TPM News

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has announced that he will not run for Senate in 2010 against appointed incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, after having publicly eyed the race for months.

Polls had previously shown King running competitively against Gillibrand, with high undecided numbers due to a lack of overall brand recognition for the incumbent. But King admitted in his official statement that he would face tough obstacles: "The reality is that a statewide Democratic candidate starts the race with a voter registration edge of almost 3 million. To overcome such a large margin, there would have to be intensive media coverage of the race and I would need to raise at least $30 million."

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As predicted, August did not go quietly. But after a month of wild-eyed freak outs over death panels, and death books, and death wishes, and death threats, how much has the state of public opinion on health care really changed?

The answer probably depends on how you look at it: too much if you support reform, too little if you oppose it. Given just how raucous the last several weeks have been though--relative to over-the-top rhetoric comparing Obama to Hitler and health care reform to Nazism--the real change has been surprisingly modest.

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A new radio ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee is taking advantage of Democratic divisions in conservative swing seats, targeting one Democrat by using another Democrat's criticism of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Here's the ad, targeting freshman Blue Dog Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL). The ad refers to recent remarks by Park Griffith, another freshman Alabama Blue Dog, who said that he would not vote again for Pelosi as Speaker.



"Even some Democrats are tired of Nancy Pelosi," the man says, saying how "One Alabama Democrat congressman says he cannot support her an-y more." However, he explains: "Bobby Bright is sticking with Pelosi. Bright votes with Pelosi 70 percent of the time."

Did Bonner & Associates flat-out lie to Congress about informing lawmakers and constituent groups of those forged letters it sent?

In a letter to Rep. Ed Markey that we posted late last week, Bonner lawyer Steven Ross wrote that in the days after Bonner discovered the forged letters, the firm "personally contacted each of the eight organizations that were defrauded."

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Asked about pastor Steven Anderson and gun-toter Chris Broughton's repeated wishes for President Barack Obama to die, Special Agent Darrin Blackford of the Secret Service sends along this statement:

"We are aware of the situation and appropriate follow up will be conducted."

Broughton is the member of Anderson's Faithful Word Baptist Church who brought an AR-15 rifle and a hand gun to an Obama event in Phoenix earlier this month. Anderson later confirmed to TPMmuckraker that just 24 hours before that show of arms-bearing, Broughton attended the pastor's fiery sermon in which he prayed for "Obama to melt like a snail tonight" for being a "socialist devil, murderer, infanticide."

And yesterday, Broughton and Anderson took their statements even further, with the pastor saying he'd like Obama to die of brain cancer like Ted Kennedy, and Broughton for the first time publicly saying that he, too, would like the president to be dead.

No word on what form the Secret Service's follow up will take. And the agency would not comment on a CNN report that it interviewed Anderson.

A new TV ad from Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) attacks his Republican opponent, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, over the undisclosed $46,000 loan that Christie made to Michele Brown, a subordinate of his in the U.S. Attorney's office who recently had to resign over the scandal:



"When he was caught, Christie said it was a 'mistake,' But he prosecuted people who did the same thing," the announcer says. "Chris Christie. One set of rules for himself. Another for everyone else."

Also note that the announcer first refers to Christie as "Republican Chris Christie" -- pushing the message to voters in this Democratic state that Christie is not only shady, but he's a Republican.

Democrats are now pouncing hard in the Virginia gubernatorial race against Republican nominee Bob McDonnell, who was revealed by the Washington Post to have laid out a meticulous religious-right political agenda in his thesis 20 years ago at Regent University.

In McDonnell's thesis at Regent -- the school founded by Pat Robertson -- the then-34-year old grad student laid out how his fundamental concern was the decline of the traditional family unit, and how government policies must be designed to counteract the nefarious influences that have contributed to it. As examples, McDonnell cited women joining the workforce, abortion and contraception (he even pined for the old days when non-marital sex was by itself a crime), and what he called a socialist effort to have the state replace the family unit.

On a conference call with reporters just now, the campaign of Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds laid into McDonnell.

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Grover Norquist, in an appearance on MSNBC this morning, said a future Justice Department needs to open a probe into the Obama stimulus package. Watch the video below.

Speaking about Attorney General Eric Holder's current investigation concerning the CIA under the Bush administration, Norquist had less to say about the substance of the probe and instead focused on how this could be good for future GOP presidencies:

Holder is making a decision that one administration should go back and second-guess another administration. Yes, it's political, but he's also opening the door...I think it's a good idea, I think that someday when we have a different Justice Department, people need to go back and look at how all of this money in the stimulus package was paid, and who it went to. And what about all those secret meetings that were never transparent about who was going to get what?


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The violent anti-Obama sentiment coming out of central Arizona managed to get still more toxic over the weekend.

Chris Broughton, the man who brought an AR-15 rifle and a handgun to an Arizona Obama rally earlier this month, says he "concurs" with his fundamentalist pastor's prayer for President Obama "to die and go to hell."

And in an interview with a local TV station, pastor Steven Anderson himself elaborated on his statement to TPMmuckraker that he would prefer Obama to die of natural causes so "he's not some martyr."

"I don't want him to be a martyr, we don't need another holiday. I'd like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer," Anderson now says.

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Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré said recent talk of a Senate run against incumbent Louisiana Senator David Vitter (R) is "all about speculation and rumors."

"As of this time, I'm not running for any political office," he told CNN on Sunday, seemingly hedging on whether he will run in the future. Honoré, who quarterbacked the relief effort for southern Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, is now an emergency preparedness analyst for the network.

TPMDC reported last week that Vitter could face a possible challenger from the retired lieutenant general, based on information posted at the blog BayouBuzz.com.

From the CNN report:

Honoré said he had received more than 100 e-mails in response to that report, but no news outlet asked him whether it was true before CNN contacted him Sunday.

"That ought to scare the hell out of people in this country," said Honoré, who once called a reporter "stuck on stupid" during a nationally televised news conference.


This weekend, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin - who once described Honoré as a "John Wayne dude" - said "Oh, man, I'll support that guy any way he goes," when asked if he would back Honore as a Republican Senate candidate.

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