TPM News

President Obama will go where he's needed on the last weekend of campaigning in 2010. Former TPM reporter and now CQ/Roll Call's Christina Bellantoni reports that Obama "is keeping his calendar for the final weekend of the election wide open so he can fly to a battleground state or two with little notice if a Democrat is in need."

Halloween weekend will be the culmination of years of preparation by the Republicans, who set out to run against Obama and his agenda right from the start. Throughout the campaign, Republicans have used Obama along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid as bogeymen -- the fearsome creatures of spending that lurk under every good conservative's bed. At the same time, the public has grown weary of the weak economy and has looked to its leaders to take the blame.

Both factors have forced many Democrats to keep Obama at arm's length this election season. Despite the closeness of the race in Senate race Kentucky for example, you're not likely to see Obama there on Oct. 31 (especially with Democratic nominee Jack Conway running ads like this.) But, as the White House told Christina, Obama has lifted the spirits of Democrats in other tough races this year and could help an embattled Democrat surge to a final victory.

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Sharron Angle's has a second TV ad out today, pushing the same theme as her previous spot did: The Republican Angle is going after the Democrat Harry Reid on the grounds that he's rich.

"Not everyone in Nevada is suffering from Harry Reid's failed economic policies," a woman says. "While you may be in the unemployment line, someone's more likely to be in a conga line. And while your family is just hanging on, someone's been hanging out with supermodels. And while you worry about making your next mortgage payment, guess who lives in this spectacular Washington Ritz Carlton. Yeah, thanks to Harry Reid, there's someone doing just fine."

This does seem to be a major piece of news -- that a high-ranking United States Senator from Nevada ends up meeting famous people.

This ad seems to be part of a trend of right-wing populism among Tea Party candidates -- for example, in the Delaware Senate race, Christine O'Donnell has also attacked her Dem opponent Chris Coons for being wealthy. Of course, the odd thing about right-wing populism is that the candidates promoting also tend to be advocates for upper-income tax cuts and the dismantling of the welfare state and consumer-protection laws.

The TPM Poll Average gives Angle a lead of 48.5%-47.4%.

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For the first time in nearly two months of polling, incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr's lead in the North Carolina Senate race is in the single-digits. Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marshall finds herself trailing by eight points in a newly released PPP poll, 48%-40%, with Libertarian Michael Beitler earning 3%.

Burr's lead over the last month has ranged from 13 points (in PPP's September 26 look at the race) to 20 points. The TPM Poll Average still finds Marshall with some major ground to make up -- she's at 35.0%, compared to Burr's 50.8%.

The margin of error for the latest survey is ±4.0 percentage points.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

Democrat Jerry Brown has a new ad in the California gubernatorial race, tying his Republican opponent Meg Whitman to the unpopular GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- by showing them separately repeating the same slogans.

Although he was previously elected to two terms (counting that 2003 recall) Schwarzenegger's approval rating now stands at only 30%-66.6% in the TPM Poll Average.

The ad shows clips of Schwarzenegger and Whitman alternatively repeating the same clichés, such as: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results," "I have built businesses," "met a payroll," "I don't owe anyone anything," and, "we do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem." And the kicker: "What's the worst thing that can happen?"

Unfortunately the Brown campaign couldn't find any matching video of Whitman saying the following line: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."

The TPM Poll Average gives Brown a lead of 47.6%-43.7%.

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, aiming to persuade the state's voters that while times certainly are tough, they would be worse with Sharron Angle -- and it employs an interesting metaphor for the angry voter.

The ad shows a woman training with boxing gloves, punching and kicking against a large punching bag. "You're angry, you're frustrated at Washington," the announcer says. "Think how much angrier you'll be if Sharron Angle has her way and Social Security and Medicare are phased out, and she keeps her promise to not fight for Nevada jobs.

"So work that anger out in the ring, because voting for Sharron Angle is only going to hurt yourself."

The woman then concludes, "I can't vote for Sharron Angle."

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Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady told TPMMuckraker on Tuesday that the state Republican Party does not have a prominent birther on the payroll, but confirmed that his organization is working with the Republican National Lawyers Association to train volunteers on election day as part of a "voter integrity" initiative.

Brady -- who previously posted a notice on the GOP website about the "voter integrity" program that was later scrubbed -- said that the program is not unusual.

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Sharron Angle has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, employing some populist class envy against Harry Reid: He's rich, while Nevada voters are suffering in the bad economy.

"Harry Reid versus -- you," the announcer says. "Harry Reid, living large in the D.C. Ritz Carlton. You, living in the state with the highest unemployment rate, worried about paying the mortgage. Harry Reid, making a million dollars from a sweetheart land deal. You, just trying to make ends meet, wondering how you're going to take care of your family. Harry Reid, pushing loopholes and ethics laws for his own family. You -- had enough?"

This ad is something of a follow-up from an exchange from last week's debate, when Angle accused Reid: "You came from Searchlight to the Senate with very little. Now you're one of the richest men in the U.S. Senate." As Reid answered back, this is not true -- he was a successful lawyer who made good investments (in real estate, to be exact), and he said that Angle's suggestion that he enriched himself as a Senator was "simply false." Be that as that may, it isn't stopping Angle from pushing the theme in her ads.

The TPM Poll Average gives Angle a lead of 48.5%-47.4%.

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Amazingly enough, Christine O'Donnell has an ad in the Delaware Senate race that isn't about addressing her apparent history of witchcraft and poor personal finances. Instead, it attacks her Dem opponent, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, on the purely local issue of taxes.

The ad features an extreme close-up on Wilmington City Councilman Michael Brown, who is blasting Coons's record on taxes. "He was left with a $200 million surplus when he took office. But yet still he raised the sewer tax 64%," says Brown. "When he was campaigning he promised not to raise taxes. Shame on you, Chris. Shame on you, Chris."

The Associated Press fact-checks the claim made in some O'Donnell ads, such as the on-screen text here, that Coons brought "New Castle County to the brink of bankruptcy." It's bunk: "Coons has balanced the budget each year, as required by state law, through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. The county maintains a top-notch credit rating, showing that analysts and investors have high confidence in its fiscal stability."

The TPM Poll Average gives Coons a lead of 55.2%-37.2%. Is the shame of the sewer tax enough to close that kind of gap?

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The man behind a new Spanish-language ad, encouraging Nevada Latinos not to vote is a veteran of Republican politics and now an advocate for what most would consider conservative, business-friendly immigration policy.

In an interview with TPM, Robert de Posada, founder of Latinos for Reform, said he's become equally disgruntled with both parties. His current goal, though, is to punish Democrats for failing to deliver on a promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform. And his CV includes a long list of affiliations with conservative immigration reform groups.

In 1994, according to de Posada, he helped create the Hispanic Business Roundtable, which later became the Latino Coalition, where he was president until 2007. He served as co-director with Dick Armey on Americans for Border and Economic Security, on George W. Bush's Social Security Commission, and as director of Hispanic affairs at the Republican National Committee until becoming disgruntled with the GOP and settling into conservative advocacy.

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A new poll from Rasmussen -- not usually the first pollster Democrats look to for good news -- shows that Democrat Jack Conway has Republican Rand Paul on the run in the Kentucky Senate race. The new poll shows Paul leading by just five, a significant drop from the last Rasmussen poll which showed Paul up by 11.

In the new numbers, Paul is ahead 47-42. The poll of likely voters was taken yesterday using Rasmussen's robo-poll system, meaning the survey came as controversy over Conway's latest tactics reached a fever pitch. The last Rasmussen poll was taken Sept. 29, before Conway's attacks on Paul's college career and in the midst of the war over Paul's position on Medicare. That poll showed Paul ahead 49-38.

If the Rasmussen poll is any judge, Conway's plan of attack appears to be working. As the pollster notes in its analysis, the new poll is Conway's "best showing since June."

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