TPM News

Obama To Honor Troops As Iraq Combat Mission Ends The Associated Press reports: "As President Barack Obama prepares to officially end the lengthy and divisive U.S. combat operation in Iraq, he'll personally thank some of the soldiers who fought there for their service to a mission he forcefully opposed from the start. Many of those soldiers deployed from Fort Bliss, the sprawling Army base in El Paso, Texas, that Obama will visit Tuesday. After speaking with the troops, Obama will return to Washington to address the nation and formally end a combat mission in Iraq that lasted more than seven years, leaving more than 4,400 U.S. troops dead and thousands more wounded."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart form the White House at 8:30 a.m. ET, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 8:45 a.m. ET. He will arrive at 12:30 p.m. ET in El Paso, Texas, and he will meet with troops at Fort Bliss Army Base at 1:10 p.m. ET. He will depart from El Paso at 2:20 p.m. ET, and arrive back at Andrews Air Force Base at 5:55 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 6:10 p.m. ET. He will address the nation from the Oval Office at 8 p.m. ET, on the official end of the American combat mission in Iraq.

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Alan Grayson's GOP opponent Daniel Webster has a thorn in his side. Listed in his official voter guide as a top supporter is a right wing activist named David Barton, who has already come under scrutiny for addressing two white supremacist organizations.

Barton claimed in both circumstances that he was unaware of the group's white supremacist ties. But that doesn't mean he's not possessed of extreme views of his own. From 1998 to 2006, he served as vice-chair of the Texas Republican party, which is notorious for having one of the most zealously conservative platforms in the country.

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) is openly defending health care reform from Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (R), who this week pressured the state's educational professionals to choose between the new law and, potentially, their jobs.

"It's...troubling that he's using that misinformation to intimidate groups involved in all aspects of our children's health, safety and education, pitting one against the other," Nelson said of Heineman in a statement issued last night.

Nelson voted for the health care bill earlier this Congress, despite hailing from a Republican state and being one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate. Though he's not up for re-election this year, he has since that vote distanced himself from his Democratic colleagues on several issues.

But on this issue he's parting with Republicans.

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The border patrolling Minuteman are primarily known for their vehement opposition to illegal immigration. But now, amidst the country's recent anti-mosque fervor, it seems one arm of the group is dabbling in a new kind of campaign -- fear-mongering about radical Islam.

In an e-mail last week, the Minuteman PAC used an attack on Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) to fundraise against his re-election campaign, referring to Carson as an "Islamist" who is "championing Islam, the Ground Zero Mosque and Sharia law in America!"

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The gunshots heard near the site of a proposed mosque near Murfreesboro, Tenn., were probably the result of hunters taking advantage of the start of squirrel hunting season, a spokesman for the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office tells TPM.

Detective Sgt. Dan Goodwin said that no police report was filed after someone reported hearing nine gunshots at the site the day after construction equipment was found torched at the site.

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Joe Miller's lawyers are asking for state troopers to be stationed at Alaska elections offices, charging that there are serious shenanigans afoot involving improper shredding and that Sen. Lisa Murkowski's observers of the ballot-counting brought an illegal iPhone into the room.

Those are just two allegations in a new letter from Miller's attorneys to Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell and state elections officials that detail serious concerns and will make the sustained vote counting all the more interesting.

The Tea Party Express group, which spent more than $500,000 in a last-minute effort to put Miller over the top in a primary to unseat Murkowski, is emailing supporters a copy of the letter with the ominous subject line: "Irregularities Arise in Alaska Vote Count - URGENT!"

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Gallup is reporting that the GOP lead in congressional generic polling is now 10 points -- the largest lead for the party in the storied polling firm's history. The poll asks respondents which party they would prefer to see in control of Congress. Republicans now lead Gallup's generic ballot 51-41.

Gallup attributes the double-digit Republican lead in its latest polling to the massive GOP advantage in voter enthusiasm, a story we've been talking about all year. The newest Gallup numbers show Republicans with a staggering 25% advantage in voter enthusiasm. What does that mean in real terms? "Republicans are now twice as likely as Democrats to be 'very' enthusiastic about voting," the pollster writes.

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Democratic nominee Jack Conway has a new ad in the Kentucky Senate race, touting the support of the state Fraternal Order of Police -- and declaring that he's "darn good" at his job as state Attorney General.

"Jack Conway is the chief law enforcement officer for Kentucky and a darn good one," says Calloway County Sheriff Bill Marcum. Notably, the ad also points to Conway's record in a major drug bust in the state, which nabbed 518 people. As the Conway camp's press release says: "Conway's record stands in stark contrast to that of opponent Rand Paul, who has come under fire for saying illegal drugs aren't a 'real pressing issue' in Kentucky."

'Darn good.' That's a heck of a step down from his previous tagline at the Fancy Farm Picnic in 2009, "I'm one tough son of a bitch." Is this what they call repositioning for the general election?

The TPM Poll Average gives Republican nominee Rand Paul a lead of 45.4%-41.0%.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a new TV ad against Sean Duffy, the Republican candidate for the seat held by the retiring senior Rep. David Obey (D-WI), hammering him for backing Social Security privatization -- a connection made through his apparent statement of support for the policies of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

"Privatizing would cut the guaranteed benefit, and gamble seniors' retirement on the stock market," the announcer says. "Remember the crash? Families could have lost nearly 40 percent of their retirement benefits -- 40 percent."

The DCCC bases the claim that Duffy supports privatization not on a direct statement of his on the specific subject, but instead on his having stated his support for the budget roadmap offered by Ryan, which was obtained on a tracker video. And in turn, Ryan's blueprint involves Social Security privatization.

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