TPM News

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kentucky finds that Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), has a narrow lead in the Republican primary for Senate against the establishment favorite, Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

The numbers: Paul 35%, Grayson 32%, within the ±4.7% margin of error. Back in August, Grayson was ahead of Paul by 37%-26%. This is a Republican-held open seat, currently occupied by retiring GOP Sen. Jim Bunning.

In the Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo leads state Attorney General Jack Conway by 39%-28%, with a ±4.1% margin of error, compared to a 39%-31% Mongiardo lead in August.

And here are the general election match-ups: Grayson leads Conway by 43%-39%, and he leads Mongiardo by 48%-38%. Conway leads Paul by 44%-39%, and Mongiardo and Paul are tied at 43%-43%. The margin of error is ±2.4%.

Daniel Horowitz, the attorney who represented shock jock Michael Savage in his recent copyright infringement suit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is set to go up against CAIR again as counsel for the co-author of Muslim Mafia.

And, Horowitz told TPMmuckraker in a phone interview this morning, he's relishing the opportunity for Round Two with the Muslim civil rights group.

A judge ruled mostly in CAIR's favor yesterday in a suit seeking to block Dave Gaubatz from publishing documents taken by his son Chris, who went undercover as a Muslim intern at CAIR.

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Newsweek magazine is teaming up with an oil-industry lobbying group to host an event on climate-change and energy issues involving lawmakers, just as the Senate gets set to take up legislation on the subject.

The panel discussion, entitled "Climate and Energy Policy: Moving?," will feature Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, and, as moderator, Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman, according to an email invitation sent by a Newsweek business staffer and obtained by TPMmuckraker.

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RNC chair Michael Steele bounded up to the podium at his post-election press conference at Republican Party HQ in Washington this morning.

"How's everyone feeling?" he said with a big grin. When the two dozen or so bleary eyed reporters in the audience failed to respond to the question, his grin grew even larger. "That good, huh?"

For the next 30 minutes, Steele raved on about his party's victories last night -- and on his role in making them happen.

"The GOP renaissance has begun," he said, before borrowing a line from President Obama's campaign last year. "This election was not about 'the change we need.' It's about the change the American people want."

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President Obama has not yet called Republican governors-elect Chris Christie in New Jersey or Bob McDonnell in Virginia.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters in his gaggle today that Obama did not watch the returns last night, a trend which is not unusual since he didn't watch returns for his own races as they came in.

"He wanted them to enjoy their night with their families and supporters," Gibbs said.

Gibbs said he sent Obama some email updates throughout the night and spoke with him on the phone. (As for what the races mean, all politics is local, Gibbs said this morning.)

The president was "disappointed" that his "friend" Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) was defeated, Gibbs said.

The president did talk to Corzine and state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-VA) last night.

Gibbs said Obama will call the victors today.

McDonnell is holding a press conference this afternoon.

A federal judge yesterday granted a request by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to block the authors of Muslim Mafia from publishing any of the documents taken by Chris Gaubatz while he was posing as an intern during a "counterintelligence operation" for the book.

Separately, Muslim Mafia author Dave Gaubatz and his son Chris are now being represented by the lawyer who represented shock jock Michael Savage in his 2007 copyright infringement suit against CAIR. We'll have more on this soon.

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Most of the commentary about last night's elections has centered around Republican pickups in the New Jersey and Virginia statehouses. But what's gone largely unnoticed is that the two congressional seats up for grabs last night both went to Democrats, and that will have immediate ramifications for health care reform.

The NY-23 seat abdicated by Republican John McHugh (who resigned to become Secretary of the Army) went to Democrat Bill Owens--the first Democrat to hold the seat in over a century. And the CA-10 seat abdicated by Democrat Ellen Tauscher (who resigned to become Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs) went to Democrat John Garamendi.

That creates some simple arithmetic. Yesterday, Democrats had 256 voting members in the House. By week's end, they'll have 258. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could afford to lose no more than 38 Democratic votes on a landmark health care reform bill. Next week, after Owens and Garamendi are sworn in, she can lose up to 40. For legislation this historic and far-reaching, she'll need every vote she can get--and both seem likely to support reform.

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It looks like the Chamber of Commerce is concerned that it be seen as willing to play a constructive role in the coming Senate debate over climate change legislation -- whatever the reality.

That's the message to be drawn from a letter that the business lobby sent -- and posted on its website -- to Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) yesterday.

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