TPM News

President Obama, who has said time and again that he is in favor of civil unions over same-sex marriage, yesterday suggested that his view may "evolve."

Obama, who has drawn the ire of the LGBT community most recently by fighting to enforce Don't Ask, Don't Tell even while trying to repeal it, was grilled by Joe Sudbay of AMERICABlog during a meeting with progressive bloggers yesterday.

"I just really want to know what is your position on same-sex marriage?" Sudbay asked, according to a transcript.

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Today's Muhlenberg daily tracking poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race gives Republican Pat Toomey a solid lead over Democrat Joe Sestak.

The numbers: Toomey 48%, Sestak 40%. In yesterday's tracking poll -- which overlaps this one by three days out the four-day samples -- Toomey had a slightly narrower lead of 46%-41%

The survey of likely voters has a ±5% margin of error.

The TPM Poll Average gives Toomey a lead of 46.4%-43.1%.

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Misleading fliers are showing up on the windshields of vehicles at a predominately African-American polling place in Houston that claim to come from a non-existent group called the "Black Democratic Trust of Texas."

The fliers were placed on the windshields of vehicles at and near the Sunnyside Early Voting location and tell voters not to voter straight Democrat, according to Texas Democrats and local news reports.

"Republicans are trying to trick us!" the flier reads. "When you vote straight ticket Democrat, it is actually voting for Republicans and your vote doesn't count. We are urging everyone to VOTE for BILL WHITE. A VOTE for BILL WHITE is a VOTE for the ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC ticket. We have fought too hard to let Republicans use voting machines to deny us our basic rights. We must guard the change and NOT VOTE STRAIGHT TICKET DEMOCRAT!"

"YES WE CAN," the flier reads.

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No more beating around the bush. In a brutal new segment running on network and cable television in Louisiana through election day, Rep. Charlie Melancon makes a final, daring pitch to voters that Sen. David Vitter's sex and abuse scandals make him unfit to serve.

"Our tax dollars pay David Vitter's salary, and he used it for prostitutes," the ad's narrator says. "Our money paid for Vitter's serious sin. Phone calls to prostitutes during official votes and tax dollars to help defend an aide who violently abused his girlfriend. In return, we got a disgraced senator ranked among the least effective in Congress."

Melancon hasn't exactly been shy about discussing Vitter's past. It's an issue he's highlighted around the state, and in a two minute that ran on cable TV earlier this cycle. But his camp's long been aware that it has to be fresh on voters' minds if Melancon's going to win.

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The new Field Poll of the California gubernatorial race shows Democrat Jerry Brown gaining a strong lead against Republican Meg Whitman. As for Whitman, who has spent a record sum of her own money on the campaign, her unfavorable ratings have only gone up over time.

The numbers: Brown 49%, Whitman 39%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.2% margin of error. In the previous Field Poll from a month ago, the two were tied at 41%-41%

From the pollster's analysis:

Since early 2010 Whitman has spent an unprecedented large amount of campaign advertising funds in TV, radio and direct mail. Also, there has been three well-publicized gubernatorial debates and numerous personal appearances throughout the state, along with extensive free media coverage. Despite all this, Whitman has been unable to increase the proportion of voters who view her favorably. In fact, over this same period the proportion of voters who hold a negative opinion of Whitman has grown - from 27% in March, to 42% in July, to 45% in mid-September, and to 51% in the current survey.

The TPM Poll Average gives Brown a lead of 48.9%-41.0%.

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A 72-year-old man was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly assaulting a 23-year-old activist protesting Dino Rossi's Republican campaign for Senate in Washington state, according to local reports.

The incident occurred outside GOP headquarters in Walla Walla County where the demonstrator, Christie Stordeur, was "one of five protesters standing about 40 feet from the entrance of the office," according to the Tri-City Herald.

Stordeur and the other protesters "were wearing bags over their heads and holding a sign that looked like a check." That's when Victor Phillips, according to a Sheriff's deputy on scene, walked over to Stordeur to "lift her bag off her head." When Stordeur "lifted her arm in defense," Phillips hit it "with 'force.'"

The Herald reports that the deputy on scene "immediately stepped between the two and arrested Phillips on a charge of investigation of assault."

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There's still a lot of mystery surrounding the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies this weekend, now officially merged into one super-rally known as the "Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear." Will it be political? Will it be like Glenn Beck's rally? Will there be musical acts? Can you drink on the Mall?

Looking at what Jon and Stephen have said about the rallies since September, here's some of what we know...

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Republicans, Heading For Big Gains, Ready Agenda The Associated Press reports: "Republican leaders, ever more confident of their chances of winning control of the House and possibly even the Senate, have begun plotting a 2011 agenda topped by a push for more than $100 billion in spending cuts, tax reductions and attempts to undo key parts of President Barack Obama's health care and financial regulation laws. The question is how much of the GOP's government-shrinking, tax-cutting agenda to advance, and how fast."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. He will meet at 2:40 p.m. ET with some of the Americans involved in the Chilean mine rescue effort, and deliver remarks to the press at 2:50 p.m. ET. He will receive the economic daily briefing at 3:15 p.m. ET.

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One of the conservative groups in Minnesota supporting the "Election Integrity Watch" program is considering filing suit over the ban on their "Please I.D. Me" buttons in polling places.

"It's simply a First Amendment issue, so we're going to fight them on this," Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority told TPMMuckraker. "We're consulting our attorneys right now and preparing a possible federal lawsuit."

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