TPM News

David Weprin's campaign is alleging dirty tricks in NY-9, accusing supporters of Republican Bob Turner of trying to jam communications by organizing mass phone calls to their campaign headquarters. But they've been slow to respond to follow up requests and a source inside the campaign downplayed the severity of the incident to TPM.

A spokeswoman for the Weprin campaign, Liz Kerr, initially told TPM that they received a "huge flood of calls" this morning that they traced to a 3 AM text message urging people to phone the campaign. It wasn't immediately clear from official campaign statements what the messages said, who was calling, and how debilitating the supposed "phone jamming" was based on the Weprin campaign's statements. Repeated requests for even basic follow up information, like whether law enforcement is involved and what callers were telling volunteers, have gone unanswered more than an hour after the initial phone jamming complaint.

One Weprin source told TPM that the calls were "very annoying," but not debilitating as they have other phone lines. According to the source, callers were asking the same question, "Why doesn't Weprin support Israel?" -- a prominent line of attack against the campaign.

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Newt Gingrich, whose campaign has suffered from problems involving fundraising, personnel, policy gaffes and the candidate's moral credibility, is now about to reach a major milestone: the opening of his first actual campaign office in Iowa.

The Des Moines Register reports that Gingrich will open the office in mid-October, somewhere in the Des Moines area.

"Iowa has always been the campaign's top priority," said Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond. "We're moving forward with our campaign plan. I look at this as a sign of that we're gearing up, that we will have an organization that is ready to turn people out to caucus and support Newt."

Gingrich has had serious problems in Iowa, following the en masse resignation of many top aides in June, which included his whole paid Iowa staff at the time. In the Ames Iowa straw poll a month ago, Gingrich took 8th place with just over 2% of the vote.

A handful of House pages-turned-congressmen have introduced a bill to reinstate the recently defunct House page program, Roll Call reports.

Rep. Dan Boren, who introduced the bill, said, “I am committed to restoring the tradition of young people serving in the House of Representatives.”

Even as Republicans signaled their opposition to "stimulus"-like measures in the White House's $447 billion jobs package Tuesday, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are complaining that the bill doesn't go nearly far enough.

In a Tuesday press conference, caucus leaders unveiled a framework for job creation that included support for more infrastructure investment than President Obama's own plan includes. As part of the package, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) proposed a $227 billion emergency jobs bill that would aim to create 2.2 million jobs over the next two years. Rep. John Conyers proposed new discussions on how to implement the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, a wildly optimistic piece of legislation more than 33 years old that calls for wiping out all unemployment in the United States.

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Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval ® has endorsed Rick Perry for president, the Washington Post reports.

NASA said Monday that it has a better idea of when a 6-ton decommissioned satellite it has been tracking will crash to earth.

"Re-entry is expected during the last week of September," NASA said in an update posted on its website for the 20-year-old Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), which has been orbiting the Earth in a defunct state since 2005.

Previously, NASA had gauged the expected date to "late September or early October."

NASA also noted that the current orbit of the UARS had changed to 145 miles by 165 miles from its Sept. 8 update of 152 miles by 171 miles, showing that the satellite is tightening its loop around the Earth and getting ever closer to its fiery re-entry.

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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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