TPM News

Sharron Angle has a new TV ad in the Nevada Senate race, focusing on the issue that has been her main weapon against Harry Reid (and her main hedge against attacks regarding her own right-wing stances) -- the economy.

"They're not statistics. They're people," says Angle. "They're the father who got laid off today, and doesn't know how he's going to pay for his mortgage. The frightened senior who's seen half of her home value disappear. And the small business owner who's closing for good.

"Let's be honest. We tried it Harry Reid's way, and it didn't work. It's time to end the bailouts and the reckless spending, the higher taxes, and put Nevadans back to work.

The TPM Poll Average puts Reid ahead by 47.7%-45.2%.

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California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman told KNX radio in Los Angeles on Thursday that she suspects the handwriting on a letter regarding the Social Security number of her former housekeeper is her husband's.

Late yesterday, Whitman's husband Dr. Griff Harsh said in a statement that he did not recall receiving the letter, but said "it is possible that I would've scratched a follow up note on a letter like this."

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Better late than never, but President Obama is finally pressing the Senate to confirm his long-stalled judicial nominees.

In a letter delivered yesterday to key Senators, Obama demanded an end to GOP obstructive tactics that are preventing dozens of non-controversial judges from being confirmed.

"I write to express my concern with the pace of judicial confirmations in the United States Senate," Obama wrote. "Yesterday, the Senate recessed without confirming a single one of the 23 Federal judicial nominations pending on the Executive Calendar.... At this point in the prior Administration (107th Congress), the Senate had confirmed 61% of the President's judicial nominations. By contrast, the Senate has confirmed less than half of the judicial nominees it has received in my Administration. Nominees in the 107th Congress waited less than a month on the floor of the Senate before a vote on their confirmation. The men and women whom I have nominated who have been confirmed to the Courts of Appeals waited five times longer and those confirmed to the District Courts waited three times longer for final votes."

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Rahm's Replacement Pete Rouse Known As 'Fixer' The Washington Post reports: "Few people outside Washington, and not many inside, have heard the name Pete Rouse. The man President Obama will name as his interim White House chief of staff on Friday is a quiet political player who avoids the spotlight. He does not suit up for the Sunday talk shows; there are no stories about him reducing staff members to tears for their slip-ups. He is in many ways the opposite of Rahm Emanuel, the brash chief of staff he will replace."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. He will make a personnel announcement at 11:05 a.m. ET, on the new White House Chief of Staff. He will meet at 11:30 a.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He will attend Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's Investiture Ceremony at 2 p.m. ET. He will receive the economic daily briefing at 3:20 p.m. ET. He will meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at 4 p.m. ET.

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National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. John Cornyn told reporters that Delaware's Senate race still does not appear to be competitive for the GOP thanks to Christine O'Donnell.

TPM spoke briefly with Cornyn following an event at the National Press Club Thursday, and asked about O'Donnell's recent snafu with her education history and how serious of a problem he deems that to be. Rather than defend her, Cornyn spoke generally.

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Linda McMahon is now being attacked in the Connecticut Senate race for remarks during a Q&A with reporters that have been interpreted as meaning she would be in favor of potentially lowering the minimum wage -- and acknowledging that she doesn't even know what the minimum wage is. And for her part, her campaign is saying she was merely questioning any increases to the wage in the near future.

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

As The Day reports, McMahon appeared at an event to receive the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Businesses -- an organization that opposes increases to the minimum wage. McMahon was frequently asked by reporters whether she would oppose increases to the wage -- and also whether she thinks it should have ever been passed at all.

"The minimum wage now in our country, I think we've set that and a lot of people have benefited from it in our country, but I think we ought to review how much it ought to be, and whether or not we ought to have increases in the minimum wage," said McMahon.

Then things got messier.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Wisconsin Senate race gives Republican businessman Ron Johnson a whopping 12-point lead over Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold -- the largest gap in any poll yet.

The numbers: Johnson 54%, Feingold 42%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago, Johnson led by 51%-44%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Johnson a lead of 53.0%-43.1%.

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Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who has been trailing badly in the polls, is throwing something of a Hail Mary pass in his tough race against Republican businessman Ron Johnson. He's running an ad proudly in favor of the major health care reform law that has fired up the GOP base in opposition, and attacking Johnson for wanting to repeal its newfound patient protections.

As Ben Smith reports, Feingold's new ad features supporters speaking on behalf of Feingold's work on health care. "Senator Feingold has always been on our side, fighting the insurance companies...But Ron Johnson won't even get in the ring for us...Russ fought to stop insurance companies from denying Wisconsin children health care due to pre-existing conditions...Mr. Johnson would put insurance companies back in control...Letting them raise premiums and increase our costs whenever they want...Ron Johnson, hands off my health care."

Feingold concludes the ad: "I'm Russ Feingold, and I approve this message, because you deserve a Senator who's on your side."

The TPM Poll Average gives Johnson a lead of 53.0%-43.1%.

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A conservative group against illegal immigration has called for the arrest of Meg Whitman, the GOP's candidate for governor of California, and her former housekeeper Nicky Diaz for breaking immigration laws. The Americans for Legal Immigration PAC said Thursday that Whitman should stand trial and Diaz should be deported.

"It's pretty clear from all parties involved that Whitman did intentionally or unintentionally hire an illegal immigrant for nine years, which is a violation of federal law," William Gheen, president and spokesman of ALIPAC told TPMMuckraker in an interview Thursday.

"To allow Whitman to avoid a trial on this matter would be the same as allowing O.J. Simpson to avoid trial because he said he didn't do it before he was arrested," Gheen said.

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