TPM News

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has taken down and then repost its new attack ad against Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special Senate election -- minus a background photo that turned out to be the World Trade Center.

The ad is now exactly the same as before, except that the Trade Center visual (which was not immediately obvious, as it was an old stock photo taken from a weird angle, and did not appear to have anything to do with 9/11) has been replaced.

Republicans were quick to pounce on the ad. Rudy Giuliani released a statement: "Martha Coakley must immediately denounce the partisan political television advertisement sponsored by her Democrat allies that inexplicably uses images of the World Trade Center to unfairly attack Scott Brown. This is among the most desperate campaign tactics I have ever seen. Martha Coakley and her Democrat allies owe an apology to the families of the nearly three thousand Americans killed on September 11th."

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Former Congressman John Kasich (R-OH) is raising the bar for Republicans trying to latch onto the Tea Party movement this year. Kasich, now running for governor of Ohio in a dead heat with incumbent Ted Strickland (D), told a crowd yesterday he was a tea partier before it was cool.

In exclusive audio obtained by TPMDC and posted below, Kasich gives some insight into why he's so willing to embrace the tenets of the tea party movement. In two separate speeches last year, he warned his fellow Republicans that the tea partiers were serious about changing the Republican party. So serious, he warned twice, that tea partiers would "hang" Republicans "from the nearest tree" if they don't get their way.

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Scott Brown has a new radio ad in the Massachusetts special Senate election, featuring people describing why they support him.

"I was raised a Democrat so was my family and the Democrats of today are not the Democrats I grew up with and I vote for the candidate I don't vote for the party," says a man. A woman follows: "I'm supporting Scott because I don't want people down in DC making decisions about my health care. I want to keep my health care. I want to keep it for my children and my parents."

The prominent Boston accents of the voters picked out for the ad seem to be a clear play for working-class voters in this Democratic state, who usually wouldn't even think of voting for a Republican.

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President Obama will campaign in Massachusetts for Martha Coakley on Sunday, White House and Democratic Party sources tell TPMDC.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is set to announce the news at today's press briefing, This past Monday, Gibbs had said that there were no plans to visit Massachusetts.

The polls have been all over the place on this election, but are in general agreement in the sense that the turnout model matters very seriously. If younger voters and more committed Democrats turn out, Coakley will win. If older and less Democratic voters make up a greater part of the electorate, Republican nominee Scott Brown will win. Obama's involvement could potentially make the difference for Coakley in turning out his natural support base -- and if it doesn't, expect a lot of talk in the press about how Obama couldn't win the race.

Late Update: As expected, Gibbs announced that Obama will stop in Boston Sunday after a visit to a Washington D.C. church earlier in the day.

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President Obama, speaking at the White House today, expressed faith in Haiti's government and described a conversation he had with Haitian President Rene Preval this morning.

"Like so many Haitians, President Preval himself has lost his home, and his government is working under extraordinarily difficult conditions," Obama said. "I pledged America's continued commitment to the government and the people of Haiti."

That commitment includes the "long-term effort to rebuild," he said, warning that there will be "many difficult days ahead."

He said American resources are still arriving in Haiti, including the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, which is carrying helicopters that will deliver water, food and "other life-saving supplies to priority areas of Port-au-Prince." But it will time to establish distribution points to get the supplies out, he said.

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The state of Connecticut has temporarily suspended the law license of John Michael Farren, a former White House lawyer in the George W. Bush administration who has been charged with trying to kill his wife.

The state's Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel issued the temporary suspension, and will argue in court later this month to permanently take away Farren's license.

Farren, who served as deputy counsel in the Bush White House from 2007 on, was charged with attempted murder and strangulation after allegedly beating his wife with a flashlight and choking her Jan. 6 at their home. He is being held on $2 million bond and was reportedly on suicide watch.

The new survey of Nevada by Public Policy Polling (D) has a startling result about Republican Sen. John Ensign: Despite the sex scandal that obliterated his presidential ambitions last year, and has raised questions about payments made by Ensign's parents to the family of his ex-mistress, Ensign could still get reelected in 2012.

Only 38% of Nevada voters approve of Ensign's job performance, with 44% disapproving. However, he still leads three Democrats in hypothetical match-ups. He leads Rep. Shelly Berkley by 49%-40%. He leads Secretary of State Ross Miller by 47%-36%. And he edges out Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman by 43%-41%, within the ±3.6% margin of error.

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In a winning campaign every move is brilliant, and in a losing campaign every move is a blunder. But Democrats caught off guard by the tight race in Massachusetts to replace liberal icon Sen. Ted Kennedy insist that the problem lies in large part with their candidate, Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Some of the Coakley criticism is specific: Scott Brown was up on the television airwaves with positive, defining ads earlier, and he held more campaign events in December after winning the nomination. But some of the complaints center on Coakley's personality and speaking style, which convey insufficient enthusiasm.

"She is not someone who is likely to go the pub and buy everyone a round, but neither is John Kerry," said Coakley supporter Lawrence DiCara, a former Boston city council member and veteran of Democratic politics in the Bay State.

"She's much more like John Kerry than she is like Ted Kennedy," he said.

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Congressional leaders and the White House struck a major deal on the excise tax yesterday, clearing the way for a final health care deal.

Now House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNBC that "general agreement" between the two chambers could be ready within "24, 48 or 72 hours." He said negotiators will be working through the weekend.


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