TPM News

Republican Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina will attend a high-dollar fundraiser Thursday night that includes Koch Industries PAC, a conservative megadonor that has been the subject of some high-profile magazine pieces of late.

The Koch brothers have become conservative super-villains for Democrats this year, igniting Democrats in the same way George Soros' spending on liberal causes enrages the right.

According to the invitation for the Thursday night reception at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters near Union Station, hosts -- including Koch -- donated $2,500. It includes a special reception for sponsors Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, NRSC Chairman John Cornyn, Sen. Jon Kyl and the 26 hosts including Koch Industries PAC. The general reception with the Senate Republican caucus follows. Sponsors paid $5,000 per PAC or $2,400 for an individual sponsorship. The plastic surgeons' political action committee, Plastypac, also is a host.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who is mounting a long shot write-in bid for re-election after she narrowly lost the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed candidate Joe Miller, has her first ad out for this strange general election.

"I'd like to tell why I will be a write-in candidate in November for the U.S. Senate seat that I now hold," Murkowski says to the camera. "When the votes of the primary were counted, nobody was more disappointed than I was. But over the past few weeks, thousands of Alaskans from every corner of the state have reached out to me and asked that we continue the fight for Alaska.

"Alaskans have spoken. They cannot accept the extreme views of Joe Miller, nor the inexperience of [Democratic nominee] Scott McAdams."

A recent Rasmussen poll gave Miller the lead with 42% support, followed by Murkowski at 27% and McAdams with 25%.

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It's no secret that Republicans are pressing for a full extension of President Bush's 2001 tax cuts -- including income tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. But they are now also including a push for a different set of Bush tax cuts -- passed in 2003 -- on capital gains and dividends.

The office of Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) is seeking signatures on a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- obtained by TPM -- asking for a full extension of both sets of tax cuts.

"We are writing to request the House consider legislation providing an up-or-down vote to extend the expiring provisions in The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (P.L.#107-16) and The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (P.L.#108-27)," the letter reads.

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Sen. Jim Webb might be joining the ranks of several Senate Democrats who think the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended to help people who earn more than $250,000 per year.

A spokesman for Webb (D-VA) told TPM that the senator is negotiating the specifics with the Democratic leadership, talking about potential alternatives to their favored plan being championed by President Obama.

"He is definitely in favor of passing tax cuts," said Webb spokesman Will Jenkins. "He is still discussing the specifics with his colleagues, but he has said that he thinks the proposed $250,000 cut off level is too low, and he is advocating that it be raised."

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Sen. Saxby Chambliss' office is investigating whether one of the Georgia Republican's staffers left an anti-gay comment on a blog yesterday afternoon.

"We have seen the allegations and are moving quickly to understand the facts. This office has not and will not tolerate any activity of the sort alleged," a Chambliss spokeswoman said in a statement issued last night. "Once we have ascertained whether these claims are true, we will take the appropriate steps."

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On Monday of this week, CNBC broadcast a Town Hall meeting with voters primarily concerned with the state of the economy. And as we wrote about then, there appears to be a breakout star: Velma Hart, who calmly and frankly explained to the President that she was "exhausted of defending" the President. Judging by last night's cable news shows, it seems that no producer left that clip unused, and The Daily Show's Jon Stewart was no exception.

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Muslim-Americans "continue to struggle for acceptance in many communities" and "have not yet realized the full promise of equal opportunity and equal justice" the government's top civil rights official, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, said Tuesday.

Speaking at an event on Capitol Hill marking the 10th anniversary of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, Perez's comments came in the midst of the heated debate over the proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan and of mosque construction projects around the country.

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Thirty-two House progressives have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her not to allow a vote on extending President Bush's high-income tax cuts.

"[W]e respectfully urge you to bring to the floor, before Congress adjourns in October, a vote on President Obama's recently proposed tax plan: permanent tax cuts for the middle-class while allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans to expire, using any additional revenue to close our budget deficit," the letter reads.

The effort was organized by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, along with Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy and Alan Grayson.

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While the political earth shifts around her, Sen. Patty Murray appears to have grounded herself in Washington state. While the national press largely passes her race by, Murray -- who at the start of the summer was, according to conventional wisdom, a Vulnerable Democrat -- appears to have built the momentum she needs to comfortably compete for a third term.

Of course, as must always be said at this point, nothing is set in stone. Murray is up against Dino Rossi, one of the few establishment Republican nominee picks to make it past a tea party primary opponent this year. Rossi was, at one time, one of the brightest stars in NRSC chair John Cornyn's 2010 universe, and the party is expected to keep pumping support Rossi's way as long as things stay close.

And they are close.

If Murray was the Vulnerable Democrat in the original Washington state narrative, Rossi was (in the view of most Republican establishment figures) the ideal Formidable Opponent to defeat her. But as election season has proceeded, that storyline has proven to be more and more far-fetched. Murray, quite simply, is winning while Rossi is losing. And it's been that way for awhile.

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GOP To Try To Block Spending On Health Care And Financial Reform The Hill reports: "Republicans will try to block money requested by the Obama administration to implement Democrats' signature Wall Street and healthcare reforms in a stopgap spending measure expected to clear Congress next week. The GOP is seizing on the administration's funding request as an opportunity to send a message to voters that it wants to reduce government spending and provide a check on President Obama."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and meet at 10 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 10:35 a.m. ET, he will visit a meeting of insurance commissioners. At 11:45 a.m. ET, he will hold a backyard discussion on health care reform at a private residence in Falls Church, Virginia. He will depart form the White House at 2:45 p.m. ET, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 3 p.m. ET, arriving at 3:55 p.m. ET in New York City. He will deliver remarks at 4:45 p.m. ET, at the Millennium Development Goals Conference. He will deliver remarks at a 6:35 p.m. ET DSCC/DCCC fundraiser, and also deliver remarks at a 7:30 p.m. ET DSCC/DCCC dinner.

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