TPM News

The new Rasmussen poll of the California Senate race shows Republican former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina continuing to trail Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, despite Fiorina's landslide win in Tuesday's GOP primary.

The numbers: Boxer 48%, Fiorina 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. The previous Rasmussen poll from a month ago had Boxer ahead of Fiorina by 45%-38%.

The TPM Poll Average has Boxer ahead by 45.7%-40.2%.

Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in the top-tier race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has recruited some big-name talent coming off her win in the Republican primary: The media team that previously helped Republican Sen. Scott Brown pull off his big victory in Massachusetts.

Angle has signed up Prosper Group, which managed Brown's website and fundraising operation, the Associated Press reports. Brown was able to raise $12 million online, in a race in which he defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in heavily-Dem Massachusetts. Reid already had over $9 million on hand as of May 19, according to FEC reports, and reportedly plans to raise as much as $25 million total for the race.

The TPM Poll Average has Angle ahead of Reid by 45.2%-40.5%. The Democrats plan to take down Angle by playing up her various extreme stances and associations, such as her ties to the Oath-Keepers, her backing of a Scientologist-designed prison drug rehab program, her opposition to Social Security, etc.

The first tapes made from wiretaps on the phones of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his associates were played yesterday in Blago's corruption trial in Chicago federal court.

The tapes paint the former governor as desperate for campaign funds.

In one tape, Blagojevich can be heard telling his brother, Rob, to hit up everyone he can for donations, hoping to reach a $4 million campaign goal.

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Democrats are continuing to hammer House Minority Leader John Boehner for suggesting that the government should bear some of the financial burdens of the Gulf oil spill, despite the fact that his office now insists BP should cover every last cent.

At her weekly press event this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed her commitment to holding BP fully accountable for the spill, and backed a legislative initiative to lift a $75 million liability cap on oil companies...but she also snuck in a pot shot.

Asked by a reporter to respond to Boehner's contention that any changes to the liability law should be kicked down the road, Pelosi couldn't resist.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Nevada gubernatorial race shows Republican Brian Sandoval, a former federal judge who easily defeated incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons in the GOP primary, way ahead of Democratic Clark County Commission Chair Rory Reid, son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The numbers: Sandoval 54%, Reid 31%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. This result in fact shows little movement from previous polls, before Sandoval's much-expected primary win over the scandal-plagued Gibbons. The previous Rasmussen poll, from all the way back in late March had Sandoval ahead 55%-34%. The TPM Poll Average has Sandoval ahead 52.3%-36.2%.

As we've previously noted, this race is quite unique, with a father and son appearing together on the same statewide ballot as the elder Reid simultaneously seeks re-election to his Senate seat. At the time I wrote the post in December, I asked various political experts whether they knew of a prior high-profile example. They did not -- this might actually be the first time in U.S. political history.

In an interview on MSNBC this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mentioned that the root of the financial crisis lies in the policies of the Bush administration.

So, reporter Chuck Todd asked whether voters would tire of hearing Pelosi and her party blame today's problems on the last president.

"When do you feel like that runs out with the public?" Todd asked.

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Jon Stewart had Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on his show last night, and asked him whether he was planning on running for President in 2012. Pawlenty replied that he doesn't have the things a candidate needs to run these days: "I don't have a billion dollars. I don't have novelty. I don't have a big schtick."

"What do you mean like a ventriloquist dummy?" Stewart asked.

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Using catchy slogans and scary rhetoric, the Republicans have done a masterful job of painting themselves as the party of austerity and fiscal discipline. "Where are the jobs?" "Runaway deficits." "Government takeover." After years of profligacy, they say, they've gotten religion, and can be trusted to run the show once again. But scratch lightly and, just below that veneer, you'll find that nothing has changed at all.

"I've admitted that Republicans made their fair share of mistakes when they had the majority in this institution," said House Minority Leader John Boehner at his weekly press conference yesterday morning. "But I think our members have learned their lessons."

The lesson, though, is that Republicans were right all along--tax cuts can cure all that ails the country--and that they just fell into a brief trap of allowing too much discretionary spending.

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