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Nevada Democrats on Wednesday got creative: they delivered $10,000 in poker chips to Mitt Romney’s Las Vegas office. Romney over the weekend offered Rick Perry a $10,000 bet during a Republican debate.

“While $10,000 may not be much to Mitt Romney, we wanted to make sure he could easily place a bet the size of two months salary for the average Nevada household the next time he was in town,” Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Zach Hudson said in the release. “From calling middle class tax cuts ‘little band aids’ to his $10,000 bet, Mitt Romney can’t go one day without demonstrating how out of touch he is with Nevada’s working families. His off-hand remark made it very clear there is a clear contrast in this election between President Obama’s commitment to creating middle-class jobs and Romney’s elitist Wall Street values."

The long journey from Republican stronghold to swing state ended for Virginia in 2008, when it went for President Obama by over six points. But in 2009, with the President's approval rating down and the economy stuck in first gear, the state elected a Republican Governor in Bob McDonnell.

Yet a new poll from Public Policy Polling (D) shows that the Presidential race is entirely a different matter: it's being determined by a choice between President Obama -- who VA voters are split on -- and two major GOP candidates that voters in state currently find unappealing.

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Veteran GOP pollster David Winston has joined Newt Gingrich’s campaign as a senior strategist, Gingrich’s campaign announced on Wednesday.

“David has been a friend and advisor to me for many years. He was a valuable aide when we balanced the budget, reformed welfare, and cut taxes during my time as Speaker, leading to the creation of 11 million new jobs,” Gingrich said in the release. “I am thrilled to have him on my campaign team in an official capacity.”

Winston has served as an advisor to Congressional Republicans for the past 10 years.

If you want Mike Huckabee, the poster-boy of the evangelical community who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, to approve of your candidacy, then you have to prove your anti-abortion bona fides. Of course, touting an extreme anti-abortion position in Iowa could come back to haunt the eventual nominee in the general election.

Wednesday night, Huckabee will host four Republican candidates at the screening of his new anti-abortion film, Gift of Life, a documentary-style film produced with Citizens United. Newt Gingrich will attend alongside Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry. Though the former Arkansas governor-turned Fox News personality says he won't be making an endorsement soon, his praise will go a long way in Iowa, where the field is still wide open and the caucuses only 20 days away.

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CNN is reporting that Democrats are dropping the millionaire surtax proposal from their payroll tax cut bill. TPM has not independently confirmed the news.

A provision in this summer's debt limit bill required both the House and Senate to vote on a version -- any version -- of a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to maintain a balanced budget.

Today was the day in the Senate, and as it turns out two balanced budget amendments went down in flames. One, crafted by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), was designed to give Dems who wanted to vote for some kind of BBA a vehicle to support. It would have explicitly protected Social Security from being raided to balance the budget, and a ban on cutting taxes for millionaires unless there's a budget surplus. It failed 21-79 -- far short of the two-thirds supermajority required to pass a constitutional amendment.

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Despite a tough editorial board meeting with Mitt Romney recently, the editors at the Washington Examiner have chosen Romney as their pick for GOP nominee.

Why? He’s more electable than Newt Gingrich.



The Washington Examiner believes Romney can defeat Obama, but Gingrich cannot. And Romney the businessman is far better suited to the nation’s highest office — by temperament, experience, and cast of mind — than Gingrich the consummate Washington insider. By fits and starts over the years, Romney has become the reliable conservative that America so badly needs at this crucial moment in her history.



Read the rest here.

The Drug Enforcement Administration needs to keep their undercover aerial operations targeting narcotics trafficking along the Mexican border and in foreign countries a bit more hush-hush, according to a new report from the Justice Department's inspector general.

As of March, DOJ investigators searching the FAA aircraft registration database were able to find records of 25 domestically-based DEA aircraft that "should have been registered covertly to fictitious or cover organizations but that were not." As of Sept. 7, 13 DEA aircraft that should have been registered covertly still weren't (TPM found five planes registered still registered to the DEA in a search of the FAA's database on Wednesday).

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On Sean Hannity’s radio program just now the host asked Romney about Iowa. Romney’s response once again looked towards a long primary. He said “over time we’ve come to see the early states as the be-all-and-end-all… but this is a race to get 1,150 or so delegates.” He noted that the Hillary/ Obama race proved just how long this could go on for, especially under a proportional delegate system that the Republicans have now gone some way towards adopting.

He referred to recent polls from Iowa “that show Speaker Gingrich’s numbers have come down significantly.”

“I’d love to do well in iowa; i’d love to win iowa,” he concluded. “But I’m in this for however long it takes to get the nomination.”

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