TPM News

On CNN last night, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) acknowledged that his use of the nickname "Taliban Dan" to describe his Republican opponent Daniel Webster may have gone too far. But he defended the thrust of the ad, which depicts Webster as a Christian extremist.

"I know you disagree with your opponent, and -- and certainly you disagree with his views," said host Anderson Cooper. "But calling him Taliban Dan, I mean, it's equivalent to somebody -- calling somebody a Nazi or, you know, a Maoist. I mean, why go down that road?"

"Well, in a way, you're right," Grayson admitted. "We let that ad run and die a natural death. Now we're running an entirely different ad on the same point, because people need to know Dan Webster's record."

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The new Fairleigh Dickinson poll of the Delaware Senate race provides yet another data point that Democratic nominee Chris Coons is favored to win over surprise Republican nominee Republican Christine O'Donnell -- and that the GOP would have picked up this seat for sure if their primary had nominated Rep. Mike Castle.

The numbers: Coons 53%, O'Donnell 36%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.5% margin of error. There is no prior Fairleigh Dickinson poll for direct comparison.

At the same time, the poll also shows that Mike Castle -- the moderate GOP Congressman who was the original choice of the party establishment for the nomination, before the Tea Party-backed O'Donnell won the primary -- would lead Coons by 50%-36% if he were the Republican nominee.

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What does an American government "taken back" by the tricorn hat-wearing right look like? According to tea party prophet Dick Armey, chair of FreedomWorks, the federal goverment the tea party is hoping to create would have a highway system, an NIH and CDC (probably), a big-ol' (but also streamlined) Department of Defense -- but no money for higher education, the arts, national service programs or public broadcasting.

In an interview with the hosts of CNN's Crossfire remix Parker Spitzer last night, Armey laid out his vision for a tea-stained federal budget.

"How about we cut out a lot of nonsense like National Endowment for the Humanities and Arts? How about getting rid of Americorps, which is just obnoxious?" Armey said. "How about you get rid of the Corporation for [Public] Broadcasting?"

Here's a rundown of other federal programs (as listed by show co-host and disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer) and Armey's prediction of what would happen to them under a tea party regime.

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The Chamber of Commerce has a whole bunch of new ads in key Congressional races, targeting big-name Dems.

One ad goes after freshman Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who is known for his vitriolic attacks against Republicans. "Tired of big-mouth politicians ignoring our big problems? Alan Grayson is the most extreme," the announcer says, followed by past video of Grayson famously declaring on the House floor that the Republican health care plan was for sick people to "die quickly," and also the occasion when he crashed a local Republican meeting.

"But when it comes to Nancy Pelosi, big barker Grayson turns into a lapdog."

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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) -- the GOP's top budget guy, and author of the "Roadmap for America's Future" that suggests Congress partially privatize Social Security and turn Medicare into a voucher system -- insists that his pet plan is not representative of the GOP's official position on the fiscal future of the country. But he's going to do all he can to make sure the incoming class of Republican House members are well versed in its conservative dogma.

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California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) has called for a court-appointed monitor to have "complete and unfettered access to all matters relating to the City" of Bell, following a salary inflation scandal that resulted in the arrest of eight city officials last month.

In a September 30 letter, Brown asked that the monitor investigate "fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, misconduct, mismanagement, or any irregularity" in the city government, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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A new University of Delaware poll gives Democratic nominee Chris Coons a huge lead over the colorful Republican Christine O'Donnell in this state's Senate race.

The numbers, including leaners: Coons 61%, O'Donnell 37%. Even without leaners, Coons leads by 49%-30%. There is no previous University of Delaware poll of this race.

The TPM Poll Average gives Coons a lead of 60.2%-38.7%.

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Opponents of trying terrorism suspects in a federal court in New York City openly anticipated a disaster last November after Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Sept. 11 so-called mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terrorism suspects would be tried in the Big Apple. The civilian court system just wasn't capable of handling these type of issues, they said. The terrorists could get off scot-free, they added, on some technicality and be roaming the streets in no time.

But this week, admitted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad -- whose case was handled entirely in the domestic courts despite calls for him to be tried in a military tribunal -- was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. And, today, another accused terrorist, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, faces the start of his trial in New York City with virtually no fanfare.

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Louisiana officials want to keep building sand berms, man-made islands off the coast, to protect wetlands from the "million of barrels of oil [still] in the Gulf," even though BP's leaking well has been sealed.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Louisiana officials on Monday asked the Army Corps of Engineers for an emergency permit to construct berms along 40 miles of coastline.

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Last night, when Jon Stewart heard about America's apology to Guatemala for something that happened over 60 years ago, he was at first relieved: "I'm so glad it wasn't the atomic bomb thing."

But he was a little less relieved when he heard that the apology was for intentionally and secretly infecting people with STDs. In a segment called "syph happens," Stewart said: "By the way Guatemalan syphilis experi-mint -- worst Ben and Jerry's flavor ever."

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