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The three candidates vying for Florida's open Senate seat met in their first primetime debate last night. According to reports from the event, confirmed frontrunner and Republican nominee Marco Rubio was the target, with Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek and independent candidate Charlie Crist trying to curb Rubio's surging poll momentum.

Their preferred method? Push Rubio as far to the right as they could, thus leaving him out in the cold among the Sunshine State's swingy moderate electorate.

"You want to take us back to Dick Cheney days," Meek sniped at Rubio, according to the Washington Post.

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Yesterday a federal judge decided to exclude testimony from a witness in the trial of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee on the grounds that investigators only learned about the witness only after the suspected terrorist underwent coercive interrogation in a secret CIA prison.

Now Liz Cheney has blamed the Obama administration for the decision to try Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani in civilian court in the first place -- even though it was a Bush administration decision to hold him in a secret prison which lead to the ruling yesterday.

"The Obama Administration has dedicated itself to providing al Qaeda terrorists the kind of due process rights normally reserved for American citizens," Cheney said in a statement sent to TPMMuckraker.

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"With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt."

So reads the House Republicans' "Pledge to America" -- a supposedly deficit-reducing plan that calls for trillions of dollars' worth of specific tax cuts, but only $100 billion of non-specific spending cuts to offset that cost.

Still, $100 billion pays for a lot of things. Bloomberg took a close look at just what would take a hit under the Republican plan -- adding specificity where the Republicans offered none. Here are the top five issues that would suffer under the Pledge to America.

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Last night, Jon Stewart announced the location of his Rally To Restore Sanity on October 30, in Washington, D.C. "It's not the Lincoln memorial, where the historic Martin Luther King spoke, or the hysteric Glenn Beck spoke," he said. It is at the east end of the National Mall, between 3rd Street and 7th Street, known as East Seaton Park and Henry Park. "As far as we know," Stewart continued, "no huge iconic event has ever taken place there.

"And," he added, "it's far enough away from Ground Zero, 206 miles, for us to have Aasif [Mandvi] at the event. As long as he stays on the southernmost part of the stage."

Stewart also said that all donations in support of the rally should be made to the Trust For The National Mall.

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Jon Stewart talked about Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell's new ad last night, in which she says: "I am not a witch. I'm you."

"I know this game," Jon said. "I am not a centaur." He added: "You're me? Because I don't recall the last time I had to deny I was a witch."

He continued that O'Donnell is "about 16 points down in the polls, probably because she exhibits the type of judgment that has her denying she is a witch while standing in front of what appears to be steam from a bubbling cauldron."

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Oh, this is rich. As the Politico reports, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's advertising people sought out just the right kind of actors for a recent ad in the West Virginia Senate race -- the "hicky" kind.

(Late Update: The NRSC reportedly plans to pull the ad -- and are vigorously disavowing the casting call. "No one at the NRSC, or associated with the NRSC, had anything to do with the language used in this casting call," said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh. "We do not support it, and suffice to say, we would encourage our contractors to never work with this outside agency again.")

The ad featured three blue-collar guys at a diner, talking about how the only way to stop President Obama was to vote against Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin in the race for Senate. It appears that the ad was shot in Philadelphia, not in West Virginia, and sought out that key "hicky" actor type, in the GOP's efforts to show West Virginia voters that the party is on their side.

"We are going for a 'Hicky' Blue Collar look," a casting call for the ad said. "These characters are from West Virginia so think coal miner/trucker looks."

And just to further damage their street cred, the casting call misspelled a key down-home brand name, asking for actors with "John Deer [sic] hats (not brand new, preferably beat up)."

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The presidential oil spill commission Wednesday released a series of preliminary reports on how the BP oil disaster was handled. In one of the reports, the commission found that the White House stopped NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from releasing its worst case scenario numbers in the days after the Deepwater Horizon exploded.

"By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow ... the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem," the report reads.

The story from the White House, needless to say, differs.

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There's almost universal agreement that the tactics and message used by parishioners of the small, fringe Westboro Baptist Church are despicable. But does that make their provocative protests near the funerals of dead U.S. soldiers -- under the theory that God is punishing the country because it tolerates gay and lesbian Americans -- unconstitutional?

When Supreme Court justices took up that issue in court on Wednesday, the usually highly divided court agreed on one thing: these Westboro Baptist Church people are jerks. Their tactics are "very obnoxious," said Justice Stephen Breyer, usually a member of the court's liberal bloc. They used "nasty signs," said Justice Antonin Scalia, who's been described as the intellectual anchor of the conservative wing of the court.

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Eliot Spitzer's new CNN primetime show, "Parker Spitzer," which the former New York governor co-hosts with conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, got off to an underwhelming start this week.

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