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The Rothenberg Political Report has changed its rating of the Massachusetts Senate race to "toss up."

Rothenberg had the special election listed as "narrow advantage for the incumbent party."

"This race has become about change, President Obama and Democratic control of all of the levers of power in Washington, D.C. Brown has 'won' the 'free media' over the past few days, and if he continues to do so, he will win the election," reads the report.

"Late Democratic efforts to demonize Republican Scott Brown, to make the race into a partisan battle and to use the Kennedy name to drive Democratic voters to the polls could still work. But the advertising clutter in the race works against them, and voters often tune out late messages, which can seem desperate."

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, in an interview this week with the Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston, claimed he wasn't chairman when the Ensign affair took place.

In the interview, Ralston describes Sen. John Ensign's (R-NV) affair, asking what Steele would do if a Democrat had done the same thing.

"If you were chairman of the Republican party and a Democratic senator had an affair with a staffer, had his parents pay her off, fired both her and her husband who worked for him then tried to get the husband a job, you'd be outraged, wouldn't you?" Ralston said.

"I don't know. Who is the individual you're talking about?" Steele responded.

"The individual happens to be John Ensign," Ralston said, then called Steele "Mr. Double Standard" for not saying anything about Ensign.

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President Obama has posted a new video on his campaign's YouTube account, and sent an e-mail to his very sizable supporter list, urging his supporters to help Democratic candidate Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts special Senate election. He also points them to a Web page where they can sign up to volunteer.

"In Washington, I'm fighting to curb the abuses of a health insurance industry that routinely denies care," Obama says in the video. "I'm fighting for financial reform to stop Wall Street from playing havoc with our economy. I'm fighting to create a new energy economy. And it's clear now that the outcome of these and other fights will probably rest on one vote in the United States Senate. That's why what happens Tuesday in Massachusetts is so important."

Obama also explains the stakes in this special election: "She represents the best progressive values of Massachusetts. She'll be your voice, and my ally. Which is why the opponents of change are pouring money into your state. They believe that by defeating Martha and replacing Ted Kennedy with her Republican opponent, they'll be in a position to tie up the Senate and prevent a vote on health insurance reform, financial reform, and other issues so important to working families in Massachusetts and the nation."

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Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), long a favorite of conservative activists, has announced that he will retire from the House this year.

Shadegg's district voted 56%-42% for John McCain in 2008, and 58%-41% for George W. Bush in 2004. Shadegg was first elected in 1994, and after 2004 held the fifth-highest position in the House GOP leadership as chair of the Republican Policy Committee. He resigned that post in January 2006 to run for Majority Leader, after Tom DeLay stepped down, but came in third place on the first ballot. He then ran for Minority Whip after the 2006 elections, losing to incumbent GOP Whip Roy Blunt.

In the current 111th Congress, Shadegg is perhaps best known for when he held a baby during the health care debate, describing detailed political views that the baby was supposed to have on health care policy, taxes and the free-market system. He also publicly speculated on violent acts that terrorists could commit during terrorism trials in New York City: "How are you going to feel when it's some clerk -- some innocent clerk of the court -- whose daughter or son is kidnapped? Or the judge's wife? Or the jailer's little brother or little sister?"

How concerned are Democratic interest groups that Sen. Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts might go to a Republican? Let's put it this way. This week, the Service Employees International Union spent $665,000 on the below ad, attacking Scott Brown, the Republican challenger to Democrat Martha Coakley.

With polls showing the Coakley/Brown race too close to call in deep-blue Massachusetts, Democrats are sweating, dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars, spearheading myriad fundraising drives, and dispatching a great deal of personnel to the state, to assure she seals the deal. SEIU is just as concerned.

And, as I reported earlier today, if she doesn't, it could doom health care reform

When we last checked in on the U.S. history textbooks standards setting process down in Texas, the conservative-dominated State Board of Education was mulling one-sided requirements to teach high school students about Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority.

Now, in the home stretch of a process that will set the state's nationally influential standards, a liberal watchdog group is worried that the State Board of Education will try to push through changes to claim that communist-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy has been vindicated by history, among other right-wing pet issues.

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The Tea Party Express, a division of the conservative Our Country Deserves Better PAC, has announced a new TV ad in the Massachusetts special Senate election, and that they're putting $150,000 behind it.

"The big-government politicians in Washington have failed us: Bank failures, skyrocketing unemployment, out of control deficits, higher taxes," the announcer says. "It's time to bring some sanity back to WAshington -- and that's why we at the Tea Party Express endorse Scott Brown for U.S. Senate."

So what's going to happen in this Tuesday's election? Will Boston vote for, or against, the Tea Party?

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Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a long serving member of the New York Congressional delegation wants Harold Ford, Jr., who's been contemplating a primary challenge against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), to take a hike.

"I would not encourage him to run in New York," Nadler told me. "As far as I'm concerned he has no connection to New York. And more importantly he's far too conservative--too wrong on too many major issues--to be the Democratic nominee."

Nadler is one of a number of Democrats who have lambasted Ford for meddling in New York politics.

"If he thinks that its an appealing argument to position yourself as being somebody who will stand up to Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, well I don't think we need another Joe Lieberman," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). "Maybe when his helicopter lands in Queens next I can ask him."

This doesn't sound quite as lucrative as her gig as a Fox News analyst, but...

Former vice presidential GOP nominee Sarah Palin appears to have joined a prestigious lineup including "America's Mayor" Rudy Giuliani and ex-Notre Dame Football Coach Lou Holtz on the Get Motivated! speaking circuit. For just $19, you can apparently take your entire office to go hear Palin speak about:

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