TPM News

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has called for a federal investigation of former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, the Republican nominee for governor in the election two weeks from now, regarding allegations that Christie may have used his office for political gain.

This comes in the wake of today's report that Christie's former aide, Michele Brown, allegedly intervened in the processing of the Corzine campaign's Freedom of Information Act requests regarding Christie's records, and also reportedly urged the office to take action quickly on local corruption arrests in order to benefit Christie's campaign. Brown later resigned from the office, after it was revealed that she'd received an undisclosed $46,000 personal loan from Christie in 2007.

Lautenberg called it "shocking" that Christie appeared to have run a political campaign from the U.S. Attorney's office. The election is two weeks from now -- so we should all expect these accusations to only get more intense in the next fortnight.

Since the Feds unsealed a criminal complaint against a former high level NASA scientist yesterday, charging him with attempted espionage, media interest has focused on the Israel angle: an FBI employee posed as a Mossad agent and gave Stewart Nozette money for classified satellite information.

Even the Justice Department's press release on the arrest played up the Mossad ploy, while noting that Israel is not accused of breaking any laws.

But a curious section in the criminal complaint suggests that there was a foreign country -- identified only as "Country A" -- to which Nozette may have passed information.

And there's circumstantial evidence suggesting one "Country A" candidate is India.

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A new Rasmussen poll finds RNC chairman Michael Steele with only a modest approval rating among Republican primary voters, with a high number of respondents who have no opinion.

The numbers: 39% favorable, 27% favorable, and 35% with no option. A further breakdown shows 11% very favorable and 28% somewhat favorable, to 9% very unfavorable and 18% somewhat unfavorable.

The pollster's analysis also finds that male Republican voters view Steele both more favorably and more unfavorably than women Republicans do, with women having a disproportionately high undecided number of 41%.

Andy Bichlbaum, a member of the Yes Men who posed yesterday as a Chamber of Commerce spokesman and announced that the Chamber would support climate change legislation, appeared on CNN this afternoon to talk about the stunt.

"The point we were trying to make is that the real Chamber of Commerce has a completely backward, troglodytic, in fact, position on climate change. They're behind the rest of the world," Bichlbaum said. "They seem to be working hard to try to make the us the laughingstock of the world."

On Monday, the Yes Men staged a fake press conference announcing that the Chamber would support climate change legislation. The real Chamber is a major opponent of such legislation.

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Bill Clinton told Democrats at an appearance in Northern Virginia this afternoon that victory for Creigh Deeds depended on how much they're "willing to step into the breach" and overcome their nominee's lagging poll numbers. Flanked by Deeds and Terry McAuliffe, the man he fought hard for in the Democratic primary, Clinton mused on Deeds' come-come-from-behind victory in the contest.

"I learned two things in the primary The first is never underestimate this man," he said of Deeds. "The second is polls are both accurate and they're not."

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The effort by a conservative county prosecutor in Arizona to hire a big-name Washington lawyer power couple to go after a local official has hit a roadblock.

Earlier this month, we told you how Maricopa county prosecutor Andrew Thomas, working closely with the notorious anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio, had hired Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, a famed Republican husband-and-wife team, to investigate a local county official -- and political antagonist of both Thomas and Arpaio -- on campaign-finance charges.

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Former President George W. Bush has got a whole new gang. Goodbye, Condi, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Hello, Terry Bradshaw, Zig Ziglar and Rudy Giuliani.

Bradshaw, Ziglar and Giuliani are among the other featured speakers at an Oct. 26 "Get Motivated!" business seminar in Fort Worth, TX, where the former president will be the "special guest speaker." That won't be Bush's only Get Motivated appearance. See the full image promoting his Dec. 2 seminar here.

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President Barack Obama, who's in New York for a big DNC fundraiser, among other things, spoke a few minutes ago at the Joint Terrorism Task Force Headquarters. He told law enforcement officials there that "you should all be extremely proud" and that "the record of your service is written in the attacks that never occur."

"Obviously, you're not doing it for the glamor or the glory or the pay," Obama said. "You do it to serve and protect your country."

The president said that the U.S. is "making real progress" in its battle against al Qaeda and other extremists, and that while "no one can ever promise that there won't be another attack on American soil," "I will stay as focused on this mission as you are."

"I pledge to give all of you the tools and support you need to get the job done," Obama said, adding that "I'm going to continue to be standing behind you each and every step of the way."

President Barack Obama spoke on the phone today with both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger Abdullah Abduallah. The White House issued a press release on the calls. The full text is below.

President Obama expressed his appreciation for President Karzai's decision to accept the certification of Afghanistan's first round election results, and to agree to a second round of voting. President Obama underscored that this decision was in the best interests of the Afghan people, and reiterated the ongoing United States commitment to an outcome that reflects the will of the Afghan people. President Obama also called Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to express appreciation for his constructive efforts.

President Obama received an update from Ambassador Einkenberry on developments related to the Afghan elections. President Obama thanked Ambassador Eikenberry and his team for their hard and exceptional work in recent days, and discussed his appreciation for Senator John Kerry's collaboration with the Ambassador.

The Congressional switchboards have been lighting up all day with health care supporters calling members through the Organizing for America call parties, and OFA is about to hit its second goal of 150,000 calls.

A staffer for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) called to detail that office's experiences with the calls today, saying the volunteers offer a sample of varying perspectives on health care. Some are calling for a single-payer system, some are asking the Congresswoman to stand firm for a public option, while others are offering general support for President Obama's plan.

The staffer told TPMDC that more than 100 calls flooded in today. During a daily staff meeting they usually can have one person listen for the calls, but today they had to halt the meeting so a handful of aides could answer the phones.

"It's more calls in a single day than we've ever received on health care, and pales in comparison to efforts done by opponents. It's no small feat," the Schakowsky staffer told me. "It's definitely noticed and having an effect."

Work for a member of Congress? Is your phone ringing? Please share your stories with us.

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