TPM News

The new Rasmussen poll in Ohio gives Republican candidate Rob Portman a small lead in the open Senate race for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. George Voinovich.

Portman, a former Congressman and Bush administration official, leads Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher by 43%-38%, and leads Dem Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner by 45%-38%. These numbers are not significantly changed from Rasmussen's poll last month.

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who earlier this week said repeal of health care reform is "not going to happen," has somewhat backed off the claim. Corker told the Weekly Standard today that he meant it won't happen until at least 2012.

"I think a lot of people are talking about this election cycle generating results that will repeal it," he said. "It's an issue as simple math. I mean as long as Obama's [president], it takes 67 votes in the Senate for that to occur."

But he suggested that Republicans may try to thwart the law other ways in the meantime.

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Some of the biggest names in the GOP are organizing an outside group to help Republicans win in the 2010 midterms -- and donors have already pledged a whopping $30 million for the new project, according to National Journal.

The new group -- which, as a 527, can collect unlimited soft money donations and won't be regulated by the Federal Election Commission -- is called American Crossroads. It's a name you'll likely hearing a lot, in part because, as the Wall Street Journal points out, the group's ambition to raise $52 million makes it "the largest ever planned by a pro-Republican outside campaign entity."

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Appearing on Sean Hannity's TV show last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) accused the Democrats of trying to incite Tea Partiers to make racist statements against Democrats in order to discredit conservatives -- specifically citing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's dramatic march to the Capitol two weeks ago, during the health care debate.

"Well, remember, President Obama brought his campaign manager back into the White House to sell this health care deal. And there's been a continuing mantra through the conclusion of trying to pass health care," said Bachmann.

"Remember when Speaker Pelosi walked arm in arm in a civil rights march across Independence Avenue, from the House buildings over to the Capitol. In three years I have never seen Nancy Pelosi cross the street the way that you saw in that picture. They deliberately went through that crowd, perhaps to try and incite something."

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In the latest flareup of extremist anti-government activity, the FBI is investigating a fringe group that says it wants to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling the government.

The group, Guardians of the Free Republics, recently sent letters to at least 30 state governors informing them that if they didn't step down within three days, they would be removed, according to an internal federal intelligence memo obtained by TPMmuckraker.

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You'd think that after watching the four month health care fight turn into a year-long game of legislative Calvinball, Democrats wouldn't take anything for granted. But when it comes to financial regulatory reform, they're downright assured: they're going to get a bill, and it's not going to require any concessions to the GOP.

This confidence manifests itself in many ways.

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Via Suzy Khimm at Mother Jones: A longshot Republican gubernatorial candidate in Idaho says in a new interview that he has no problem with militias showing "a little force behind the scenes."

ABC's Nightline caught up with Rex Rammell at a training session of the North Idaho Lightfoot Militia. Rammell, who last made national headlines in August when he joked about buying tags to hunt President Obama, is seen in the ABC segment firing a large scoped semi-automatic rifle.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of Arizona gives Sen. John McCain a big lead over his challenger in the Republican primary, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

The numbers: McCain 52%, Hayworth 37%, with a ±4% margin of error. There is no previous Research 2000 poll of this race for direct comparison. A Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago -- before Sarah Palin visited Arizona for a high-profile campaign appearance with McCain last week -- gave McCain a somewhat narrower lead.

The current TPM Poll Average gives McCain a lead of 48.3%-40.3%.

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