TPM News

Few of the nation's most influential religious organizations have offered support for the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque." A survey of several groups by TPM finds that they either oppose the plan or take no position on the issue.

Most vociferously opposed is the Southern Baptist Convention.

"I take a back seat to no one when it comes to religious freedom and religious belief and the right to express that belief, even beliefs that I find abhorrent," said Richard Land, president of SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, on his weekly radio program. "But what I don't do is I don't say that religious freedom means that you have the right to build a place of worship anywhere that you want to build them."

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said that he spoke to Gov. David Paterson today, and that the governor is planning a meeting for "later this week" with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Rauf is the developer behind the Cordoba House Muslim community center, and according to King, he and Paterson will discuss relocating the controversial building to an "alternate location."

Paterson has previously offered to help the developer acquire state land if he considered relocating farther away from Ground Zero, but was rejected.

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The Target corporation is continuing to face political heat over its donation to a business group supporting Republican Tom Emmer in the Minnesota gubernatorial race, with MoveOn now putting out a new TV ad calling for a boycott.

"Target and other corporations are trying buy our elections," the announcer says. "But if we all work together, we can stop them. Boycott Target. Our democracy is not for sale."

As we've documented, Target's involvement with the business group MN Forward, to which they donated $150,000, triggered a political backlash in this liberal state due to Emmer's right-wing social positions. The company said it was supporting the group because of economic issues, but the CEO has since apologized.

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Richard Hanna, the Republican congressional candidate in NY-24, was the rare Republican who supported the proposed Cordoba House plans. That is, until his Democratic opponent, incumbent Rep. Michael Arcuri, announced his own opposition to the "Ground Zero mosque."

Now, Hanna says that "building a mosque near Ground Zero is insensitive."

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The Denver Post reports that Colorado Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes is expected to announce his running mate today, the latest sign that the Tea Party-backed candidate plans to stay in the race, despite unfavorable polling and a chilly relationship with the party establishment.

He's also scored the endorsements of former Sens. Hank Brown and Wayne Allard, which he welcomed despite their ties to the party establishment.

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A new Rasmussen poll released today has Republican Rob Portman leading Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher 48%-39% in Ohio's Senate race.

This is the largest lead held by the Republican nominee over the last few months of polling. Notably, the latest Rasmussen survey includes "leaners" -- or respondents who do not initially indicate a preference for either candidate, but when pressed in a follow-up, declare that they are leaning towards a particular nominee. The survey showed a slightly narrower eight-point margin for respondents' initial preferences, with Portman up 45%-37%. An August 2 Rasmussen poll gave the Republican a four-point lead, 44%-40%, but that poll did not press those surveyed beyond their initial responses.

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News Corporation, the Rupert Murdoch media empire that serves as the parent corporation of Fox News and other properties, is now throwing its monetary weight around in politics with a big contribution to the Republican Governors Association.

As Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, News Corporation donated $1 million to the RGA, which is able to take in unlimited corporate contributions.

This is, of course, in addition to the massive in-kind contributions that the company makes to the GOP on a daily basis.

(Via the Huffington Post.)

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Republican Senate hopeful former Rep. Pat Toomey leads Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak in a new survey of Pennsylvania voters by Public Policy Polling (D).

Toomey leads Sestak 45-36. The survey of 585 likely voters has a ±4.1% margin of error. The poll shows a big swing from the last time PPP surveyed the field and on June 21 released a poll which found voters evenly split with Sestak and Toomey at 41% each.

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