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Carl Paladino, the ultra-conservative New York businessman who rode the Tea Party to victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary this month, has a daughter with a woman who is not his wife. But even though such indiscretions have cost other New York Republicans their seats (see Vito Fossella), Paladino has remained unscathed. He has even, according to some polls, come within striking distance of Democratic candidate and attorney general Andrew Cuomo.

That may be because Paladino has been open about his daughter, who is now 10, throughout his candidacy. She joined his other children and his wife at his campaign kick-off in April, for example, and has attended other events. She is, as the New York Times put it in today's profile of Paladino, "fully incorporated into his family." Paladino supports her financially and, according to the New York Post, he accompanied the girl, Sarah, and her mother -- with his wife's permission -- on a trip to Italy last year that included a visit to the Vatican.

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Does Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), who lost the GOP primary for Senate in a stunning upset two weeks ago to Christine O'Donnell, have a chance if he gets back into the general election as a write-in candidate? According to a new Rasmussen poll, the answer is no. Furthermore, it seems that he would more likely siphon votes away from Democrat Chris Coons, rather than hinder O'Donnell.

The numbers: Coons 49%, O'Donnell 40%, and Castle 5%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago, just after O'Donnell won the primary, Coons led O'Donnell by 53%-42%.

From the pollster's analysis: "Rasmussen Reports did ask Castle supporters who they would vote for in a two-person race and virtually all said either Coons or not sure."

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A fifth woman has come forward with allegations against Wisconsin District Attorney Kenneth Kratz, who has previously admitted to sending inappropriate text messages to a woman whose domestic abuse case he was handling. In the latest allegations, an unidentified woman claims that Kratz offered to help her prepare her victim statement for her domestic abuse case if she agreed to have sex with him.

"We'll get that written and we'll go to bed," she alleges he said, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Connecticut Senate race shows Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's lead over Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon continuing to narrow.

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

The numbers: Blumenthal 50%, McMahon 45%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. The previous Rasmussen poll from two and a half weeks ago put Blumenthal ahead by 53%-44%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Blumenthal a lead of 50.0%-44.2%.

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The closely-watched race for Senate in Kentucky is now "a statistical dead heat," according to a new poll sponsored by one of the the state's largest papers. The Bluegrass Poll was conducted by automated phone call pollster SurveyUSA for the Louisville Courier-Journal last week and shows Republican nominee Rand Paul leading Democratic nominee Jack Conway 49-47.

The last Bluegrass Poll, conducted in late August showed Paul ahead 55-40. In the ensuing weeks, the Courier-Journal reports, Conway has built momentum among women and those wary of Paul's extreme conservative views.

"The poll shows that Conway, the state's attorney general, is now appealing to voters who say they are neutral on the tea party -- Paul's base of support," the paper reports. "And Conway is building a significant lead among women, who earlier were almost evenly split between the two candidates."

As the paper reports, Paul's miniscule lead in the new poll "is well within the poll's 4 percentage point margin of error," making the result basically a tie.

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A significant number of FBI employees cheated on an exam intended to assess their skills on criminal investigations, national security investigations and foreign intelligence collection, according to a Justice Department Inspector General report released Monday.

When taking the computerized 51-question Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG), some consulted with others while taking the exam, others used or distributed answers sheets or study guides that provided answers to the test and some employees "exploited a programming flaw to reveal the answers to the exam on their computers."

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The new Star Tribune poll of the Minnesota gubernatorial race gives Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton a nine-point lead over Republican Tom Emmer.

The numbers: Dayton 39%, Emmer 30%, and Independence Party nominee Tom Horner 18%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.1% margin of error. In the previous Star Tribune poll from late July, Dayton led Emmer and Horner by 40%-30%-13%. The TPM Poll Average gives Dayton a lead of 39.3%-35.7% over Emmer, plus 14.2% for Horner.

The poll also finds Dayton's favorable rating at 51%, with 38% unfavorable. By contrast, Emmer is further behind at 40%-41%, and Horner is at 38%-28%.





Last week the GOP released its 'Pledge to America' to a mostly lukewarm reception.  A number of pundits immediately speculated that the Pledge was so detailed the GOP would soon find itself hemmed in by what the Pledge contained (and what it didn't).  Well they didn't have to wait long.


On Fox News Sunday yesterday morning Chris Wallace grilled Minority House Leader John Boehner on why there was no mention in the Pledge of doing away with earmarks entirely.  Boehner says it is because the Pledge is about now(!), and there is already a moratorium on earmarks, and that come November if the GOP takes the House rest assured it will "not be business as usual."  Indeed.  Not satisfied with that response Wallace pressed Boehner to "pledge right now" that if the GOP takes the House he will do away with earmarks forever.  Boehner, apparently not fast and loose with his pledges, would not.   Later in the segment, though, he did suggest it would be in everyone's best interest for the House and President to work together.  Watch below.







The original version of the story appears here: http://www.mediaite.com/online/rep-boehner-refuses-to-rule-out-earmarks-if-gop-takes-the-house/

Mediaite.com is the leading destination covering the intersection of media, news, and politics as well the personalities behind it. For more, visit www.mediaite.com (c) 2010 Mediaite LLC.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen may think a vote this week is still possible on extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, but the No. 2 Democrat in the House splashed icy cold water on the idea Sunday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on Fox News Sunday that he does not think a vote will happen before members adjourn for the midterm elections, even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday it still was possible. Hoyer blamed the Senate for opting to punt the vote to a lame-duck session, telling host Chris Wallace that it would be "a specious act" to hold a vote just for political optics before heading home.

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The new Los Angeles Times/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) poll of the California Senate race shows Dem Sen. Barbara Boxer with a strong lead over Republican nominee Carly Fiorina.

The numbers: Boxer 51%, Fiorina 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.3% margin of error. In the previous LAT/GQR poll from back in late May, Boxer led Fiorina by 44%-38%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Boxer a lead of 47.5%-44.3%.

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