TPM News

The Republican nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey, is leading the race against Democratic nominee Joe Sestak 47-41, according to a new poll for Fox News conducted by a subsidiary of the Rasmussen polling company. The survey of 1000 likely voters was conducted Saturday and has a margin of error of 3.0%.

Recent past polling of the race has also shown Toomey ahead. The TPM Poll Average shows the Republican leading the race 46.9-40.1.

According to Fox, polling on the ground shows a tough environment for Democrats.

"Half of respondents said they wanted their vote to represent opposition to the policies of the Obama administration, and 56 percent favored repealing the president's national health care program," the pollsters report. "Only 40 percent approved of the job Obama is doing as president. The president carried Pennsylvania in a 10-point landslide in 2008."

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People hurt by the Gulf oil spill can't sue BP until after they take their claim to the oil company's $20 billion escrow fund, BP argued in a court memo filed yesterday.

BP's lawyers say the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires victims to bring their claims directly to the responsible party first. In this case, BP says, that's the escrow fund funded by BP and administered by Kenneth Feinberg.

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The new Fox News poll of the Nevada Senate race gives Republican Sharron Angle a one-point edge over Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The numbers: Angle 45%, Reid 44%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. There is no prior Fox poll for direct comparison. (However, this poll was conducted through a Rasmussen offshoot, Pulse Opinion Research, which performs made-to-order robopolls. The previous Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago gave Reid a 50%-47% lead, after undecided voters were pushed.) The TPM Poll Average currently puts Reid ahead by 47.2%-44.3%.

From Fox's analysis: "Reid is unpopular, but he does have ardent supporters. While only 63 percent of those backing Angle said they "strongly" supported the former state senator (sic - Angle was a state representative), Reid got strong support from 77 percent of his backers. If enough of Angle's lukewarm supporters ditch her in favor of a protest vote, Reid can win the election and not move much beyond the 44 percent he garnered in the poll."

Democrats are calling it a game-changer that might just save their butts in November. Republicans are shouting loudly from the rooftops they want the Bush-era tax cuts to be made permanent and that they think that means they will win this fall.

Whichever happens on Nov. 2, it all started with Minority Leader John Boehner's surprise embrace for President Obama's tax-cut plan. Boehner said if it was the only option presented to his party, he'd support Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats in voting for an extension of the tax cuts for the middle class only.

Republicans are being very coy about blasting Boehner (R-OH) openly just as the Democrats are reminding the nation that he wants to be speaker of the House should the GOP win back control. But reading between the lines of their actions, it's pretty clear that few of his colleagues agree with Boehner. Could it spell trouble for the GOP?

Let's roll tape.

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J. Christian Adams, the former DOJ lawyer at the heart of the New Black Panthers case, has sent letter to 16 states warning them that they are breaking voter law by not removing dead and ineligible voters from their rolls.

"I'm just interested in compliance with Section 8," Adams told TPMmuckraker yesterday, referring to the provision in the National Voter Registration Act -- known as the "motor voter law" -- which requires states to make a reasonable effort to remove ineligible voters from its registration lists.

"Voter fraud is not my concern," Adams said. "My concern is compliance."

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Florida's school children are getting a lesson in how the political winds affect the political backbone today. Last year, Jim Greer, then the chair of the Florida Republican Party, was happy to, as he says now, "placate the extremists who dominate" the GOP and publicly accuse President Obama of orchestrating a socialist plot by addressing the nation's public schools via video.

Today, he's apologizing for ever saying any such thing, and calling members of his former party racist.

It seems that after a year which saw Greer get booted from the GOP and disgraced by scandal, he's had a change of heart with it comes to the president using his office to encourage and inspire the nation's pupils. In a statement sent to Florida reporters today, Greer completely apologizes to Obama for slamming his 2009 speech. Greer says the vitriol he threw Obama's way -- and the national kerfuffle it caused -- was part of his efforts to appease the party's extremes. (What's more, Greer suggests that it's now the GOP that's promoting ugliness, saying that "many" Republicans "have racist views.")

Unlike last year, Greer says his kids are excited about hearing Obama's speech to schoolchildren today.

"My children and I look forward to the President's speech," Greer says.

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News reports yesterday generated speculation that the Obama administration will offer Elizabeth Warren a so-called "interim appointment" to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The authority for the Treasury Department to grant an interim appointment -- distinct from a "recess appointment" -- comes from the financial reform law itself.

In dismissing the rumor last night, though, Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd -- who authored the law -- claimed he'd never heard of the interim appointment power.

"I don't know what it is. I never heard of it before," said a flabbergasted Dodd to TPMDC. "It's kind of unique isn't it?"

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Jerry Brown is now apologizing for taking a shot at Bill Clinton in the course of the California gubernatorial race, after his Republican opponent launched an ad using 18-year-old footage of Clinton attacking Brown when they ran against each other for president.

The Whitman ad showed Clinton accusing Brown of raising taxes when he was previously governor of California in the 1970s and early 1980s. Brown responded in an interesting way, with some amateur video to match.

"I mean Clinton's a nice guy, but who ever said he always told the truth?" Brown joked to a crowd of supporters, which prompted them to cheer a joke at the expense of their party's former president. "You remember, right? There's that whole story there about, did he or didn't he. Okay, I did -- I did not have taxes with this state! So let's be clear about that. Thank you very much."

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