TPM News

A new Rasmussen poll released today has Republican Rob Portman leading Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher 48%-39% in Ohio's Senate race.

This is the largest lead held by the Republican nominee over the last few months of polling. Notably, the latest Rasmussen survey includes "leaners" -- or respondents who do not initially indicate a preference for either candidate, but when pressed in a follow-up, declare that they are leaning towards a particular nominee. The survey showed a slightly narrower eight-point margin for respondents' initial preferences, with Portman up 45%-37%. An August 2 Rasmussen poll gave the Republican a four-point lead, 44%-40%, but that poll did not press those surveyed beyond their initial responses.

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News Corporation, the Rupert Murdoch media empire that serves as the parent corporation of Fox News and other properties, is now throwing its monetary weight around in politics with a big contribution to the Republican Governors Association.

As Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, News Corporation donated $1 million to the RGA, which is able to take in unlimited corporate contributions.

This is, of course, in addition to the massive in-kind contributions that the company makes to the GOP on a daily basis.

(Via the Huffington Post.)

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Republican Senate hopeful former Rep. Pat Toomey leads Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak in a new survey of Pennsylvania voters by Public Policy Polling (D).

Toomey leads Sestak 45-36. The survey of 585 likely voters has a ±4.1% margin of error. The poll shows a big swing from the last time PPP surveyed the field and on June 21 released a poll which found voters evenly split with Sestak and Toomey at 41% each.

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Greta Van Susteren traveled all the way to Alaska to do a live show last night with Sarah Palin. I imagine you will not be surprised to hear they discussed the proposed mosque in Lower Manhattan and President Obama's remarks regarding it over the weekend, which Palin has taken to calling the '9/11 mosque.'

Says Palin: "It's sounds cliche to say that He just doesn't get it. This is an insensitive move on the part of those Muslims who want to build that mosque in this location. It feels like a stab in the heart of collectively American who still have that lingering pain from 9/11."

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After hearing last night that President Obama expressed support for the Cordoba House Muslim community center, Stephen Colbert was quite penitent: "You know what, I've been wrong, and I owe the President an apology. You're not a secret Muslim."

Colbert was also unconcerned with those who argue that opposing the Cordoba House violates the First Amendment's principle of religious freedom. "What about our 'guts-titution?'" he asked. "Or the 'Bill of Frights?'"

He added that since 9/11 we have given up a number of our rights, like "the right to privacy. I can't make a phone call without hearing Dick Cheney breathing on the line."

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Not all of the CIA torture tapes were destroyed as the CIA has claimed, according to a new Associated Press report. In fact, the agency is in possession of two videotapes and one audio tape that it discovered under a desk back in 2007.

Several current and former U.S. officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told the AP that the tapes depict Binalshibh's interrogation sessions at the hand of the CIA at a Moroccan-run facility the agency used near Rabat in 2002.

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Daily Show correspondent John Oliver said last night that people are right to oppose the planned Cordoba House, the so-called "Ground Zero mosque," because "Islam, like every religion, has to be responsible for its biggest assholes."

Oliver added that there is also "a difference between what you can do and what you should do. For instance, you can build a Catholic church next to a playground. Should you?"

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Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) spoke Monday night at a dinner for a local group in his state, the Council for Quality Growth -- and offered an interesting perspective on the politics in the home state of an honored guest, Rep. James Oberstar from Minnesota.

"I'm here today to introduce the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Honorable James Oberstar from the great state of Minnesota," Johnson is shown saying in a video posted on the YouTube account of his Republican opponent Liz Carter. "Sometimes I think that state has a, uh, a political, uh, psychological complex. (Audience laughs.) Where they come at, not manic depressive, but something -- psychotic, maybe. (Audience laughs.) But Chairman Oberstar hails from that great state, and I think a state with the kind of affinities that are hailed on polar opposites, that means it is a great state, a state of great thinkers and people who are concerned about moving this country forward."

As a dedicated fan of Minnesota politics, I can only say: Hank Johnson gets it, too!

On the other hand, I should remind Johnson about people who live in glass houses. According to a recent poll, the frontrunner for governor of Georgia is a man who has demanded to see President Obama's birth certificate.

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