniff out complex financial frauds like Madoff's.

You can see all the documents here. And you can see Madoff's testimony here.

Let us know in comments about anything else that jumps out.

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