TPM News

A new Rasmussen poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race finds former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) out in front against Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak in a race that some polls have shown to be a dead heat. Rasmussen puts Toomey up 45%-39%, a margin comparable to that from Rasmussen's poll of the race from two weeks ago, which gave Toomey a 45%-38% lead.

Other polls have depicted a much tighter race. A July 11 Quinnipiac poll showed Toomey and Sestak neck-and-neck with 43% each, and a PPP poll from June 21 showed both candidates with 41%. Each Rasmussen poll since June, however, has given Toomey a six- or seven-point edge.

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Not even the epic fail of former Tea Party Express chairman/spokesman Mark Williams can slow the tea party movement on it's path to world domination. At least that's what tea partiers tell me.

As we reach the one-week anniversary of Williams' resignation from the TPE after a racist blog post he wrote caused a firestorm both inside the tea party movement and out, movement leaders say they've shaken off Williams and moved on -- if they'll talk about him at all.

"Isn't it weird how these things turn out?" said Shelby Blakely, a member of the Tea Party Patriots National Leadership Council and executive director of the group's online publication, the New Patriot Journal. Blakely said that, ironically, Williams has helped the tea party movement by leading to the public shaming of the TPE, which the Tea Party Patriots have long viewed as an impostor to the cause.

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Today's Quinnipiac poll of the Florida governor's race shows both potential Republican nominees edging out Democrat Alex Sink. Republican businessman Rick Scott, the frontrunner in the GOP primary, leads Sink 29%-27%, with Independent Bud Chiles grabbing 14%. In a separate matchup, Republican state Attorney General Bill McCollum narrowly leads Sink 27%-26%, while Chiles takes third, again with 14%.

Quinnipiac's new numbers show a big improvement for Sink since its last survey, on June 7, which showed Sink down nine against Scott and down eight against McCollum.

A July 18 PPP poll showed Sink ahead of Scott and McCollum by six and 14 points respectively, and a July 11 Reuters/Ipsos survey showed Scott leading Sink 34%-31% but Sink edging McCollum 31%-30%.

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At the beginning of the first House ethics trial since Jim Traficant was kicked out of Congress, lawmakers yesterday rattled off a list of charges against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY).

Unless Rangel cuts a deal in which he admits wrongdoing -- something his lawyers are reportedly still trying to do, although Rangel has been adamant about professing his innocence -- he will face a very public trial on the 13 alleged violations, just weeks before the midterm elections. The trial could end with a recommendation to expel Rangel from the House.

So how did we get here?

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All 41 Senate Republicans yesterday filibustered a jobs package comprised largely of tax cuts.

You read that right. Republicans filibustered tax cuts.

By the GOP's own admission, the underlying legislation has broad bipartisan support. It would create a $30 billion Treasury-backed fund to help community banks issue loans to small businesses and provide entrepreneurs with $12 billion in tax cuts -- a Republican kind of bill if ever there was one.

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The new Mason-Dixon poll of the Nevada Senate race gives Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a one-point edge over Republican former state Rep. Sharron Angle -- and while this is in a sense good news for Reid, it also shows a potential recovery for Angle after some truly awful previous numbers.

The numbers: Reid 43%, Angle 42%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous Mason-Dixon poll from two weeks ago, though, Reid had an even stronger lead of 44%-37%, as a result of relentless attacks on Angle's right-wing positions and her steady stream of gaffes. The TPM Poll Average gives Reid a lead of 44.3%-42.6%.

"At least for the moment, she seems to have stopped the bleeding," Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon told the Las Vegas Review Journal, which commissioned the poll. "Reid had the airwaves to himself for a while, and he drove her numbers down with the advertising. But that didn't necessarily drive his numbers up. There hasn't been a lot of good news to hang his hat on."

Quinnipiac's out with new numbers from the Florida Senate race, and Independent Gov. Charlie Crist is still out in front. Against Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Jeff Greene -- the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, according to a Quinnipiac poll released earlier this week -- Crist leads 37% to Rubio's 32% and Greene's 17%. When the Democrat in the race is Rep. Kendrick Meek, Crist does a little better, polling at 39% to Rubio's 33% and Meek's 13%.

That's not much different than Quinnipiac's last poll of the race from June 7, which showed Crist up seven points against Rubio when Greene's the Democrat, and Crist up four points against Rubio when Meek's the Democrat.

Today's numbers show a less competitive race than last week's Rasmussen survey, which showed Crist up only two against Rubio when the Democrat is Greene, and Rubio ahead two against Crist when the Democrat is Meek. The new Quinnipiac poll is more in line with a PPP survey from July 18, which gave Crist a 38%-29% edge over Rubio when Greene's in the race and a 35%-29% lead when Meek's in the race.

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Axelrod to Democrats: Blame the GOP White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told Senate Democrats to go on offense against the Republicans in this November's election. "We're not interested in re-litigating the past but we don't want to relive it either," Axelrod said after a closed-door strategy session. "People need to know that when they cast that Republican vote they're casting that vote for those same discredited policies that punished the middle class and created this crisis in the first place."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart from the White House at 9:30 a.m. ET, then will depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 9:45 a.m. ET, arriving at 11:05 a.m. ET in Detroit, Michigan. He will tour the Chrysler auto plant at 11:50 a.m. ET, and will deliver remarks at 12:15 p.m. ET. He will then tour the General Motors auto plant at 12:55 p.m. ET, and deliver remarks at 1:40 p.m. ET. He will depart from Detroit at 3:10 p.m. ET, arriving at Andrews Air Force Base at 4:25 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 4:40 p.m. ET.

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The House was debating a bill last night that would provide up to $7.4 billion in health care aid to rescue and recovery workers who have faced health problems since their work in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The bill ultimately failed to get the needed two-thirds majority, 255-159, and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was not happy about it. Not one bit.

In a rant that lasted for almost two minutes, a hopping mad Weiner railed against "cowardly" Republicans who claimed they were voting against the bill because of "procedure." Weiner spat: "It's Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans, rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes!"

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Across the country, an out-there theme has been re-emerging among conservatives seeking to crack down on illegal immigration: End "birthright citizenship," a right based in the 14th Amendment, which leads to automatic citizenship for children born in the United States -- at least, end it as it applies to American-born children whose parents are here illegally.

Birthright citizenship in the 14th Amendment was intended, at least in part, to guarantee citizenship for freed slaves and otherwise secure legal equality: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." Without the concept of birthright citizenship, it's possible for someone to be born without having citizenship in any country at all. Experts have told TPM that any plans to change that right are "clearly unconstitutional."

That's not stopping some right-wingers. Let's take a look at the list of conservatives who insist that birthright citizenship be done away with, either by constitutional amendment or (more often) by looking for a legislative loophole.

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