TPM News

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a new TV ad in the Massachusetts special election, attacking Republican candidate Scott Brown for opposing President Obama's proposed fees on major financial institutions, and tying him to Wall Street.

"Republican Scott Brown opposes President Obama's plan to reform Wall Street," the announcer says. "That's right, Scott Brown actually opposes the plan to crack down on the greed and corruption that nearly destroyed our economy."

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The two-man team of Florida political activists who are claiming the rights to the "Tea Party" name have been accused in the past of engaging in political trickery for profit, including allegedly pressing opposing candidates to pay for the endorsement of their candidate.

In August, Orlando lawyer Fred O'Neal registered the "Tea Party of Florida" (TPOF) as an official political party. Since then, as we reported yesterday, he and his close ally, GOP political consultant Doug Guetzloe, have asserted rights to the Tea Party name, and tried to strong-arm some local groups to drop the well-known moniker.

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National Security Council Spokesman Mike Hammer issued a statement today on the conclusion of National Security Advisor Jim Jones' week-long trip through the Middle East. Read the full text after the jump.

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A new Rasmussen poll in Minnesota suggests that Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, would have a very hard time picking up his traditionally Democratic state in the general election.

The poll asked: "Suppose Governor Tim Pawlenty runs for President in 2012 and wins the Republican nomination. If Pawlenty was the Republican Presidential candidate, would you vote for him?" The answer was only 37% yes, 46% no. This down from a 42%-46% margin, when Rasmussen previously asked this same question of Minnesotans two months ago.

I asked Alex Conant, spokesman for Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC, for comment on whether Pawlenty would have difficulty carrying his home state, and whether he would intend to compete there. "It's absurdly early to be contemplating, let alone polling, the 2012 landscape," said Conant. "Gov. Pawlenty is focused on balancing Minnesota's budget, finishing his term strong, and helping elect Republicans in this fall's elections."

A new SurveyUSA/Firedoglake poll of the Arkansas Second Congressional district finds that Tim Griffin -- a "star" of the U.S. Attorney scandal in 2007 -- is a frontrunner to get elected to Congress this year against a Democratic incumbent.

The numbers: Griffin 56%, Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder 39%. This district voted 54%-44% for John McCain in 2008, and the new poll gives President Obama a 33% approval rating, with 63% disapproval. The poll also finds heavy opposition to the proposed individual mandate, which would require everyone to carry health insurance.

Griffin briefly served as a U.S. Attorney, after having had an extensive career as a Republican political operative specializing in opposition research. He was appointed in December 2006, in such a manner as to circumvent the need for Senate confirmation due to a March 2006 revision to the PATRIOT Act. He resigned in June 2007.

After a big hurdle was cleared yesterday when the White House struck a deal with Congressional leaders and labor unions on the excise tax, the team went right back to negotiating late last night.

An administration official told us that several top leaders huddled in the Cabinet room from 9:15 p.m. until 1:25 a.m. That's after a more than 8-hour meeting Wednesday. (President Obama left just before 1 a.m., the official said.)

"The President and congressional leaders continued to work through the differences in the health bills. They made solid progress toward a final package, including common-sense adjustments that strengthen the legislation and make sure it works for middle-class families while bringing down costs and expanding coverage to millions of Americans," the official said.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) was at the White House this week discussing health care, TPMDC has learned. Officials wouldn't disclose details of what was discussed, but to be sure Obama and Democratic leaders want to make sure they keep his vote in place for the final health care compromise.

Members attending last night's meeting after the jump.

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