TPM News

TPMDC has been tracking the progress of Sen. David Vitter's proposed amendment that would require Census workers to ask immigration status during the 2010 count.

The Obama administration helped dodge a first vote on this earlier this month, but a few centrists Democrats we've talked to this week say they may be interested in the amendment as well.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) sent a terse letter to Vitter (R-LA) outlining the problems she sees in his amendment, including its potential taxpayer cost of $1 billion to reprint Census forms already ready for use.

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In a conference call this afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote on health care reform before the Veterans' Day holiday.

Pelosi said next Thursday, Nov. 5, is the "theoretically earliest date" the vote could take place.

The new SurveyUSA poll of New Jersey has the race tied between Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Jon Corzine.

The numbers: Corzine 43%, Christie 43%, and independent Chris Daggett 11%, with a ±4% margin of error. Last week, Christie was ahead by 41%-39%-19%. It's interesting to see that Daggett has fallen in the run-up to election day, as often happens with third-party candidates, and that Corzine may have been the beneficiary.

Also, the pollster's analysis says that Corzine has already banked a lead in absentee voters: "Corzine leads among the 11% of voters who tell SurveyUSA they have already returned a ballot. The candidates are even among voters who have not yet voted but say they will on or before election day. At this hour, the contest is a coin-toss. The lower the turnout, the better for Corzine."

The House Ethics Committee announced today it is launching full investigations into the actions of two House members, and clearing a third of any wrongdoing.

One of those being investigated is Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). Waters allegedly set up a meeting between the Treasury Department and a bank which her husband held stock in and whose board he had served on. The bank later received bailout funds.

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Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, has picked up another endorsement from a prominent Republican, Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

"There is a reason that our party lost power in Washington DC. A lot of folks went to Congress wearing the Republican jersey, but far too many played the game like Democrats. People around Texas -- and frankly, all around the country -- are fed up with the federal government."

Endorsing Hoffman, stead of the moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, has now become something of a litmus test for true-believing conservatism. It should be noted, of course, that Perry is facing a challenge in the Republican primary in 2010, from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. And Perry has also been endorsed by Sarah Palin -- who has also endorsed Hoffman.

A Bush administration official on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which oversees the safety of nuclear sites, is facing a criminal probe after an internal NRC report concluded that he broke ethics rules by approaching companies with business before the agency, and inquiring about employment.

Before his term expired in mid 2007, Jeffrey Merrifield contacted the Shaw Group, Westinghouse, and G.E. about jobs. Twice, he voted on issues that could have affected the financial fortunes of those companies, according to the report by the NRC's inspector general. The case has been referred to the Justice Department.

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House Republicans today launched a new "communications tool" that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy say will help them distribute up-to-the-minute information.

The BlackBerry application is called WhipCast and it's designed to give "instantaneous alerts, audio updates, video features, and additional messages to users."

TPMDC has downloaded the app and it's an icon designed to look like a flag - a silver star on a blue circle over a red- and-white striped square.

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In a shocking poll result, a new Pew survey finds that Fox News is viewed as being the most ideologically oriented of the big three cable news channels.

Fox is viewed as being conservative by 47% of Americans, as liberal by 14% (Who are these people???), and as being neither by 24%. CNN is viewed as conservative by 11%, liberal by 37%, and neither by 33%. MSNBC is seen as conservative by 11% (Again: Who are these people???), liberal by 36%, and neither by 27%.

The poll also finds that the view of Fox as being conservative is shared across groups of people who watch different networks. However, people who watch Fox are more likely to view the other networks as being liberal.