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It was inevitable. A millionaire Russian politician who claims to have been abducted by aliens, and also happens to be president of the World Chess Federation, has offered $10 million to buy the site of the proposed Cordoba House Muslim cultural center in downtown Manhattan. Like we said, inevitable.

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1||September 17, 2010: The annual gathering of social conservatives known as the Values Voters Summit kicks off in Washington, D.C. TPM was on the scene to hear the right wing discuss health care, "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and of course, abortion.

Pictured: Rep. Michele Bachmann, who led attendees through a reading of the Declaration of Independence, which she suggested showed Thomas Jefferson's intention to keep abortion illegal. ||Newscom/RollCall&&

2||Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)||Newscom/RollCall&&

3||Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), who joked: "Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Obama.Their numbers have been going down a chute faster than a Jet Blue flight attendant." ||Newscom/RollCall&&

4||Delaware senatorial candidate and anti-masturbation crusader Christine O'Donnell (R), who said of bureaucrats and politicians: "They'll buy your teenaged daughter an abortion, but they won't let her buy a sugary soda in a school's vending machine."||Newscom/RollCall &&

5||Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR).||Newscom/RollCall &&

6||Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) spoke about the "problems that will happen" if "you let open gay activity in the military."||Newscom/RollCall&&

7||Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) warned the crowd about government support of Planned Parenthood: "To the people who say they want to cut spending, I say: OK -- let's start with federal funding for abortions here at home."||Newscom/RollCall &&

8||O'Donnell. Full coverage of her campaign here. ||Newscom/RollCall &&

9||Former Republican Presidential candidate Gary Bauer.||Newscom/RollCall &&

10||Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.||Newscom/RollCall &&

11|| ||Jeff Malet/

12|| ||Jeff Malet/

13|| ||Jeff Malet/

14|| ||Jeff Malet/

15|| ||Jeff Malet/

16||Pence swept the straw poll voting. ||Jeff Malet/

17|| ||Jeff Malet/

18||The Duggar family. ||Jeff Malet/

19|| ||Jeff Malet/

20|| ||Jeff Malet/

21|| ||Jeff Malet/

22||DeMint. ||Jeff Malet/

23||Rick Santorum. ||Jeff Malet/

24|| ||Jeff Malet/

25||Dale Peterson. Yes, that Dale Peterson. ||Jeff Malet/

The number of House Democrats who agree with Republicans that Bush tax cuts for the rich should be extended is growing. In fact, if you add the Democrats who support extending all the cuts to the full Republican caucus, you likely get a majority of the House who want the rich to keep more of their money.

Republicans ought to be giddy about this. So why is Minority Leader John Boehner sounding the alarms that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might play hardball on tax cuts?

Because she has an ace up her sleeve. More precisely, she has procedural tools at her disposal that could allow her to pass just the middle-income cuts alone. In fact, she could even allow a separate vote on tax cuts for the wealthy, and set it up in such a way that it would surely fail. And Boehner knows it.

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Florida Republican congressional hopeful Daniel Webster has a 2003-era view of American wars. A source sends over video footage of a Webster campaign event where he advocates that U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan indefinitely at the military's discretion, and use it to create a series of democracies in the Muslim world.

"Our national interest is this: We need a beachhead in the Middle East, that is a democratic beachhead, not a party but a form of government," Webster told voters. "And to me, if we have a democracy in several countries there, it become a beachhead. It also protects us because once that beachhead is established it can move further and further and hopefully free up the people of the middle east."

Webster was asked specifically how long he believed U.S. forces should remain in Afghanistan. He says that's none of voters' business. "However long we stay is a military decision that should not be shared with the public," Webster insisted, to a round of applause.

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday referred to a controversial report issued by DHS in April 2009 on the potential for an increased in right-wing extremism as "ancient history."

TPMDC asked Napolitano at a lunch hosted by the Christian Science Monitor if she thought the report DHS was criticized for issuing on the potential for a rise in right-wing extremism due to the election of Barack Obama has been vindicated in the year and a half since it came out.

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It's just about official: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who lost her Republican primary to Tea Party-backed candidate Joe Miller, is reportedly launching a write-in candidacy for the general election later today.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that the invitations for the campaign kickoff have already gone out:

Lisa Murkowski supporters are urging people to come out tonight for what's being called a "campaign kick off," although her campaign manager isn't ready to say that she's decided to run.

Bonnie Jack, who was a Murkowski campaign elections observer for the count of absentee votes, sent out an email this morning. "Join us at the Kick-off of Senator Lisa's campaign -- with a theme of "write in her name in and fill in the oval."

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A new InsiderAdvtange poll shows former Dem Gov. Roy Barnes running even with former Republican Rep. Nathan Deal in the Georgia gubernatorial race.

The latest numbers have Barnes and Deal deadlocked, 42%-42%, with Libertarian candidate John Monds polling at 5%. When InsiderAdvtange polled the race in mid-August, Deal held a four-point lead on Barnes, 45%-41%. A SurveyUSA poll from September 12 produced a very different result, giving the Republican a 49%-38% advantage.

The TPM Poll Average shows Deal on top of Barnes and Monds, 45.3%-40.3%-6.3%.

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

Some say it's a sign that Mitt Romney is trying to folksy up his rich guy image. Some say it's the perfect video definition of the phrase "don't quit your day job." Whatever your thoughts, it's the sign of things to come.

Addressing the crowd at the Values Voter Summit this morning, Romney banged on President Obama and Democrats in a speech that should probably be seen as a prequel of his 2012 Republican presidential primary stump speeches. To keep the audience engaged, Romney spat out a series of one-liners that felt as pre-written as their delivery was clearly rehearsed. We've assembled them for you here.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Morals, Morals, Morals! Conservatives Gather For Values Voter Summit]

So is Romney funny? Well, this was the funniest joke from his speech today. You be the judge.

"Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Obama," he said. "Their numbers have been going down a chute faster than a Jet Blue flight attendant.

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In a Rose Garden address this afternoon appointing Elizabeth Warren to be a consumer watchdog for the Treasury Department, President Obama again insisted that Republicans allow a vote on middle-income tax cuts.

"We know that a strong middle class leads a strong economy," Obama said. "And that's why as we dig our way out of this recession we've set our sights on policies that grow the middle class and provide a ladder for those who are struggling to join it. And that's why I am urging the leaders of the other party to stop holding middle class tax cuts hostage and extend this relief to families immediately."

Obama's been hitting the same note for more than a week now. Unfortunately for him, House Democrats aren't making his job, or the politics of this fight, very easy.

Have you seen Serpico? Colorado Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes sure has. And even though he's previously admitted that his tales of working undercover with the Kansas Bureau of Investigations back in the 1980s "might have been incorrect," he's now reasserting his version of the events, while comparing his story to the Pacino flick of a good cop fighting the forces of corruption.

"In my mind, all I can see is Serpico. Remember Serpico? He walks up to a door, knocks, and a gun gets stuck in his face," Maes told the Associated Press about the night in 1985 in which he says he met with agents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. "That did not happen to me, but that's what's going through my mind."

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