TPM News

In today's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama will be traveling to multiple countries in Asia in November.

Here's the itinerary according to Gibbs:

November 12-13: Tokyo, Japan November 13-15: Singapore, for a meeting of 10 Southeast Asian nations November 15-18: Beijing and Shanghai, China November 18-19: Seoul, South Korea

Gibbs noted that while Obama is not visiting Indonesia on this trip, he spoke with President Susilo Yudhoyono at the recent G20 summit in Pittsburgh about his intention to visit the country next year.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) will have at least one Republican opponent soon, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Armando Gutierrez Jr., a 28-year old South Florida real-estate developer, is expected to announce soon that he's running against the freshman Democrat. Gutierrez's father has had a major presence in the Cuban-American political scene, though that has more to do with Miami than Grayson's district Orlando.

Gutierrez could bring money to the table, to compete with Grayson's own deep pockets, but he would also face the accusation of being a carpetbagger -- he only registered to vote in the district last month.

Other possible GOP candidates could also be on the horizon.

Late Update: It should be noted that the St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday that former state Sen. Dan Webster, one of the GOP's top prospects for the race, has registered a Web address at, but has not officially become a candidate at this time.

President Obama will be raising money for businessman Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate in the NY-23 special election, the Watertown Daily Times reports.

Obama will meet with about 50 people during an upcoming fundraiser in New York City, and will discuss the race and promote Owens.

The upstate seat became open when Obama appointed GOP Rep. John McHugh as Secretary of the Army. Owens is in a three-way race with moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. The special election will be held on November 3.

Montana State Sen. Greg Barkus, who crashed his boat in a lake with four passengers aboard, including Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), was charged today with one count of criminal endangerment and two counts of negligent vehicular assault, the Flathead county attorney's office confirmed to TPMmuckraker.

The charges, which can be read in full here, allege that Barkus was drunk on the night of August 27 and that his actions on Flathead Lake endangered the life of Rehberg.

Reached at his home this afternoon by TPMmuckraker, Barkus said he had not heard of the charges, all of which are felonies. He said he had no comment on the matter.

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A new survey of North Carolina by Public Policy Polling (D) illustrates just how polarized people have become in terms of their politics -- and where they get their news.

President Obama's overall approval rating in North Carolina, state that he won narrowly, currently stands at 45% approval to 49% disapproval, according to this survey. The poll also asked: "When you watch cable news do you prefer CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC?" The answer was Fox 49%, CNN 31%, and MSNBC 13%, plus 7% who don't watch cable news.

Note that Obama's disapproval matches the percentage or respondents who watch Fox. Another way to look at it, from PPP: "Obama's NC approval with Fox News watchers: 18%. Approval with everyone else: 72%."

Now which came first: The chicken, or the egg?

It's not quite the "bombshell" that Buzzflash calls it, but former Rep. Charlie Wilson opined on Afghanistan in an interview with the Scranton Times.

Wilson (D-TX), whose role in the covert operation in Afghanistan later inspired the film "Charlie Wilson's War," said he thinks President Obama is in a "very tough situation" when making his decision on whether to send more troops.

"It's probably best to make a calculated withdrawal. ...If I were the president, I'm not sure what I'd do. I'd probably shut it down, rather than lose a lot of soldiers and treasure," Wilson, now 76, told the newspaper in advance of an event Thursday at the Scranton Cultural Center.

He said the U.S. is being viewed as an occupier and he worries the war could be "another Vietnam."

A new Rasmussen poll of Louisiana finds a result that might surprise some people: Despite the fact that he was implicated in a prostitution scandal in 2007, Republican Sen. David Vitter is actually popular in his home state.

Vitter leads Democratic challenger Charlie Melancon by a 46%-36% margin. Another potential Republican nominee, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, leads Melancon by 46%-33% -- implying that the GOP doesn't have anything to gain from a new candidate.

Vitter also has a 56% favorable rating, to only 34% unfavorable, compared to a 43%-39% rating for the lesser-known Melancon.

Late Update: Rasmussen originally posted wrong numbers on the favorable sand unfavorables. They have been corrected, while our original point still stands.

Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) called in a big Democratic gun today, with Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for him at the state AFL-CIO legislative conference.

"This is not only one of the most important states in the union, this is one of the most consequential governors serving in any state in the union, and it's critical he be re-elected," Biden said. "You are the key to getting this man elected, so go out and get those votes."

Corzine has been working to tie his own reputation to that of the Obama administration, which is much more popular in New Jersey than he himself is. At the very least, having Biden stump for him couldn't hurt.

House Republicans plan to introduce a resolution today calling on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who has been dogged by charges of financial misconduct and influence peddling, to resign from his powerful post at the head of the Ways and Means Committee.

Rep. John Carter (R-TX), who is leading the charge against Rangel and wrote the resolution -- which House Dems are vowing to block -- said in a statement:

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