TPM News

We noted earlier that President Obama's political arm Organizing for America had distributed internal talking points urging organizers to describe the public option as a "small part" of health care reform.

Apparently, though, that was a bit of a snafu--the talking points emerged at the state level, were not approved from up on high--and the group doesn't stand by them. Instead, they're sticking with the bullet points on OFA's website, which describes Obama's plan as one that includes a public option.

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Michael Hilton, the American Police Force official who signed a deal to have APF take charge of a prison in Hardin, Montana, may have a lengthy criminal record and a history of alcoholism -- but everyone deserves a second chance.

That's the charitable view of Al Peterson, the Hardin economic development official involved in striking the deal with Hilton and APF.

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has sure become a hit with the liberal netroots base since his vociferous public attacks on the Republicans -- and the money is coming in for this scourge of the "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging neanderthals."

"I can tell you that it really started to explode, I would say last night about five o'clock," said Julie Tagen, the Congressman's chief of staff and a senior adviser to his campaign. "And since that time, we have probably raised anywhere between $125,000 and $150,000 online."

Tagen said that it's not immediately clear how much of this money will be reflected in the upcoming third-quarter financial reporters, because the donations have been coming in continuously during a period when one quarter officially ended and another began.

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.