TPM News

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro reportedly received threats in the week before the fire on its property, according to a local TV station, including one that was recorded on voicemail.

News Channel 5 reports that someone called the Islamic center a few days before the fire and left a message saying, in part, "You need to get out of the country now."

A fire was discovered early Saturday morning at the site of the proposed Islamic center and mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn. An accelerant had been dumped over four pieces of construction equipment, and one was set on fire.

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Former Bush administration official Rob Portman's (R) lead in the race to replace retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) has shrunk to six points, according to a new poll from Rasmussen out today.

Portman leads Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) 47-41 in the new survey of 750 likely voters, conducted Aug. 29. The margin of error is 4%. In the last Rasmussen poll of the race, conducted Aug. 16, Portman led 48-39.

Both polls include results from "leaners," respondents who first say they are undecided about the race and are then pressed by the pollster to make a decision about which candidate they're more likely to support in the end. "Early in any campaign, the numbers without leaners are generally more significant," Rasmussen writes. "Later in a campaign, the numbers with leaners matter more."

With campaign season essentially fully underway, the results of the Rasmussen poll suggests that Fisher has at least a fighting chance in the contest. Since his convincing win in the bitter Democratic primary May 4, Fisher's campaign has been plagued by bad press, including reports of numerous staff shakeups and low fundraising totals.

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The new University of Minnesota poll shows a tied race for governor of Minnesota, between Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton and Republican state Rep. Tom Emmer.

Dayton and Emmer each get 34% support, plus 13% for Independent Party nominee Tom Horner, a moderate ex-Republican. The survey of likely voters has a ±5.3% margin of error. In the last University of Minnesota poll from mid-May, Dayton led Emmer by 35%-31%, with 9% for Horner. The TPM Poll Average puts Dayton ahead of Emmer and Horner by a split of 40.4%-33.9%-10.9%.

From the pollster's analysis: "Both Dayton and Emmer are suffering from voter backlashes. Likely voters who are dissatisfied with the national direction, which is currently in the hands of Obama and congressional Democrats are breaking by a 44% to 23% margin for Emmer rather than Dayton. By contrast, voters worried that Minnesota is heading off on the wrong track are breaking for Dayton 39% to 30% presumably on the grounds that Governor Pawlenty is the State's chief executive and responsible for its well-being."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has a new TV ad out, attacking Republican nominee Sharron Angle for opposing the extension of unemployment benefits. And this new ad puts a new twist on the Reid campaign theme of using Angle's words against her -- featuring a woman who was on unemployment for 12 months, reacting to Angle's various comments.

The ad shows Angle saying, "We really have spoiled our citizenry," and also, "they want to be dependent on the government."

"I'm not spoiled, and I don't want to be dependent on anybody," the woman in the ad says. "If Sharron Angle doesn't get that, she should be out of work -- not people like me."

The TPM Poll Average puts Reid ahead by a margin of 46.6%-43.7%.

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The Michigan Court of Appeals denied a bid by the Michigan Tea Party to get on the November ballot yesterday, citing "the plaintiff's failure to strictly comply with the requirements" of state election law, according to The Detroit News.

Last week, a state elections panel split on whether the Tea Party should appear on the ballot, following concerns that the former political director of the Oakland County Democrats committed fraud when he filed papers for Tea Party candidates who weren't really tea partiers at all.

The Michigan Tea Party had sought to get dozens of names on the ballot, which many tea partiers and Republicans believed was actually an effort by Democrats to use the Tea Party to split the Republican vote in the state.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is saying that a lot -- a lot -- of people attended Glenn Beck's rally in Washington over the weekend.

Appearing on Laura Ingraham's radio show yesterday, Bachmann said: "The crowds were overwhelming, and if you saw the aerials on the Drudge Report this weekend, there was an aerial photo. Unofficially, off the record, we talked to one of the guys from the National Park Police who told us he thought it was 1.6 million. There had to be over a million people there. People were packed in from the Washington Monument all the way to the Lincoln Memorial. And for anyone who's ever been there, that's a huge area."

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Focus on the Family has a message for gay rights activists: stay off the playground.

Candi Cushman, an education analyst for the James Dobson-founded group, told The Denver Post this weekend that gay rights advocates have inserted their agenda into anti-bullying efforts, at the expense of Christian values.

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Breaking his TV silence more than three months after a wildly successful primary advertising blitz, Democrat Senate candidate Joe Sestak is up with his campaign's first commercial of the general election cycle.

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On April 28, Jarod Mcintosh went to work on the nuclear submarine the USS Wyoming -- where he served as a cook -- with one extra disallowed piece of equipment in tow: his G-1 phone from T-Mobile. By the end of the day, the presence of his phone set into motion of a chain of events that will result in Mcintosh's general discharge from the U.S. Navy under Defense Secretary Gates' much-vaunted new rules for Don't Ask Don't Tell enforcement. Those rules, of course, were supposed to protect service members from being outed by third parties and in the course of other investigations -- but, in Mcintosh's case, they didn't work that way.

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