TPM News

The Blue Dog Democrat PAC has seen its once mighty river of donations dry up nearly completely, according to a new report from the Center for Public Integrity. Last month, the PAC had just three donations from other PACs, for a total of $12,500. Between January and July, the group averaged more than $170,000 in PAC donations per month.

The three PAC donations in September came from consulting firm Ernst & Young, the Food Marketing Institute PAC and the NRA's political action fund.

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On a conference call with reporters this morning, the Chris Christie campaign announced a marathon schedule of events all around the state for the final week of the campaign -- and they'll be getting some special guests.

Campaign adviser Mike DuHaime said the campaign will be joined by Rudy Giuliani, Tim Pawlenty, and former New Jersey Governors Tom Kean and Christie Whitman. Specific days and events were not announced for these guest-stars at this time.

I asked whether the campaign is at a disadvantage to the Corzine campaign, which has been able to bring in popular national Democrats like President Obama, Vice President Biden and former President Bill Clinton. By contrast, a lot of national Republicans wouldn't be popular draws in New Jersey, such as Sarah Palin and other conservative figures.

"It's no greater disadvantage than it is to run in New Jersey to begin with," said DuHaime, due to the state having 700,000 more Democrats than Republican, and Corzine able to spend a lot of his own money on the race.

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and 75 other House Republicans have introduced a resolution "expressing gratitude and appreciation to the individuals and families who participated in the Taxpayer March on Washington on September 12, 2009" -- and claiming that the Tea Party march drew many, many times more protesters than it actually did.

The resolution -- which has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform -- declares that "the fundamental American principles of limited government and personal liberty are under direct assault" and that "when the current trends of government expansion and freedom retrenchment are reversed, it will be due in large part to the efforts of the hundreds of thousands who marched on Washington, DC, on September 12, 2009."

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If Chuck Todd's right about this, it could pour gasoline on the dying embers of a White House-Senate conflagration.



According to Todd, the White House is telling Reid *[see Late Update below], "You're the vote counter, but don't come crying to us when you need that last vote. That said, I've also been told, OK right now it's this 'opt-out,' the compromise could end up being the 'opt-in' and maybe this is what Reid was doing here--going with the 'opt-out' so the 'opt-in' was the compromise rather than the trigger being the compromise."

That's a lot of jargon, but to break it down, it sounds like White House officials are telling Todd two things.

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Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, has penned a new blog post at National Review, using a familiar slogan as a rallying cry for the right: "Yes, We Can."

That was, of course, President Obama's campaign slogan -- which was in turn borrowed from the United Farm Workers union, and its campaigns of the early 1970's with the Spanish slogan, "Sí se puede." But Hoffman is speaking here of a wave of conservative change.

Hoffman also promises that if the Republican Party does not nominate truly conservative candidates, they'll be seeing more third-party candidates like himself: "Our goal should not be a Republican majority. It should be a conservative majority. If the Republican party will not be conservative, then we are going to run against them . . . and we're going to win."

Confirming a theory first reported by TPMmuckraker last week, quotes from law enforcement officials in the Washington Post reveal that the country to which espionage suspect Stewart Nozette allegedly traveled with two computer thumb drives in January was India.

Contacted by TPMmuckraker last week, the spokesman for the Indian Embassy in Washington said the embassy had no comment on the Nozette case, though he was familiar with the matter. Nikhilesh Dhirar did not immediately respond to a request for comment today. No wrongdoing by India is alleged, and it's not known what was on those thumb drives Nozette allegedly brought to India, where he was working on a space project.

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When former President George W. Bush spoke at a motivational seminar in Fort Worth yesterday, his most memorable anecdote, according to listeners, was one about dog poop.

Bush told a crowd of about 11,000 in his most publicized event since leaving office that he had recently taken his dog, Barney, for a walk, plastic bag in hand.

It was then that he realized "Man, my life has changed!"

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In a new TV ad from Republican New Jersey gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine is attacked for not paying state taxes -- though the truth of the matter appears to be much less nefarious than the ad implies.

"Last year, millionaire Corzine paid nothing, zero in state income taxes," the announcer says. "That's outrageous."

As the Asbury Park Press points out in its fact-check of the ad, Corzine reported a $3.13 million loss last year on his federal income tax returns. In addition, he in fact owed the state $1,520, which was paid for through a tax credit carried over from the previous year.

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The new survey of the New Jersey gubernatorial by Public Policy Polling (D) finds Republican Chris Christie leading Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine -- with independent Chris Daggett possibly playing spoiler against Corzine.

The numbers: Christie 42%, Corzine 38%, and Daggett 13%, with a 3.9% margin of error. Two weeks ago, Christie was ahead in PPP's survey by 40%-39%-13%.

The internals of the poll suggest that Daggett may actually be siphoning more voters from Corzine right now than from Christie -- a big change from two weeks ago. In the latest poll, 42% of the present pool of Daggett-supporters list Corzine as their second choice, compared to 32% for Christie. By contrast, Daggett-backers in the last poll went 48%-34% for Christie on second choices. A big caveat is that the margins of error are very large in these sub-samples, at ±10.6% this week and ±11.4% two weeks ago, but it is an interesting data point.

From the pollster's analysis: "The Daggett voters seem to be pretty volatile so if they go back to the Corzine camp he'll have a good shot of pulling it out. The campaign that does the better job of turning out its voters will win."

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