TPM News

This summer, Louisiana Dems hinted that their fall strategy to defeat Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) would be to vividly remind voters of Vitter's prostitute-laden scandal sheet. They unveiled a five-minute web ad that included a reenactment and a recreation of the "crime scene" where Vitter and a prostitute liaised.

Now, his challenger, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA), has turned that web ad into a two-minute long TV spot, which will run on Louisiana cable statewide starting tonight or tomorrow.

The web-ad went viral on YouTube, and its successor contains much of the same footage that made Internet version so compelling. Melancon has lagged about 10 points behind Vitter for most of the campaign, but polls show that many Louisiana voters remain unaware of Vitter's previous scandals. In the final stretch of the campaign, Dems are hoping to change that.


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With the recent news that Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in Nevada who is running on a platform of tearing down big government, actually receives government health care benefits through her husband's pension as a former federal employee, let's take a look at some of her best anti-government lines.

It is, of course, quite interesting that a candidate who so strongly opposes the federal government receives compensation from them. So let's keep in mind some of these really, really anti-government positions she has taken.

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One of the more progressive members of President Obama's fiscal commission acknowledged last night that the panel may find itself gridlocked if Republicans refuse to budge and agree to propose increasing tax revenue.

In a brief interview in the Senate press gallery, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin summed it up this way: "Any honest appraisal of our job and how we do it requires raising tax revenue, and reducing spending. If you don't do those two things, you can't reach your goal."

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Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is holding up President Obama's key economic appointee in critical fiscal times over a local issue his economic team has no control over, giving Republicans campaign ammunition and throwing a wrench into budget planning just as the Senate is set to go home for the elections.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and other top administration officials have been pleading with Landrieu (D-LA) to release her hold on the nomination of Jack Lew to be President Obama's new Office of Management and Budget director. But Landrieu says she won't budge until the moratorium on Gulf Coast drilling is lifted.

OMB doesn't have jurisdiction over drilling, and Democrats are privately outraged someone from their own party would block such a critical nomination -- with several suggesting the state of gridlock in the Senate has reached an untenable level. What's more, the delay to install Lew creates big budgetary problems just as the administration is prepping for several major initiatives, including the 2012 spending blueprint.

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Claremont Graduate University tells TPM that Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell did not attend the Southern California school despite listing it under education on her LinkedIn profile.

Rod Leveque, a spokesman for the school, told TPM tonight:

Claremont Graduate University has no student or education record for an individual named Christine O'Donnell.

The discrepancy was first reported by Gary Scott, a radio producer in Los Angeles and longtime political reporter and editor.

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

[TPM VIDEO: Christine O'Donnell's Greatest Hits]

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Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown clashed tonight in their first gubernatorial debate, with Brown charging Whitman only wanted to help billionaires like herself and Whitman slamming Brown as beholden to public employee unions. The two sparred for an hour in a debate that focused almost exclusively on the Golden State's economy and how they'd fix gridlock in Sacramento.

Moderators of the debate asked Whitman about charges she'd tried to "buy" California votes by spending more than $119 million so far, and with five weeks still to go before election day. The governor's race in California is usually battled on the television airwaves, and Whitman's ads have been bombarding voters for months.

"I don't think you can buy elections, I think Californians are too smart," Whitman said. "What you can do is get your message out."

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Scott McAdams, the Democratic nominee in the topsy-turvy Alaska Senate race, has a new ad introducing himself to the voters of the state as a regular guy aboard a fishing boat -- getting cursed at in Norwegian.

McAdams is running against Republican lawyer Joe Miller and incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is running as a write-in candidate after she lost her primary. Recent polling has put Miller in first, Murkowski in second, and McAdams in third. McAdams's ad shows him on a rustic fishing boat, with his voiceover narration asking voters to look past the race's soap opera aspects.

"This is a long way from D.C. I'm Scott McAdams, and I'm not your usual Senate candidate. I grew up in Petersburg, was a deckhand in the Bering Sea, went to college in Sitka, and married up. I've been a teacher, a mayor, and a dad. Here's the difference between me, Joe and Lisa: They think this campaign is all about them. I think it's about Alaska, and getting our fair share.

"I approved this message -- because after you've been cursed at in Norwegian, you can take on anyone."

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a new attack ad out in the Delaware Senate race, further hammering Republican nominee Christine O'Donnell. Like their previous ad, the DSCC stays away from O'Donnell's numerous controversial statements and right-wing positions, and instead focuses on her personal finances -- and her campaign finances, and how the two seem to be mixed together.

"Christine O'Donnell spends money like she's already in Washington," the announcer says. "She put her mother on her campaign payroll. She spent campaign money on personal expenses -- including dinners, travel, even paying half her rent.

"So Christine O'Donnell spent money on herself, but she didn't pay her own employees. Christine O'Donnell. She thinks it's all about her. When we need someone who's all about us."

[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%. So it seems quite interesting that the Dems are dropping money here. Then again, O'Donnell has been raising money hand over fist online, so that probably does need to be countered.

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Rand Paul will make your grandma pay $2,000 to get Medicare treatments, according to a new TV ad from Paul's rival in the Kentucky Senate race, Democratic nominee Jack Conway. Using a new video from the deep trove of potential oppo research Paul has left in his wake, the Conway camp has put together a tough ad that -- literally -- shows Paul creeping out very nice old ladies.

Back in 2009, Paul told a group of "conservative leaders in Lexington" (Conway's camp isn't being/can't be more specific) that if he had his druthers, Medicare coverage would come with a $2,000 deductible to help reduce the cost of the program.

"We have to figure out how to get to more of a market-based system," Paul says in the 2009 appearance, which was captured on video and sent over by Conway's team. "The real answer to Medicare would be a $2,000 deductible -- but try selling that one in an election year."

Needless to say, the prospect of forking over $2,000 to get treatment covered by Medicare would likely be controversial one among seniors groups. Conway's ad predicts the possible outcome of Paul's Medicare plan with a series of upset old people speaking directly to camera.

"I can't afford that," says one woman.

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Former President Jimmy Carter, hospitalized earlier today after reportedly suffering from an upset stomach during a Cleveland-bound flight, will remain hospitalized overnight.

A statement from MetroHealth Systems spokesperson Susan Christopher says:

Upon further examination by MetroHealth Medical Center physicians, it was determined that Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter would be admitted to the hospital for continued observation. He is fully alert and participating in all decision-making related to his care. The decision to admit him overnight is purely precautionary.

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