TPM News

President Obama, speaking this afternoon about the suspicious devices discovered on flights to the U.S., said the packages constituted a "credible terrorist threat" and that an "initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material."

Obama said that the packages, which were found last night on U.S.-bound flights in Dubai and near London, were addressed to "two places of Jewish worship in Chicago." He confirmed that the packages had originated in Yemen, and suggested that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula might be responsible.

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Two middle-aged white Republican activists in Texas allegedly harassed and intimidated at least seven elderly African-American voters at their homes in eastern Texas, according to a complaint filed with the Justice Department on Thursday.

Gerry Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, submitted a report to DOJ alleging that two unidentified women visited elderly African-American voters at their homes in Bowie County and questioned them about their mail-in ballot applications, Mother Jones first reported.

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Wow, the rhetoric among Republican Sharron Angle's supporters is getting really intense in the home stretch of the Nevada Senate race. As Jon Ralston reports, a group of Angle-backers put together a flyer and distributed it throughout the Sun City Summerlin retirement community -- apparently coming from a board member of the community association -- that resurrected the "death panels" smear to warn that a vote for Democrat Harry Reid could kill these elderly voters.

The message carries a disclaimer that it was not authorized by any candidate. And I should add that the overall sloppiness does make it seem like an independent, amateur job.

Key quote:

Your Lifespan
will depend on what you do on
November 2, 2010

Harry Reid voted for and pushed through the $1.1 trillion government-run healthcare takeover that has "Benefit Panels" for our seniors. These panels will decide if you get needed medical treatment, in part based on age, even if your doctor says it is medically necessary in order to save your life. If the panel decides no...that means your life will not be saved, just like in Canada, England, France, Denmark, etc. Do you want Harry Reid's government bureaucrats to make these life and death decisions for you and your family?

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On the heels of two recent Washington Senate polls that show a tightening contest, the University of Washington released their poll today, which finds Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray leading Republican nominee Dino Rossi by six points, 51%-45%.

When the Washington Poll was conducted two weeks ago, Murray led by eight points, 50%-42%. An October 27 SurveyUSA poll had the two candidates tied, 47%-47%, while a Rasmussen survey from October 26 saw Rossi up one point, 48%-47%.

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1||Looking back on this campaign season, it seems the old adage is true: You really can't make this stuff up. So since it's only a matter of time before Hollywood forgoes the formality of trying, here's who TPM would tap to star in the movie version of the 2010 midterms...

Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell and Tiffani Thiessen: Both brunettes, both trying to escape TV shows they did in the 90s. O'Donnell (R) earned the reputation as an anti-masturbation and premarital sex crusader after an appearance on MTV's Sex In The 90s. Thiessen spent years playing goody-goody Kelly Kapowski on Saved By The Bell.



Produced by Jillian Rayfield||Newscom/Jeff Malet/Newscom/WENN&&

2||Aside from their apparent affection for flannel and beards, Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller and Chuck Norris share a love of good old-fashioned tea party politics. And Norris would have a grand ol' time reenacting the day Miller's security team handcuffed and detained a journalist at a town hall, except, as we all know, "Chuck Norris keeps his friends close and his enemies closer. Close enough to drop them with one round house kick to the face." ||Facebook/JoeMillerAlaska/Newscom/phlphotos&&

3||New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino's campaign slogan is "I'm mad as hell," which is exactly how Joe Pesci felt when Kevin McAllister catapulted a paint can into his face in Home Alone.||Newscom/Zuma&&

4||On Arrested Development, Jessica Walter's Lucille Bluth would often dismiss even the simplest questions with, "I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it." This is great practice for when she repeatedly dodges the press as Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R). ||Newscom/Zuma/Kathy Hutchins&&

5||Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) is facing the potential disappointment of losing an election to an upstart tea party candidate like Sharron Angle. As George H.W. Bush in W, James Cromwell...insert younger Bush joke here. ||Newscom/SPN/Zuma&&

6||As for Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul: Aqua Buddha as Justin Timberlake is *NSYNC. ||Newscom/RollCall/SPN&&

7||Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee Jack Conway put out a controversial ad attacking Rand Paul's Christian faith as a result of allegations that Paul asked a woman "to kneel before a false idol called Aqua Buddha" during his days as a college student. As Jason Bateman's Arrested Development character Michael Bluth might say, "guy's a pro." ||Newscom/Zuma/phl&&

8||Picture this: It's election night. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is making his acceptance speech. Democrat Alvin Greene walks on stage, grabs the microphone, and, Kanye West-style, says: "I'm really happy for you, I'mma let you finish -- but Alvin Greene was one of the best senate candidates of all time!" ||SCDP/Newscom/WENN&&

9||Pennsylvania Republican Senate nominee Pat Toomey may live 80 miles away from Ground Zero, but that didn't stop him from opposing the proposed Cordoba House Islamic center in the area. As "Homeless Guy" in Big Daddy, Steve Buscemi expressed comparable sentiments: "Yes, considering we're in America. I mean, if you don't like spaghetti and meatballs, why don't you get the hell out?" ||Newscom/CQ/Joy Scheller&&

10||Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee Joe Sestak released an ad in which he holds up a bag of dog waste to prove a point about his opponent Pat Toomey. Steve Carell showed a similar gluttony for punishment on The Daily Show when he ate a large portion of Crisco to prove a point about...something. ||Newscom/Zunique/Kathy Hutchins&&

11||In Jamie Lee Curtis' recent release You Again, she repeatedly confronts her high school rival, played by Sigourney Weaver. This will probably make it easier for her to call her California Senate rival's haircut "so yesterday," as Republican Carly Fiorina did. ||Newscom/Zuma/APA&&

12||A staffer of California Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman's Democratic opponent Jerry Brown was caught on tape calling Whitman a "whore." Let's just hope that when reenacting this particular incident, Kathy Bates doesn't channel her character from Misery. ||Newscom/Zuma/AdMedia &&

13||California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown (D-CA)? J.K. Simmons.||Wikimedia Commons/Newscom/Kathy Hutchins&&

14||John Travolta's role in Pulp Fiction is the paramount case of an actor making a major comeback. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was busted for repeatedly soliciting multiple prostitutes and still seems poised to keep his job. Travolta can certainly channel his inner comeback kid to play the role. ||Newscom/RollCall/TassPhotos&&

15||Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Timothy Hutton. ||Newscom/RollCall/APA&&

16||Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck has compared being gay to alcoholism, which Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lechter can relate to: He loves a good Chianti. ||Newscom/RollCall/Sipa&&

17||Both third-party Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs have checkered pasts when it comes to talking about illegal immigrants, and Dobbs recently dipped his toe into acting on the show The Good Wife, doing an Emmy-worthy turn as...himself!||Newscom/RollCall/ShowCasePix&&

18||Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), who seems poised to come up short in his run for Senate against Republican Marco Rubio? Cue John Slattery, who plays a boozing New York City ad man with loose morals on Mad Men.||Newscom/SPBN/Pacific&&

19||Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) has dismissed talk that he's planning to run for President in 2012. But if he does, Jimmy Smits has already played Matthew Santos, who campaigned for President on The West Wing. SPOILER ALERT: Santos wins.||Newscom/Sipa&&

20||She may be a Dame, but after seeing Helen Mirren fire several automatic weapons in the movie Red, is there any doubt she could kick a man in the groin like former WWE CEO and Connecticut Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon?||Newscom/Zuma&&

21||Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal (D) and Crispin Glover. ||WDCPIX.com/Newscom/SPN&&

22||If Samuel L. Jackson's famous "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!" was a political party, it would be Jimmy McMillan's "Rent is too damn high."||Wikimedia Commons&&

23||Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk (R) and actor Michael J. Fox.||Flickr:MarkKirk/Newscom/Kathy Hutchins&&

24||Illinois Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias (D) and actor John Krasinski.||Newscom/RollCall/UPI&&

25||Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sean Penn. ||Newscom/RollCall/pacificphotos&&

26||West Virginia Senate candidate John Raese (R) and Richard Dreyfuss. ||Newscom/RollCall/WENN&&

Harry Reid has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, taking on his Republican opponent Sharron Angle's pattern of dodging the press -- and going further, citing the Nevada press calling her a "pathological" liar.

The ad opens with a video clip of Angle walking quickly away from reporters. "She ran from reporters, and now she's running from the truth," the announcer says. "Lying about Harry Reid in ads called 'misleading' and 'false.' Angle is so dishonest, the press calls her 'pathological.'"

The ad then shows a video clip of Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston, apparently commenting on the Reid-Angle debate from two weeks ago: "Angle frequently twisted the truth -- which she's done this entire campaign."

Then the announcer comes back. "Harry Reid? Worked his way up, never forgot who he's fighting for. Creating thousands of jobs, and clean energy, tourism, mining.

"Harry Reid: fighting for us. Sharron Angle: pathological."

The TPM Poll Average gives Angle a lead of 49.7%-46.4%.

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True the Vote, the Tea Party-backed anti-voter fraud group that has come under scrutiny because poll watchers trained by the organization have been accused of using intimidating tactics, received a large chunk of its money anonymously. It has also paid for or hosted events with several major players in the anti-voter fraud circuit.

The True the Vote organization, which is dedicated to preventing voter fraud and emerged from the King Street Patriots group, has received over $80,000 in donations, but they have not disclosed who their money is coming from. Instead, they classify their income as "general meeting donations," according to records examined by TPMMuckraker. When the Texas Democratic Party examined their records, they also turned up records of payments to EmergingCorruption, a website run by so-called ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

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At last night's Alaska gubernatorial debate, Gov. Sean Parnell (R) wouldn't respond directly to a questions about the age of the earth. "Only God knows," he said.

Parnell and Democrat Ethan Berkowitz were asked which number more accurately describes the age of the earth, 6000 years or 6 billion years. After Parnell's answer, Berkowitz said: "I'll go with 6 billion."

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President Obama was notified last night that two suspicious packages from Yemen -- one near London and one in Dubai, both on flights bound for the U.S. -- were examined, triggering heightened security measures that lead to UPS planes being isolated in Newark, N.J. and Philadelphia.

The statement from the White House is the clearest picture yet of what happened today, when at least two planes were isolated and checked for bombs after a suspicious package was found on a Chicago-bound flight in London. The package, an altered ink cartridge with protruding wires and covered in white powder, was not found to contain explosives.

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The Arizona secretary of state this week shot down claims that a Hispanic get-out-the-vote group had committed voter fraud in Yuma County, in the race for the seat held by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D).

As we reported earlier this week, right-wing blogs were claiming that the SEIU-affiliated Mi Familia Vota had committed voter fraud by submitting thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms to the county. But the group hadn't submitted new voter registrations -- instead, they were signing up already registered voters to the permanent early voting list, meaning they'd get an early ballot mailed to them every year. The top county elections official said that there was no evidence of fraud.

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