TPM News

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) -- chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- told CNN in an interview broadcast this morning that the U.S. should wait until the Afghan election is resolved before deciding whether to send more troops.

"It would be entirely irresponsible for the President of the United States to commit more troops to this country when we don't even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we're working with."

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On Meet the Press, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) slammed Wall Street firms that plan to hand out record pay packages this year -- even after taking billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bailouts.

"Obviously when you see these bonuses being paid out it's a source of outrage in the country, and it should be," Dodd said. "What are these people thinking about at these companies?"

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David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama, said on ABC's This Week today that Fox News is "not really a news station."

"It's really not news," Axelrod said. "It's pushing a point of view."

This follows on the heels of White House Communications Director Anita Dunn's comments last week that Fox News is "a wing of the Republican party."

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White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel appeared on CNN's State of the Union this morning, and tried to lay at least a couple of the country's current problems at the feet of the Bush administration.

On the record $1.4 trillion federal budget deficit, Emanuel chastised Republicans for abandoning the pay-as-you-go "discipline of the 90s" while passing three tax cuts and a massive prescription drug bill. "That led to $5 trillion of red ink run up -- the biggest red ink run up in the shortest period of time in American history," Emanuel said. "Literally over half the nation's debt has accumulated in the last eight years."

Emanuel also seemed to criticize the Bush administration for its handling of the war in Afghanistan, saying that many of the questions of strategy and policy that President Obama is now asking are being asked for the first time.

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Obama Blasts Insurance Industry's 'Phony Studies' In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama denounced the insurance industry for producing its own commissioned studies against health care reform:

"It's smoke and mirrors. It's bogus. And it's all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, 'Take one of these, and call us in a decade.' Well, not this time," said Obama. "The fact is, the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits, bonuses, and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy - that often actually go toward figuring out how to avoid covering people."

GOP Address: American Public 'Isn't Buying' Dem Policies In this weekend's Republican address, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) attacked the Democrats on the issues of jobs, health care and the budget:

"There are three big myths hurtling around Washington these days: no jobs equals an economic recovery, government-run health care will make it more affordable, and deficits don't matter," said Brady. "The American public - to their credit - isn't buying any of these."

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The three candidates for Governor of New Jersey -- Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie, and independent Chris Daggett -- met for a debate tonight, with a lot of substantive discussion on the issues facing the state. In a race marked by bitter personal attacks, this debate for the most part featured arguments about the issues themselves.

An interesting pattern emerged that when candidates fought each other, in almost all cases it was between Christie and another one of the participants. While Corzine and Daggett stated different positions on various issues, for the most part they didn't take each other on directly. The real target of their attacks was Christie.

The most memorable exchange came when Daggett said to Christie: "I gotta buy you a calculator, Mr. Christie, because your numbers don't add up. They never add up. You have no plan, no plan at all." Daggett then said that he himself has a good plan on taxes and the budget, and he challenges anyone to come up with a better one that has real substance.

When it came time for Christie's turn, he shot back: "I'm more than happy to take Mr. Daggett's calculator. I'd like to give you a dictionary, because only you could take a $4 billion tax increase and call it a tax cut."

When Corzine's turn came again, he chimed in. "Let me agree with Mr. Daggett -- Mr. Christie doesn't seem to get the arithmetic right," said Corzine, citing as one example how Christie said people are leaving the state, when in fact the population is growing. "It's just misleading, talking down the state is not a great idea. In fact, we ought to have a positive view."

Some more highlights, after the jump.

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Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds (D) just announced President Obama will campaign with him.

It's no surprise Obama would cross the Potomac for Deeds on the eve of such a critical election. The rally will be Tuesday, Oct. 27, one week before the election.

The White House has said Obama strongly supports Deeds and will do all he can to help him defeat Republican candidate Bob McDonnell. Obama activated his grassroots supporters from his Organizing for America campaign list earlier this week, asking them to volunteer this weekend.

Obama was last in Virginia for Deeds Aug. 7.

Deeds is behind in the polls and some Democrats are worried.

In his interview with TPMDC this afternoon, Terry McAuliffe pushed back on the national media's coverage of him in recent weeks, and media reports that Creigh Deeds is limping toward the finish line in the Virginia Governor's race.

In recent days, several articles have suggested McAuliffe and his supporters have strong opinions about how Deeds has run the race against Bob McDonnell (R). But McAuliffe rejected the idea that it was time to count Deeds out.

"I think a lot of journalists are going to look foolish when Creigh Deeds wins this election," he said.

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I covered the last two major races in Virginia, where Democrats were down and out until the last minute and then surged to win close victories. Given the gains Barack Obama made registering new voters and his wide margin last fall, I had been doubtful that all the hand-wringing over the bad polls for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds was warranted.

But after several recent chats with my sources there and speaking tonight with a well-informed and loyal Democratic fundraiser, I am starting to understand why some in the party are worried about the upcoming election.

This Northern Virginia Democrat has helped raise thousands of dollars for the Deeds campaign and has been personally involved in several races.

"It's almost like the Virginia version of the McCain campaign - an ugly primary and then a mismatch of people thrown into one ship," the source said.

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