TPM News

President Obama rallied college students in Madison, Wisconsin last night, returning to his fiery 2008 campaign rhetoric and telling young voters he needs them "to stay fired up."

You can watch the full speech below. It's part of a big push from the Obama White House to rekindle the campaign energy from two years ago in hopes of saving the House for the Democratic Party.

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Surprise Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell cites an important source for her decision to have stayed in a Senate race that few people think she can win: God hasn't let her quit.

In a news segment with the Christian Broadcasting Network -- taped before her recently announced decision to stop doing national media interviews -- O'Donnell talked about how her Republican primary battle against Rep. Mike Castle seemed like such a long shot, and how she found the strength to keep going.

"God continued to strengthen and empower us, when you know his strength is perfected in our weakness, and that's exciting," said O'Donnell. "Because you see that if it weren't for faith, when all logic said it's time to quit, we pursued, we marched on, because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now, with such an important lame duck session, you realize why we were to endure all that stuff."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O'Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]

The TPM Poll Average gives Democratic nominee Chris Coons a lead of 55.0%-39.6%.

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A key witness in the federal government's retrial against an associate of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has decided to recant testimony he gave in the first trial.

John Albaugh, former chief of staff to Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK), told prosecutors he no longer feels he gave favors to clients of Jack Abramoff's firm because lobbyists had given him free meals and event tickets, the Associated Press reported.

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President Obama plans to meet with Democratic leaders on Thursday in one final huddle before members of Congress head home for the midterm elections.

Obama has stepped up his political activity recently, and White House aides say he and Vice President Joe Biden will be frequently on the trail to help their candidates try and retain control of Congress.

An administration official told TPM that leaders from both the House and Senate will meet with Obama Thursday afternoon at the White House. As we've been reporting, House Democrats are wrestling over whether to hold a vote on extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class before the election. That decision is likely to be final by the time Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team arrive at the White House tomorrow.

James O'Keefe, the young conservative activist who secretly recorded meetings with ACORN and was convicted in May of entering Sen. Mary Landrieu's office under false pretenses, allegedly tried to "punk" CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau by luring her on to a boat and seducing her.

CNN reports on the scheme today, a few days before airing a documentary on O'Keefe and other young conservatives called "Right on the Edge." The incident happened in August, when Boudreau was working on the documentary.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Ambush 'Filmmaker' James O'Keefe: From The ACORN Sting To Failed CNN Punking]

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Stephen Colbert was rather confused last night about the GOP's "Pledge To America," since John Boehner announced that it means "we are not going to be any different than we've been." Colbert said: "Yes, everything's going to be different -- except anything."

But, he continued, at least the Republicans are perkier than the Democrats: "Democrats are feeling disaffected. Which is different than most elections when they are stoked with cautious skepticism."

Colbert added: "In fact, Democratic self-loathing has gotten so bad that they've changed their symbol from the silhouette of a donkey to Eeyore eating a whole chocolate cheesecake."

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A few weeks ago, residents of Sidney, New York, demanded that Muslims dig up and move the bodies of their dead relatives from a private Muslim cemetery. And last night, Stephen Colbert came out in support of the effort: "How dare those Muslims build a grave so close to... ground?"

He continued that "usually when you die, your threat level decreases significantly," but based on Sidney's actions, Colbert had no choice but to reach the "terrifying conclusion" that there is something new to be afraid of: "Muslim vampires."

It's "not just sleeper cells," Colbert said. It's "sleeper-in-coffin cells."

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A new ad in the three-way Senate race in Florida shows independent candidate Charlie Crist for the man he was for years: a prominent name in the Republican Party. That could be enough to sink him.

Coverage of the spot has called it "crushing" and a "death blow" for Crist's campaign. But really the ad is just a collection of Crist's past statements on camera (some less than a month old) espousing his own conservatism and his connection to the GOP.

Those connections are many. Crist, as you'll recall, was a rising star of the GOP in 2008, appearing on John McCain's shortlist for vice-presidential nominees before being heavily courted by the NRSC to run for Florida's open Senate seat. All that came before Marco Rubio and the tea party upended things for Republicans like Crist, eventually pushing Crist to leave the party and run for the Senate as an independent. But even that road was a bumpy one, with Crist first trying to shift hard to the right to take on Rubio before changing direction and running just as hard to the left to pick up Democratic votes as an independent.

All of this happened on camera, of course, meaning the stage was set for Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek's new ad the moment Crist changed parties. Still, the fact that Crist's past is such an obvious liability speaks to the problems he's facing stealing votes from the effective Meek.

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A new Susquehanna (R)/Sunshine State News poll of Florida's 8th District shows fiery liberal Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson trailing his Republican opponent, former state Sen. Dan Webster.

The numbers: Webster 43%, Grayson 36%, plus 6% for Tea Party candidate Peg Dunmire and independent George Metcalfe. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.14% margin of error. There is no previous poll of this race by this firm for direct comparison

The pollster's analysis finds that Grayson's unfavorable rating is at 51%: "He's even more unpopular than the president, which is not surprising given how controversial he has been with his rhetoric, overall style and TV ads."

Grayson's district has historically voted Republican, but swept him into office with the 2008 Obama wave. Since then, he has distinguished himself mainly by his over-the-top attacks on Republicans. In some ways, it seems like he's made a point of attacking Republicans with the same vitriolic rhetoric they use against Democrats. For example, he famously said the Republican health care plan is for people who get sick to "die quickly," imagined Dick Cheney as a vampire, and recently released an ad dubbing Webster "Taliban Dan," declaring that Webster is out to oppress women -- and in the latter case, appearing to take Webster's full comments out of context from the original video.

After testifying at a hearing about a proposed mosque in Tennessee, Sharia law "expert" Frank Gaffney went on Anderson Cooper last night to explain why, exactly, the mosque could be another victory for radical American Muslims who want to destroy the United States from within.

Imams' agenda to impose Sharia law "ultimately winds up becoming a cancer inside a society," Gaffney claimed. "No-go zones are typically associated with it where the authorities dare not go. Sharia law is practiced in those no-go zones. They are expanded in due course. And ultimately, you have the groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, with whom many of these mosques and for that matter, Muslim-American organizations of any note, are associated, pursuing a mission that we know, from evidence introduced into another federal trial, is to destroy western civilization from within. That's really worrying."

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