TPM News

Yet another Republican is officially challenging Harry Reid, with former state GOP chair Sue Lowden announcing her bid to bring down the Democrats' Senate Majority Leader.

"I think there is a big fear here in Nevada, across the country, but clearly here in Nevada, of a big government takeover of our lives, of our businesses," said Lowden. "I think that is going to resonate in Nevada and I think throughout the country."

Recent polls have shown Lowden ahead of Reid -- a good place to be, starting out. But as the Las Vegas Review-Journal points out, it's not going to be so simple for her. She or any other Republican must first get through a very crowded Republican primary, with nine other candidates ranging from major names to underdogs. After that, Reid, could spend as much as $25 million.

Fear and paranoia are running so high over Hardin, Montana's decision to put a shady private security contractor in charge of a local prison that the town agency behind the deal has posted a message on its website saying that "there are no commandos in the streets," and seeking to knock down other outlandish rumors.

A message on the website of the Two Rivers Authority, Hardin's economic development arm, reads:

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Republicans fully intend to mobilize against Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), the freshman Congressman who accused Republicans of wanting sick people to "die quickly," then apologized to the dead of the "holocaust" that is the health care crisis, and called the GOP "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging neanderthals."

However, the GOP doesn't actually have a candidate yet -- but they're getting ready for it. The NRCC has set up a fund to contribute to the yet-to-be-determined GOP nominee, and have set up a new anti-Grayson site, AlanDisgrayson, to rile up their base.

Grayson was just elected in 2008, defeating incumbent GOP Rep. Ric Keller in a district that had previously been voting Republican. The district voted twice for George W. Bush, by 53%-45% in 2000 and 55%-44% in 2004, but then swung in 2008, voting for Barack Obama by 52%-47%. Grayson, who self-financed with over $2.6 million, won by an almost-identical 52%-48%.

The Republicans think they can win this district back. "We've always viewed Grayson as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country, probably top five," a national Republican source told us. "Nationally that is starting to become, now everyone realizes why."

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) really isn't shying away from the limelight. Here's our TPMtv highlight reel of Grayson's activities in the last few days -- from saying that Republicans want people to "die quickly," to calling the health care crisis a "holocaust," and calling the Republicans "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging neanderthals."

A radio station in Athens, Ga., is drumming up publicity by calling itself "Obama Government-Controlled Radio" and playing Hawaiian pop, songs like "Superfly" and "Disco Inferno" and clips from President Obama's campaign speeches.

Between songs listeners hear messages such as, "Why let highly paid consultants pick the music when you can let the government do it for you?"

Bulldog WPUP-FM, a classic rock station, is trying to hook listeners with the gimmick before changing formats Thursday night at 6 p.m.

"Yes, it is a stunt," the station's program director, Kevin Steele, told TPM.

And it's working.

"Our online streaming listeners have doubled in the last 24 hours," he said.

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A new Rasmussen poll in Delaware finds that Republican Congressman Mike Castle could potentially beat state Attorney General Beau Biden -- a son of Vice President Joe Biden -- in the 2010 special election for the VP's Senate seat.

The numbers: Castle 47%, Beau Biden 42%. In addition, Beau leads 2008 GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell, a marketing consultant who lost by 65%-35%, by a smaller but still significant margin of 49%-40%. The margin of error is ±4.5%.

As of right now, neither Castle nor Beau are officially in the race, but they are widely viewed as potential candidates. O'Donnell is the only declared contender for the seat.

Major progressive organizations see a golden opportunity to resurrect the public option, and are preparing a campaign, which will include television ads in Nevada, to pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get on board.

As I've noted a number of times, the public option will not be in the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill, but it can re-emerge at three key points in the legislative process. Among those, one of the most important is the next step, when Reid merges the Finance bill with a more liberal proposal from the Senate HELP Committee. If he adopts the latter panel's public option, it would dramatically alter the nature of the legislative battle, shifting the onus from liberals, who have been doggedly fighting to include the public option in the Senate bill, on to conservative Democrats, who would have to decide whether their opposition to the popular measure is so strong that they'd be willing to join the GOP in a health care filibuster and tank the entire reform effort.

Such a move would likely alienate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the only Republican working with Democrats on health care reform, and require Democratic leaders, including Reid and President Obama to make sure all 60 Democrats stand united when Republicans try to block the bill--a tall order, and one Reid doesn't seem prepared to meet.

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The Secret Service announced today that the person -- a juvenile -- behind a Facebook poll that asked whether President Obama should be killed is not an actual threat to the President.

The agency spoke with the child and the child's parents, and no charges will be filed.

"Case closed," said a spokesman. ""I guess you could characterize it as a mistake."

No names were released to the press.

Earlier this weekend, a user-created poll popped up on Facebook that asked users, "Should Obama be killed?" The choices were Yes, No, Maybe, and "Yes if he cuts my health care."

Facebook removed the poll after it was brought to their attention.

A very interesting name pops up on the management and strategy team for Gov. Tim Pawlenty's (R-MN) new political action committee, which is widely seen as a preliminary step for a presidential campaign: Sara Taylor, a former top aide to Karl Rove, who resigned her position during the U.S. Attorney scandal.

Taylor's testimony during the U.S. Attorney hearings sure was interesting. When confronted with the fact that she'd conducted official government business through a private RNC e-mail account, she explained that it was more "efficient" than using both the RNC e-mail and the government e-mail. In addition, Taylor refused to answer many questions, citing executive privilege, and for other questions said she couldn't recall the answers:"I can't remember what I had for breakfast last week."

But her single most famous moment was when Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) caught Taylor saying she made an oath to the President -- as opposed to saying she made an oath to the Constitution: