TPM News

A new Rasmussen poll suggests that Sarah Palin should not be viewed as a favorite for the Republican nomination in 2012, with her trailing both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee by wide margins in head-to-head match-ups.

Romney leads Palin by 52%-37% among likely GOP primary voters, and Huckabee is ahead by 55%-35%.

The pollster's analysis also finds that Mitt Romney's Mormon religion is still a liability, with him losing to Palin by 14 points among evangelical Christians, while leading her among other Protestants, Catholics and other groups. By contrast, the former Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee leads Palin by 17 points among evangelicals.

On a conference call with reporters just now, the Christie campaign offered a pre-rebuttal to Jon Corzine's campaign stops this week with Vice President Biden (today), former President Bill Clinton (tomorrow) and President Obama (Wednesday) -- that Corzine is trying to use national Democratic star power in order to distract from the real issues that have made New Jersey such a mess.

Corzine has caught up with Christie in the polls, after having trailed by severe margins all year long, and the race is now a dead heat with some polls having Corzine ahead and Christie up in others. In addition to attacks on Christie's health care proposals -- which have given Corzine a lot of mileage -- Corzine is essentially using New Jersey's fundamental Democratic leanings and the popularity of the Obama brand in the state to give him a boost in the home stretch.

"After the spotlights are turned off, the old Clinton economic team is gonna be gone, and other people in the Obama administration that people admire are gonna be gone," said state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, "and we're gonna be left with Jon Corzine, if he is governor again, and four more years of the same."

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We've heard from the governor and senior senator in Louisiana and from the White House responding to the justice of the peace who refuses to marry biracial couples, but the state's junior senator, David Vitter, has stayed conspicuously silent.

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) wants Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, fired for his actions. The same is true for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

We checked in with Vitter's office, and he hasn't issued any public statements about the matter.

We'll update you if we get a response.

Sen. Jim Webb (D) knows better than most that what you put on paper can come back to haunt you in Virginia politics. But three years after his past writings were used against him (he says unfairly) in his Senate race, Webb backed the attacks on GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis.

From Webb's interview with The Hill over the weekend:

"They were taking small excerpts from novels and attempting to use them to characterize me," he said of [GOP Sen. George] Allen's campaign, contrasting it with what [Creigh] Deeds has done. "And I think that was totally distinct from what we're talking about with respect to this situation."

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, in an interview this weekend on Univision, said, "I don't think we need a comprehensive overhaul of our health care system."

"Because our health care system," he continued, according to a transcript posted by Latina Lista, "while it remains the best in the country and while it provides largely the services that people need and the quality of those services are very, very good, there are costs associated with this system that needs to be address more directly."

He explained the Republicans' plan for health care, describing it as "elbow grease" that requires neither regulation or taxation.

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Public option supporters bombarded Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) with questions last night about why she doesn't back a public option in the health care fight, with one constituent fretting about losing her seat to a Republican.

"We are terribly disappointed that you have caved in to the insurance industry and failed to support the public option for health care. It may very well affect our vote for you in the next election," Ray and Judy told her on the chat, which is posted online.

"Unfortunately the insurance companies opposed the bill I supported in the Finance Committee. There are many ways to provide greater options and choices to individuals, including non-profits, a state plan, and a co-op plan," Lincoln wrote back.

But that wasn't the last word. Lincoln got six more questions along the same lines.

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We're getting a few more details on John Gimbel, the California man we told you about Friday, who's been charged for sending a racist, profanity-filled email that called for the death of President Obama and for the words "Fed shit" to be written on his chest -- an apparent reference to the recent death of a Census Bureau worker in what seems to have been an act of anti-government violence.

This wasn't the first such email Gimbel has sent, say the Feds. He fired off a similar one earlier last month, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Secret Service, and reported by the AP.

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Becky Shay, the beleaguered spokesperson for the American Private Police Force who as recently as last week was a true believer in her company and its felon leader, never received a paycheck for her work and is now gunning for a job as the chief of the Hardin, MT, agency that made the jail deal with APPF in the first place.

The AP reported Friday, in an article that refers to APPF's Michael Hilton as a "con artist":

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Here's another nugget exemplifying the intense pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is facing from both elected Democrats and grassroots liberals to make sure health care legislation includes a public option.

"There are 52 solid Democrats for the public option," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). "Only about five Democrats oppose it. Should the 52 give in to the five? Or should the five go along with the vast majority of the Democratic caucus?"

Last Thursday, at a heated Democratic caucus lunch, several Democrats rose to give impassioned arguments in favor of the public option. And, with the exception of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), who gave a counterargument for private co-ops, the handful of public option opponents in the Senate were silent.