TPM News

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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On The Daily Show last night, correspondents Wyatt Cenac and Aasif Mandvi reprised their roles as "Team Jesus" and "Team Mohammad," respectively, to embrace the impending religious war between Christianity and Islam. Mandvi praised the Christians for their "restraint," saying: "Muslims did threaten to build a mosque in lower Manhattan. And that's only five Terry Jones mustache-lengths away from his congregation in Florida!"

Cenac showed equal deference: "Pastor Jones isn't going to burn the Koran. But one of us will. And soon!"

Jon Stewart himself was a little bit taken aback. "You should both maybe tone it down," he said. "I feel like this is inciting religious conflicts...Are you trying to incite religious conflict?!" When Cenac and Mandvi said yes, Stewart asked: "So the bottom line is, both groups are hoping for an apocalyptic event?"

Cenac replied: "Have you ever read our religious books?"

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Jon Stewart was incredulous that Florida pastor Terry Jones decided not to burn copies of the Koran because God supposedly told him not to. "Oh really," Stewart said last night. "God's telling you to stop? When God told you to do it originally, he hadn't anticipated the backlash?

"I think you might be confusing 'God' with 'everybody else in the world,'" he said.

Stewart continued: "Let me ask you this. When God told you not to burn the Koran, did it sound something like this: 'Don't be a fucking idiot, dude!' Cause that's not God. That's everybody."

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Lost in the tax cut dust House Minority Leader John Boehner kicked up Sunday is the fact that a number of Democrats have recently been open to the idea of a grand bargain on the Bush tax cuts: A brief extension of the cuts for top earners paired with a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the middle class. One of those Democrats is DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen.

"If [Republicans] were to come back and say, 'hey, let's just do one year for the top 2 percent, and permanent for the middle class,' that would be something that obviously people would have to think about," Van Hollen said in an interview with Bloomberg this past weekend.

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Today, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will be holding its national conference at the National Press Club in D.C. As we told you yesterday, the conservative-dominated Commission is under fire from civil rights organizations for ignoring important issues, and many organizations wouldn't be attending the conference at all.

Late yesterday, Commissioner Michael Yaki, who was appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), issued a statement slamming the conservatives on the commission for keeping him and two other commissioners out of the planning of the conference, which he called "woefully short on civil rights."

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The new Quinnipiac poll of the Connecticut Senate race shows Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon seriously closing the gap against Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The numbers: Blumenthal 51%, McMahon 45%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.3% margin of error. In the survey from early August -- which used a wider pool of registered voters -- Blumenthal led by 50%-40%. The TPM Poll Average shows Blumenthal leading by 50.3%-43.0%.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Bringing The Smackdown: Linda McMahon's Campaign For Senate, And Her Colorful Pro-Wrestling Past]

Interestingly, the poll shows that Blumenthal's personal rating remains high at 55%-39%, and he has a 70%-26% approval rating as state Attorney General.

"For Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, an elected official with a 70 percent approval rating, this race is surprisingly close. It is not that voters are wild about McMahon; her favorability rating is tepid. And many of her supporters are more anti-Blumenthal," writes Quinnipiac polling director Dr. Douglas Schwartz. "The question is whether Linda McMahon can ride the anti-establishment, anti-Democratic wave to victory in blue Connecticut, a state that hasn't voted for a Republican for Senator since Lowell Weicker in 1982."

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Big Primaries Today Today is the last big primary day of the 2010 cycle, with major Senate and gubernatorial primaries in Delaware, New Hampshire, New York and Wisconsin, plus other races in Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Obama will meet at 10:30 a.m. ET with senior advisers. Obama will depart from the White House at 11:30 a.m. ET, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 11:45 a.m. ET, arriving at 12:30 p.m. ET in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 1 p.m. ET, he will deliver his second annual Back-to-School Speech. He will depart from Philadelphia at 2 p.m. ET, arriving back at Andrews Air Force Base at 2:40 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 2:55 p.m. ET.

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Republicans are widely expected to make significant gains this November, possibly, perhaps even probably, taking back control of the House of Representatives. This is to be expected to some extent, as the Democrats enjoyed two big wave elections in 2006 and 2008, and many of those House members won't be coming back. But there are some other Dems, who in many other cycles would be safe bets to be reelected, that have unexpectedly ended up in tough races after longer tenures in Congress.

[TPM'S TOP 10 HOUSE RACES TO WATCH]

The House members we're talking about are folks who have been easily re-elected in past cycles, often without significant opposition, in districts that were leaning Republican in other ways, such as in the presidential vote. But in a year where the GOP has the wind at their backs, these Dems are now being aggressively targeted, and facing tough races.

"You always have some Congressmen who have been shaky," said Professor Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia, in an interview with TPM. "You think of John Spratt. Look at his district, where it is in South Carolina, he's never really that safe. Ike Skelton [of Missouri] -- they're just never that safe. They get a lot of passes, and their incumbency and their chairmanships help them. But every now and then the sun and the moon and the stars align just right and they're in trouble. It doesn't mean they'll lose, but they'll have close and competitive races, anyway."

So let's take a look at some of the Dems who have been in Congress for awhile -- and somewhat surprisingly, will have to work hard this year to stay there. This list is not exhaustive of all suddenly-vulnerable Dems, nor is it meant to imply that all or even any of them are guaranteed to lose. But it does give a sense of the current hostile environment and lack of Democratic enthusiasm -- especially as it spreads to districts that have been becoming more Republican underneath their occupants' feet.

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