TPM News

Muslim Mafia author Dave Gaubatz says in a new interview that his open call for a Winnebago, a pair of motorcycles, and $25,000 to conduct counterterrorism research in North Carolina was "bait" designed to draw attention away from real field research he was conducting elsewhere.

"While Elliot [sic] and like terrorist supporters were focused on my 'alleged' research in NC, I was hundreds of miles away conducting research in other locations," Gaubatz tells FrontPageMag, a Web publication edited by David Horowitz.

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Poll: Public Opposes Afghanistan War -- And Favors More Troops For It? A new CNN poll finds a somewhat contradictory result regarding the war in Afghanistan. The poll has 50% of respondents favoring a troop surge in Afghanistan, with 49% opposing it. At the same time, only 45% favor the war, with 52% opposing it -- meaning that there are a few respondents who oppose the war, and want to send more troops.

Obama's Day Ahead The President and First Lady will welcome Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur to the White House, at 9:15 a.m. ET. President Obama and P.M. Singh will hold a bilateral meeting at 10:20 a.m. ET, with an expanded bilateral meeting at 10:55 a.m. ET, and a joint press conference at 11:35 a.m. Et. President Obama will meet with senior advisers at 2 p.m. ET, and with Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 3:10 p.m. ET. The President and Vice President will meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at 4:30 p.m. ET. The President and First Lady will greet P.M. Singh and Mrs. Kaur at 7 p.m. ET on arrival for a state dinner, and host the dinner at 8:15 p.m. ET.

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President Obama completed his ninth and what is expected to be final meeting of the War Council last night, and all signs suggest he'll be announcing the decision in a primetime address next week.

The meeting ran just shy of two hours, with Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag was present in the Situation Room for the first time.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released a statement:

"After completing a rigorous final meeting, President Obama has the information he wants and needs to make his decision and he will announce that decision within days."

Several reports this morning say Obama will tell the nation his decision Dec. 1. His top general and U.S. commander in the field also have been told to prepare to testify on Capitol Hill next week.

President Obama will sit down with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tomorrow, an afternoon meeting amid a packed White House schedule.

The White House hasn't offered up their agenda but it's safe to assume Obama, nearing a decision on Afghanistan, will discuss the expected troop buildup with Pelosi (D-CA).

Obama tonight for two hours huddled with his War Council, the ninth and mostly likely final meeting before he announces if he will send the surge of troops recommended by Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

There are several reports out tonight suggesting he's made the decision, and NPR is reporting he would announce it Dec. 1.

The White House isn't offering any guidance, and aides have said for weeks Obama wants to communicate the decision with the American people and lay out a clear exit plan and benchmarks for success.

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In a post on his web site this weekend, Glenn Beck revealed that he is working on a "100-year plan" to "restore our nation to the maximum freedoms we were supposed to have been protecting" in what he calls the "Refounding."

Salon reports that Beck announced "The Plan" at a speech Saturday in The Villages, a massive retirement community in Florida.

"I've done a lot of reading on history in the last few years. And I was amazed to find that what we're experiencing now is really a ticking time bomb that they designed about a hundred years ago, at the beginning of the Progressive Movement," Beck said.

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Nancy Brinker, the founder of the world's largest breast cancer cure advocacy group, is dismissing claims that last week's battle over new proposed breast cancer screening guidelines should be a warning sign in the health care reform debate. She told nervous women not to read anything into the timing of the controversial new guidelines, which she rejects.

"People release data all the time," Brinker said at a press conference this afternoon. Brinker is the founder of the Susan G. Komen For The Cure foundation, the largest organization in the world devoted to breast cancer research. She attacked the report, but dismissed attempts to make the report a political football in the health care debate.

"I don't think so," she said, when asked if the panel was "influenced" by the debate over reform.

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College football's Bowl Championship Series, the system for selecting which two teams will compete in the national championship game, has hired former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer to improve its tarnished image among football fans.

Opponents of the BCS argue that its system of using polls and computer data to select teams should be replaced by playoffs, and some have even formed a PAC to lobby against the BCS.

"Playoff advocates have had an easy ride where they have never been called on to explain exactly how they would create an alternative. There is tremendous division among playoff advocates," Fleischer told Politico. "While the BCS has its share of critics, once people see both sides of the issue, they will see why the system has its great support."

Fleischer's firm specializes in media training for sports organizations, offering interview prep, crisis management training and other services. He's worked for Major League Baseball and Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, among others, according to his firm's web site.

Republican National Committee communications director Trevor Francis is leaving the party's press shop after a yearlong stint working for chairman Mike Steele.

Steele's response: "Trevor took a hiatus from a very successful private sector career to give service to the Republican Party this year. Trevor's talents will be missed at the RNC. We have accomplished a great deal in the year he was here. He worked tirelessly, as did the whole team, on the victories in Virginia and his home state of New Jersey."

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza first reported the departure and he suggests it could mean there's some "turmoil" at the party.

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