TPM News

In an e-mail to her supporter list, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has announced that she raised more than $2.3 million in the two months since she was appointed to the Senate in late January.

Gillibrand is going into her 2010 campaign as a largely unknown quantity, with the new Quinnipiac poll showing her trailing a possible Democratic primary challenger with a high undecided number, and also leading in the general election against a GOP candidate -- again, with a high undecided number.

The cash-on-hand figure hasn't been released, though the campaign tells us this number has itself not been fully calculated yet.

By comparison, during her whole 2008 election cycle for her old House district, Gillibrand raised $4.5 million, with $272,000 left on hand. So at least for now, Gillibrand appears to be doing a decent job of adapting that fundraising work to the scale of a Senate seat.

The State Department's decision to replace Blackwater Worldwide as its primary defense contractor in Iraq may be little more than a name change. Though Blackwater -- recently renamed "Xe" -- has been widely criticized and investigated on criminal charges for its role a 2007 firefight that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, most of its security guards will return to Iraq next month wearing the uniform of the State Department's new contractor Triple Canopy. Susan Burke, an American lawyer representing Iraqi civilians in civil lawsuits against "Xe" told the New York Times, "They're really all still there, and it's back to business as usual." (New York Times)

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A new Quinnipiac poll finds that Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) continues to be on course for a defeat in 2010, should he seek a full term.

In a Democratic primary against state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Paterson trails by a 61%-18% margin. In a general election with Rudy Giuliani, Rudy is ahead of Paterson by 53%-32%, while at the same time Cuomo would beat Giuliani 53%-36%. The poll also finds that registered voters say Paterson shouldn't run, by a 53%-39% margin -- including a 49%-45% plurality among Democrats.

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The charges against Ted Stevens may be about to be dropped -- but the fallout isn't over.

The judge in the case yesterday ordered the Justice Department to hand over documents relating to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in the case, reports the Washington Post.

It was because of this misconduct that Attorney General Eric Holder last week decided to ask the judge, Emmet Sullivan, drop the charges against Stevens.

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Obama Tells Turkey: U.S. Not At War With Islam Speaking to the Turkish Parliament today, President Obama said: "Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject."

Obama's Day In Turkey President Obama is in Ankara, Turkey, today. At 3:50 a.m. ET, he laid a wreath at Ataturk's Tomb. At 4:55 a.m. ET he met with President Gul, and the two made a statement to the press at 6:56 a.m. ET. At 8:30 a.m. ET he addressed the Turkish Grand National Assembly. At 9:25 a.m. ET he will meet with Prime Minister Erdogan. At 11:10 a.m. ET he will leave Ankara for Istanbul, arriving at 12:10 p.m. ET.

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Obama: We Will Work With International Community To "Deliver A Strong Message" To North Korea A reporter asked President Obama what his message was to North Korea, after today's missile launch. His response, from the White House's transcript: "We delivered it today. They, I think, have taken a provocative action. It creates instability in their region, around the world. If they want to take an appropriate path to rejoin the international community and break out of their isolation, that's available to them. That's not the path they're taking right now. And we intend to work with the international community to deliver a strong message."

Obama's Day In Prague President Obama spent the day in Prague, meeting with Czech President Václav Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek at 3 a.m. ET. Obama delivered a speech at 4 a.m. ET, calling for a world without nuclear weapons. He met at 5:30 a.m. ET with EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and then attended an EU summit working lunch. Obama met with leaders from Spain at 8:55 a.m. ET, with leaders from Poland at 10:30 a.m. ET, and with former Czech President Václav Havel at 11:10 a.m., and then left Prague for Turkey at 12 p.m. ET.

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Obama: Global Coordination Needed For Global Crisis In this weekend's YouTube Address, President Obama discussed the work of the G-20 leaders to fix the global economy:



"Ultimately, the only way out of a recession that is global in scope is with a response that is global in coordination," said Obama. "That is why I'm pleased that after two days of careful negotiation, the G20 nations have agreed on a series of unprecedented steps that I believe will be a turning point in our pursuit of a global economic recovery."

RNC Video: Obama Inherited A Fiscal Crisis, Is Making It Worse In this weekend's RNC YouTube, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) gives the GOP's rebuttal on the budget -- and concedes the White House's point that the problems it is facing are inherited, rather than of its own making:



"There is no doubt that President Obama inherited a fiscal crisis," said Ryan. "But the question is, is he fixing it or is he making it worse? The President's budget, which passed the House and Senate this week, will make the crisis much, much worse."

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Dr. Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner.

• CNN, State Of The Union: General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson; Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN); Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.

• Fox News Sunday: David Axelrod, Senior Adviser to the President; Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC); and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

• NBC, Meet The Press: General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson.

Investigators are starting to zero in on the crucial issue of how much access AIG's risk control team had to Joe Cassano's deals.

Earlier this week, we wrote about a December 2007 presentation in which AIG execs assured investors that the firm's risk control officers looked closely at the credit default swaps made by Cassano's financial products unit. But as we noted, those assurances were contradicted last month by AIG CEO Ed Liddy, who told Congress that Cassano limited the access of the risk control team to his unit. And there's additional evidence (sub. req.) supporting Liddy's claim.

And now it looks like one Democratic lawmaker is picking up on that same discrepancy.

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A few moments ago we posted that the state's totals in NY-20 showed Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco were exactly tied, at 77,225 votes each. But no longer -- in the latest numbers from one county, Scott Murphy has picked up a net 198 votes.

The Albany Project first reported that Murphy had picked up the votes in Washington County, and I have now confirmed it with Donna English, the Republican election commissioner in the county. (Counties in New York have both Dem and GOP election commissioners, working together.)

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