TPM News

Tom Ganley, the Republican nominee for Congress in the OH-13 race against incumbent Democrat Betty Sutton, clarified his earlier comments that he did not have a position on whether President Obama is a Muslim -- now saying that he has no reason not to believe the White House's statements that Obama is a Christian. Furthermore, he also said that the question was "irrelevant" to his campaign.

Ganley told Roll Call yesterday:"I don't have a position on whether he's a Muslim." This line of questioning came in the wake of a Pew national poll showing that 18% of Americans think that Obama is a Muslim -- nearly twice the number from last year.

Later in the day, Ganley sent Roll Call a statement. "During an interview earlier today, I was asked a question about President Obama's religion that I felt irrelevant to the story being written about my campaign for Congress," he said. "I do not believe President Obama's religion has any impact on the need for jobs in Ohio's 13th district. According to the White House, our President is a Christian and I have no reason to believe otherwise."

New York gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio (R) is getting a lot of flack for his video that uses 9/11 footage to oppose the proposed Cordoba House Islamic center a few blocks from Ground Zero.

Most recently, the New York City firefighters union sent Lazio a letter expressing "surprise and disappointment" that Lazio would use the imagery for an attack ad against Democrat Andrew Cuomo, and urging him to remove the video.

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I know we said that we were going to stop posting every single thing Taiwan's Next Media Animation does (they post new stuff every day and, y'know, diminishing returns and all), but this is pretty great. And it is a Friday. So, they've tackled the Rod Blagojevich story and, as always, we can learn new things about America when viewed through the eyes of outsiders.

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Remember that Florida "church" with the plan to torch a pile of Korans in commemoration of 9/11? Turns out there's one thing they weren't counting on: a local Fire Department that's stingy with outdoor fire permits.

According to the Gainesville Sun, fire chief Gene Prince told the church "that under the city's fire prevention ordinance, an open burning of books is not allowed." Turns out town code 10-63, a "General prohibition on outdoor burning and open burning," specifically outlaws the burning of (section 6) "Newspaper" and (7) "Corrugated cardboard, container board, office paper."

Apparently, bound copies of Islam's holy text fall into those categories. But you didn't really think the Dove World Outreach Center was going to let a pesky fire chief stop its planned tribute to the men and women who died in the terror attacks, did you? The Sun reports that in an email message sent out by the church Wednesday, Dove World proclaims, "City of Gainesville denies burn permit -- BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS."

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The Democratic National Committee has a new cable TV ad up that brings back the image of the man that Dems have tried to use as their great bogeyman: Former President George W. Bush.

"This fall, America faces a big choice," the narrator says. "Do we continue to move forward like Democrats are doing: Investing in education for every child, manufacturing right here at home, clean energy powering a new economy. Do we put Main Street ahead of Wall Street? Do we hold big business accountable when they've gone too far? Or do we go back to the same Republican policies that got us into this mess?"

The ad then shows old video of a verbally bumbling Bush: "You fool me, you can't get fooled again."

The announcer then says: "This fall, our choice is clear."

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A new Rasmussen poll shows Republican nominee John Boozman way, way out in front of Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the Arkansas Senate race.

The latest survey finds Boozman with a huge lead in the contest, 65%-27%. This is an even larger lead than Rasmussen's July 20 poll of the race, which showed Boozman on top 60%-35%. The Republican has established himself as the clear favorite in the race, maintaining a large lead over his Democratic opponent in recent months' polls.

The TPM Poll Average shows Boozman cruising, leading Lincoln 60.3%-31.2%. The margin of error for the latest poll is ±4.5 percentage points.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

U.S. treasuries have rallied substantially year to date, driving down their yield to what some believe to be bubble-like levels.

Yet there's another fixed income market booming right now -- Sukuk's, or Islamic bonds. Sukuk's don't technically pay interest, they rather pay a portion of cashflow, similar to a bond yield, related to an underlying investment in order to be compliant with Islamic law.


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Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean appeared last night on Countdown, to defend his remarks that the Muslim community center project near Ground Zero in New York should be moved to a different location. During the interview, Dean called for a dialogue between 9/11 families and the center's organizers -- and insisted that he was not associating himself in any way with the outspoken opponents on the right such as Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

Keith Olbermann mentioned during his introduction of Dean that Arshad Hasan, the head of the Dean-founded liberal political group Democracy For America, has criticized Democrats -- without directly mentioning Dean -- who have sought to compromise with an "implacable opposition." And Olbermann put tough questions to Dean, such as asking what compromise he can imagine people like Gingrich and Palin would accept.

"Yes, I don't think the Sarah Palins and Newt Gingriches have any interest. They're clearly exploiting this for whatever political gain they think they can get out of it," said Dean. "But I think there are some people of good will, perhaps, including some of the families of the victims that we might actually sit down around a table with. This is a tough issue I think some of my own folks on my end of the spectrum of the party are demonizing some fairly decent people who are opposed to this. And, again, in no way am I defending, you know, the right wing of the Republican Party.

"But there are 65 percent of the people in this country are not right-wing bigots. Some of them really have deep emotional feelings about this. And I think we at least ought to respectfully hear them and sit down with Muslim-Americans and with some of the people that object to this, and have a thoughtful, reasonable dialogue and see what comes out of it. And in order for it to be a fair, thoughtful and reasonable dialogue, you have to be willing to move."

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Stephen Colbert announced on his show last night that on September 8 and 9 he will dedicate his show to honoring American troops who have recently withdrawn from Iraq.

Called "Been There, Won That: The Returnification of the Ameri-Can-Do Troopscape," the special will feature appearances by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), General Ray Odierno, and Vice President Joe Biden.

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