TPM News

Republican Scott DesJarlais -- challenging Rep. Lincoln Davis (D) in Tennessee's 4th district -- was accused by his ex-wife in a divorce proceeding a decade ago of harassment, intimidation and physical abuse, Roll Call reported Thursday.

Back in November 2000, DesJarlais' wife sought to obtain sole possession of the couple's home and said she was forced to leave after her husband became violent. DesJarlais was accused of "dry firing a gun outside the Plaintiff's locked bedroom door, admission of suicidal ideation, holding a gun in his mouth for three hours, an incident of physical intimidation at the hospital; and previous threatening behavior ... i.e. shoving, tripping, pushing down, etc."

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House Minority Leader John Boehner is demanding an up-or-down vote on a complete extension of all the Bush tax cuts -- but he won't say what Republicans will do if Democrats buck him and try to let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire.

"The Speaker should pledge to the American people...that there will be an honest, up-or-down vote on stopping all of the coming tax hikes," Boehner told reporters today. "Anything less than that is unacceptable."

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Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), who left the Republican Party to run for Senate as an independent, is now running into one of many complications of his new independent status. As the St. Petersburg Times reports, Crist will be listed almost at the very bottom of the ballot, in the ninth position out of ten.

Under state law, Republican Marco Rubio will be listed first as the candidate of the party currently holding the governor's mansion, followed by Democrat Kendrick Meek, then various minor parties candidates, and then independents in the order in which they filed their papers. As the paper reports, Crist already seems to be getting tripped up by this development -- even he's confused about where he'll be listed.

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Well, that didn't take long. After being pounded for a full day by some of the conservative movement's biggest names, a bruised and battered Karl Rove took to the Fox News airwaves this morning to get on board the Christine O'Donnell train.

Rove, you'll recall, refused to buy the tea party hype about Delaware's new Republican Senate nominee, telling Sean Hannity on the night O'Donnell won that the "nutty" things O'Donnell says meant that the GOP had no shot at winning a Senate majority with her representing the party in Delaware (a race the GOP was expected to win with establishment choice Mike Castle as the nominee.)

Since he made that comment, commentators from Michelle Malkin to Sarah Palin to Rush Limbaugh have called Rove everything from incompetent to traitorous. The end result? Rove has come to embody the "establishment" in discussions about O'Donnell. And as anyone knows, this year, the "establishment" label on a Republican resume is about as popular as a meat dress at a PETA meeting.

So perhaps it's no surprise that Rove buckled under the pressure of his right-wing critics, rushing onto Fox this morning to change the narrative. How can you call me establishment? he asked. I supported Sharron Angle for goodness' sake! And as to that whole "the GOP Senate majority is doomed" thing, Rove is now claiming that not only does he think O'Donnell can win, he actually orchestrated sending NRSC money to her campaign.

As Rove might have said in a moment of honesty, it's all kind of nutty.

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In an attempt to quell the civil war that has erupted in the Republican party after Christine O'Donnell's win in Delaware on Tuesday, RNC head Michael Steele is advising (pleading?) with the party to calm down.

I don't know if she can win until we try. How can you claim defeat before you attempt victory. This makes no sense, so stop it! Stop it! Let's get behind our nominees and win the election.

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The new SurveyUSA poll of the Minnesota gubernatorial race shows a tight contest between Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton and Republican state Rep. Tom Emmer, plus some strong support for Independence Party candidate Tom Horner.

The numbers: Dayton 38%, Emmer 36%, and Horner 18%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.9% margin of error. In the previous poll from early August, taken shortly before Dayton's narrow win in the Democratic primary -- and taken in the wake of press coverage of Emmer's very entertaining gaffes -- Dayton led Emmer and Horner by 45%-36%-10%.

The TPM Poll AVerage gives Dayton 38.9%, Emmer 35.0%, and Horner 14.3%.

The new Rasmussen poll of the Delaware Senate race, conducted yesterday in the aftermath of conservative activist Christine O'Donnell's upset win in the Republican primary, shows Democratic New Castle County Executive Chris Coons with a double-digit lead.

The numbers: Coons 53%, O'Donnell 42%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen survey from two weeks ago, Coons led O'Donnell by 46%-36% -- and Rep. Mike Castle, the moderate Republican who O'Donnell defeated on Tuesday, led Coons by 49%-37%. The TPM Poll Average gives Coons a lead of 52.2%-38.8%.

From the pollster's analysis: "The Delaware race is now viewed as Solid Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings. This marks a remarkable turnaround in a race that at the beginning of the month was rated Solid Republican and was on track to be a GOP pickup. At that time, Congressman Mike Castle led Coons as he had been leading all year."

"Everybody in the world knows you don't believe anything on Wikipedia," Rush Limbaugh told his listeners last year. So, uh, it must be embarrassing for him that he just used Wikipedia as a source--and got his facts wrong.

On Tuesday, Limbaugh told his listeners about Judge Robert Vinson, of the Federal District Court in Pensacola, Florida, is presiding over a legal challenged to the country's new health-care reform law. Here's a transcript, quoting liberally from Vinson's Wikipedia article:

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Vice President Joe Biden was on Rachel Maddow's show last night, and talked a lot about the Republicans' attempt to "delegitimize" President Obama because that's what you do "when you can't compete on ideas." He added that there's a "desperation on the Republican side to pander to the lowest common denominator."

"The truth is," Biden said, "that it's real tough for the Republican Party. It's really kind of hung on a shingle. You know, 'no moderates need apply.' It sort of spawns a tone in politics that is not helpful to getting things done."

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A Tennessee congressional hopeful is bringing new theatrics to the trend of Democrats running away from the leadership of their own party.

In a letter delivered to Nancy Pelosi this morning, candidate Brett Carter will call on the House Speaker to pledge not to seek the Speakership next year, should Democrats retain the House.

"I am writing to request that you not seek the Speaker's position during your next term and make your intention not to seek this leadership position public," the letter reads.

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