TPM News

The new Rasmussen poll of the Illinois Senate race gives Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias a narrow lead over Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, in the race for President Obama's former Senate seat.

The numbers: Kirk 41%, Giannoulias 44%, with a ±4.5% margin of error. A month ago, after the party primaries, Kirk led Giannoulias by 46%-40% in Rasmussen's polling. The TPM Poll Average puts Giannoulias ahead by 45%-40.7%.

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Former Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-NY), who was narrowly defeated for re-election 2008 by Democrat Eric Massa, has announced that he will not run for the seat after Massa's resignation over sexual harassment allegations. This clears the way for Corning Mayor Tom Reed to receive the Republican nomination.

"Over the last week, I have heard from hundreds of my former constituents urging me to run for my old congressional seat. Their emotional plea to me was humbling and most appreciative," Kuhl said in a statement. "But, after careful consideration, I have decided to forego a run for Congress. I want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported me during my 28 years of public service. I look forward to helping the 29th District in any way that I can and I urge my neighbors and friends to support Tom Reed for this congressional seat."

A must-see moment on the House floor today from Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI). He yelled -- literally -- that the press corp is "despicable" and had failed in covering debate of the Afghanistan war.

Cynicism is that there's one, two press people in this gallery. We're talking about Eric Massa 24/7 on the TV! We're talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives and no press! No press!


"It's despicable!" Kennedy yelled.

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Senate Democrats attempted to reassure riled up progressive pundits today that conservaDems might indeed pay a price next January when the caucus decides who will - and won't - keep their leadership positions.

TPMDC and other news outlets are in attendance at the Progressive Media Summit on Capitol Hill, hosted by the Senate Democrats. Some here, including John Aravosis and MSNBC's Ed Schultz, are treating it as a forum to tell the Senators what they are doing wrong.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told the group he understands frustration that some Democrats "don't have the backbone we wish they had." After the Democrats were asked why the leadership doesn't strip Sen. Blanche Lincoln of her Agriculture Committee chairmanship, Brown chimed in and said that might be coming next year.

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U.S. Attorney David M. Gaouette of Colorado issued a statement today on yesterday's indictment of Douglas James Duchak on charges of corrupting a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) database. Here are Gaouette's complete remarks:

DENVER - Douglas James Duchak, age 46, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver late yesterday on charges of attempting intentionally to damage a protected computer. The indictment alleges Duchak attempted to corrupt a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) database. Duchak surrendered to U.S. Marshals this morning, and will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Denver this afternoon.

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In the wake of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, a high-living, politically connected Tennessee businessman who made a fortune by lending money to the poor at sky-high interest rates has ties to a successful effort to water down financial regulatory reform.

Meet W. Allan Jones, who in 1993 founded Check Into Cash, a pay-day lending chain that says it now has 1,100 stores in 30 states. The company offers short-term loans designed to tide customers over until their next paycheck. But the interest rates can be as much as 400 percent on an annualized basis, meaning that they lead many borrowers to end up digging themselves deeper into debt.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reminded the progressive media gathered on Capitol Hill today that single-payer health care reform was dead before it started in the Senate.

"It would have had 8 or 10 votes and that's it," he said, addressing a topic central in the minds of many who the bloggers and left wing talk show hosts gathered for the 4th annual Senate Democratic Progressive Media Summit in Washington reach everyday.

Sanders is among the few in the Senate not afraid to say he supports government-run, universal health care. But his calls for such a program have gone unanswered, much to the chagrin of progressives who still feel it is the best way to solve the nation's health care crisis.

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Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential presidential candidate in 2012, will be making another trip outside of Minnesota, to visit Republicans in another state.

Pawlenty will speak to the North Dakota Republican Party convention, which will be held on March 21. This will be Pawlenty's first trip to North Dakota since he announced last year that he would not run for re-election as governor.

It should be noted that North Dakota was a Super Tuesday state during the 2008 primary season. Mitt Romney won the state's Republican caucuses with a plurality of 36% in a four-way race.

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