TPM News

Yet another poll, this one from the Los Angeles Times and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D), shows Democrat Jerry Brown with the lead in the California gubernatorial race against Republican Meg Whitman.

The numbers: Brown 49%, Whitman 44%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.3% margin of error. The previous LAT/GQR survey from all the way back in late May put Brown ahead by 44%-38%. However, there have been a lot of polls since then showing Whitman ahead, after she put in so much of her own money that she has become the biggest self-financing candidate ever. As such, the TPM Poll Average shows Whitman still ahead, but only by a slim margin of 45.9%-44.8%.

However, other recent polls have also shown Brown pulling ahead or in a tied race.

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Stephen Colbert's testimony on Friday before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration has received some mixed reviews. Not because it wasn't funny -- Colbert was very funny, and very sharp -- but because he stayed in character the entire time and some people (not including Nancy Pelosi) felt that was inappropriate.

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A tough new ad by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has his Republican opponent Daniel Webster on the defense just weeks before the election. The segment focuses on Webster's extremely conservative religious views, and concludes by calling him "Taliban Dan Webster."

"Religious fanatics try to take away our freedom: In Afghanistan, In Iran, and right here in Central Florida," the narrator begins.

Though reporters and partisans argue about dubbing a Congressional candidate a member of the Taliban, perhaps the most damning portion of the ad comes from multiple pieces of footage Grayson has unearthed of Webster referencing and endorsing parts of the bible that instruct women to be submissive to their husbands.

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Gov. David Paterson (D) popped up on Saturday Night Live this weekend to confront Fred Armisen, who's been playing a version of the New York Governor. Paterson chided Armisen for making fun of his blindness: "You have poked so much fun at me for being blind that I forgot I was black!"

Paterson added that "working in Albany is a lot like watching Saturday Night Live: There's a lot of characters, it's funny for ten minutes, and then you just want it to go away."

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Obama Looks To Reenergize Youth Vote The Washington Post reports: " President Obama will swoop into the heartland this week in a high-stakes bid to boost enthusiasm for Democrats by reigniting the coalition of young and minority voters who were critical to his success two years ago. With polls showing independent voters swinging toward Republicans in Wisconsin and the nation's other battlegrounds, Democrats are turning elsewhere to make up ground. So on Tuesday in Madison, Obama will stage the first in a series of rallies on college campuses designed to persuade what some call his 'surge' voters - the roughly 15 million Americans who voted for the first time in 2008 - to return to the polls this fall."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama was interviewed live on the Today Show at 8 a.m. ET. He will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10:15 a.m. ET, and meet at 10:45 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 12:10 p.m. ET, he will hold an on-the-record conference call with college and university student-journalists. He will sign the Small Business Jobs Act at 1:45 p.m. ET. He will depart from the White House at 5 pm. ET, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 5:15 p.m. ET, arriving at 8:55 p.m. ET in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Bob McDonnell, the Republican governor of Virginia, announced Friday morning that he will not declare next April "Confederate History Month."

McDonnell caused a stir this April when he proclaimed Confederate History Month, something that had been a tradition in the past but that his predecessors had skipped. Most critics made hay of the fact that he made no mention of slavery in the proclamation. He eventually apologized and added a clause about the "evil and inhumane practice."

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Another Democratic-held seat has emerged as a hotly-contested race this year: The West Virginia seat held by Dem Sen. Robert Byrd for over 50 years, until his death this past June created an opening in a state that has been trending to the GOP for the last decade.

Early on in this race, things looked especially good for Democrats. They'd recruited popular Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin to run for the seat, while the Republicans' strongest potential candidate, five-term Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito, announced that she would not run. Instead, the Republicans ended up getting behind a long-time unsuccessful candidate, businessman John Raese. Manchin appointed a former aide, Carte Goodwin, to hold the seat but not run for a full term.

Raese previously ran for the Senate way back in 1984, losing by a narrow 52%-48% against Democrat Jay Rockefeller, in an open-seat race held in the middle of the Reagan landslide that year. He ran again in 2006 as Byrd's Republican challenger, spending $2.2 million of his own money on that race, and ultimately losing by a much heftier 64%-36% against a long-standing incumbent who was very much a state political institution.

But now things have started to get very close. The reason is simple: President Obama is highly unpopular in West Virginia.

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In many ways, 2010 will be the Year of the Tea Party. The angry conservative movement has bumped off a number of moderate and establishment Republicans in the primary season, packed huge rallies across the country and provided most of the best drama of the political year. But the success and prominence of the tea party movement has led to another trend: across the country, Democrats have been accused of helping get phony "Tea Party" candidates on the ballot in competitive races, in an attempt to split the vote between the Republican and fake "Tea Party" nominee so the Dem can cruise to victory.

It all made a lot of sense at the start. Back at the beginning of 2010, the tea party movement was showing real signs of splitting off into a separate political party. This was before the tea partiers set their sights on remaking the GOP with Senate nominees like Sharron Angle, Ken Buck and Christine O'Donnell, and, in turn, the GOP embraced the movement with both arms. A few clever Democratic activists, it appears, set about to take advantage of the schism between the GOP and tea party.

Evidence of the alleged plan has popped up in Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania this year. Time will tell how successful it's been, but so far it's had very little effect.

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Ann Coulter doesn't mince words. And even when speaking to a gay conservative organization, GOProud, at their inaugural Homocon party on Saturday night, she apparently wasn't willing to start.

After a series of jokes about conservative that sounded -- and were received -- more like a stand-up act then a political speech, Coulter told the assembled (and predominantly wealthy) conservative gay crowd why they should oppose same sex marriage, adding, "I should warn you: I've never failed to talk gays out of gay marriage."

And then she did.

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