TPM News

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is planning to take the high-profile squabble over Social Security in the Republican presidential contest down-ballot, TPM has learned.

The DSCC is readying attacks on several Republican Senate candidates -- including Scott Brown (MA), George Allen (VA), Dean Heller (NV), Dennis Rehberg (MT), Josh Mandel (OH), Jeff Flake (AZ), as well as candidates in New Mexico and Florida -- that seek to tie them to the back-and-forth on Social Security at Monday night's presidential debate.

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After the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the intelligence community, consisting of everything from the CIA to the Homeland Security Department, is outsourcing too much of its work to private contractors and is breaking a pledge to reduce the number of private contractors hired to help conduct, collect and analyze information.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chairs the Intelligence Committee, pointed out the broken promise at a hearing Tuesday, noting that the intelligence community is not living up to a commitment to reduce private contractors by 5 percent a year.

"We had an agreement in 2009 to reduce [intelligence community] contractor numbers by 5 percent a year, but it's clear that progress has not been maintained and sufficient cuts are not being made," Feinstein told a joint-hearing of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to assess progress in U.S. intelligence gathering and analysis over the last ten years.

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Rick Perry was emotionless last week when faced with the 234 executions Texas has carried out on his watch. But he told reporters in Florida Tuesday that the audience cheer in support of the idea of letting the uninsured die at the CNN/Tea Party Express debate freaked even him out a little.

"I was a bit taken aback by that myself," Perry said to reporters from NBC News and the Miami Herald in Tampa Tuesday.

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The Republicans may have to answer for the reaction from the crowd at Monday's CNN/Tea Party Express to the idea of an uninsured man being allowed to die in an American hospital. But it probably won't be the Democratic party calling on them to respond.

The party will have plenty to use from the debate in future attack ads. But a party official tells TPM one of the most memorable moments from any debate in a while -- when members of the audience literally cheered for the idea of letting the uninsured die rather than pay for their care with taxpayer funds -- will not be one of them.

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According to Nielsen data, 3.6 million people tuned into CNN’s Republican presidential debate. If you missed the two-hour debate, not to worry. We’ve distilled it into 100 seconds. Watch:

Who would have thought driving into a conversation about either eliminating or drastically changing the third rail of American politics would cost the major Republican presidential contenders some support in the polls? A lot of people, apparently.

Public Policy Polling (D) released their latest national poll on Tuesday, and it seems that calling Social Security a "ponzi sceme" has not been particularly productive for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Only 20 percent of voters nationally agree with that sentiment, against 70 percent who do not. Just to drive the point home, 82 percent don't agree with ending the popular entitlement program, versus 12 who do. The results mirror a CNN poll on the issue, which showed that 72 percent thought Perry's comments on Social Security were "not accurate."

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The NYPD is dialing down heightened security now that the 10th anniversary of 9/11 has passed, WNYC reports:

The NYPD will still have extra patrols monitoring the subways. It will also be providing extra security in Jewish neighborhoods for the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which is on September 28, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) wants to bring President Obama's uncle, Onyango Obama, before Congress to testify on whether he received preferential treatment after he was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.

"We have to bring drunken 'Uncle Omar' in front of the House Judiciary Committee, drill down into this, and tell America what's going on," King told Fox News, referring to Obama's uncle, who is in the country illegally.

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Not even the conservative’s conservative is going to bail Michele Bachmann out of this one.

On his show today, Rush Limbaugh attacked Bachmann for her medically baseless claim that Gardasil — the HPV vaccine Rick Perry mandated for young girls in Texas — causes mental retardation.