TPM News

Updated at 3 p.m. ET.

A new round of Daily Kos/Public Policy Polling (D) numbers for the Wisconsin recalls, conducted over the past weekend in four out of the six Republican-held seats on the ballot Tuesday, show these contests headed down to the wire. Democrats have a clear lead in one race, Republicans in another, and the other two in statistical dead heats.

However, there is a very important caveat to any polls of these races: There is simply no standard statistical model or frame of reference for these very unusual mass recalls. As such, no prediction is really safe, and election-watchers just have to wait until the votes are counted Tuesday night. Everything will ride on the parties' turnout operations.

In the 32nd district, Democratic challenger Jennifer Shilling leads GOP state Sen. Dan Kapanke by 54%-43%, beyond the ±3.4% margin of error. Meanwhile in the 10 district, GOP state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf leads Democrat Shelly Moore by 54%-42%, outside the 2.7% margin of error.

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That $1 million donation routed through a mysterious corporation to a Super PAC devoted to electing Mitt Romney? No big deal, Romney told reporters in New Hampshire on Monday.

"I think he came out and discussed who he is," Romney said of the donor, who revealed himself to be former Bain Capital executive Ed Conard last week. He added that there's therefore "no controversy because he said, 'Hey, it's me, and I've given to Mitt many times before.'"

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In the weeks leading up to last week's debt limit deal, the ratings agency Standard & Poors warned that they would downgrade the country's AAA bond rating if the White House and Congressional leaders couldn't reach a fiscal consolidation plan of at least $4 trillion over 10 years.

The Congressional Budget Office scored the deal they ultimately reached at just over $2 trillion and S&P, perhaps feeling locked into its threat, made good on it.

The implication, to borrow from the Vice President, is that $2 trillion worth of deficit spending over ten years is a BFD.

But as Treasury Department officials, including Secretary Tim Geithner, have been angrily pointing out since Friday night, S&P's original analytical justification for the downgrade included a $2 trillion error, exaggerating U.S. deficits over the same 10 year window.

Geithner himself said, "[t]hey've shown a stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget math. And I think they drew exactly the wrong conclusion from this budget agreement."

Most reports have simply alluded to the error without explaining it. But here, according to Treasury officials, is what actually happened.

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the GOP's No. 1 Obama administration attack dog, has bitten down hard on the dispute between the National Labor Relations Board and Boeing and doesn't appear to be letting go anytime soon.

Issa issued a subpoena to the NLRB's Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon August 7 as part of its investigation into the merits of the NLRB action against the Boeing Company. The subpoena compels the NLRB to comply with earlier document requests submitted in May with a deadline of noon Aug. 12.

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Michele Bachmann spoke at a church service in Iowa on Sunday that featured a separate sermon about "immoral" gays as well as a video presentation promoting gay conversion therapy.

"We inherently know that homosexual behavior is immoral and unnatural," Pastor Jeff Mullen told churchgoers during a half-hour presentation, according to NBC. Afterward he played a recorded testimonial from a man who claimed to have been cured of his homosexual urges through the power of prayer and is now married with an expecting wife "I am so happy God has given me natural affection for a woman," he says in the video.

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President Obama has seen some hits to his national approval rating over the last few weeks as residue from the bruising debt debate, although Congress is even worse off since the almost-default. But new data from Gallup released on Monday shows a much more coherent and specific picture of Obama's job approval as he ramps up his 2012 election campaign, and how his approval rating looks when set against the modern electoral map.

The data, taken from Gallup's polling from January 2011 to June of this year, charts the president's rating in all 50 states, using interviews with more than 90,000 American adults. While his national approval rating for this time period in the Gallup tracking poll is below 50%, the map shows an improving picture after the GOP victories of 2010, and much of that improvement in swing states.

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Wisconsin state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) appeared Monday morning on Fox News, ahead of Tuesday's recall elections targeting six GOP state Senators -- and cast the contest as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker's policies rolling back collective bargaining for public employees, and whether other states would follow the same path.

Fox host Bill Hemmer asked whether Democrats, if successful in gaining control of the chamber, would be able to reverse the state's budget policies targeting public employee unions and their ability to collectively bargain.

"No, I mean, the Republican Assembly remains in place, as well as obviously Governor Walker," said Fitzgerald. "But I think, you know, what this has become is more of a referendum on whether or not what happened in Wisconsin in February and in March should be the way the state moves forward.

"We have a balanced budget, we certainly have had great success in eliminating the deficit, of which many other states throughout the nation are facing right now. And the unions are trying to send a signal that if they can recall this Republican state Senate, then this was the wrong direction for us.

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Ryan Lizza's New Yorker piece on Michele Bachmann, which focuses on the Tea Party candidate's influences, is the current talk of the political world. The article delves deep into Bachmann's ideological roots, showcasing a number of books and films by her favorite far-right Christian thinkers. Here are a few of the highlights from Bachmann's reading list.

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Just because a new bit of science or technology exists to solve a problem, should we use it without question?

Even if it offers to solve a heinous crime, the answer is "no" if its use is mandated by badly-crafted law, and violates the spirit of the Fourth Amendment, says a recently-issued California state appeals court opinion.

First District Justice J. Anthony Kline said that a California law that requires the police to collect and store the DNA of anyone they arrest violates the right of individuals to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

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