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Right-wing activist James O'Keefe has released a statement on his planned CNN "punk," admitting that he liked the idea but contending that he wasn't going to go through with it as planned.

"There were no mirrors, sex tapes, blindfolds, fuzzy handcuffs, posters of naked women, or music," O'Keefe said. "Sorry, you were not going to see my face saying the words 'Bubble Headed Beach Blonde who comes on at 5' into a video camera."

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A newly released poll of the Illinois Senate race shows Republican Rep. Mark Kirk edging out Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 42%-41%, with Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones polling at 4% and Libertarian candidate Mike Labno earning 3%.

The latest numbers are from Suffolk University's first poll on the race. Last week saw a Chicago Tribune poll give Giannoulias a 38%-36% lead over Kirk, while a CNN/Time survey had the Democrat ahead by one, 43%-42%.

The TPM Poll Average of the matchup shows Kirk leading Giannoulias 41.3%-40.0%. The margin of error for the latest survey is ±4.4 percentage points.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

The new survey of the Connecticut Senate from Public Policy Polling (D) race gives Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal a whopping 12-point lead over Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon -- a big change from other recent polls that have given Blumenthal a much closer edge.

The numbers: Blumenthal 53%, McMahon 41%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. This is the first PPP survey of this race since all the way back in January.

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

In addition, this poll gives Blumenthal a favorable rating of 53%, to 39% unfavorable, while McMahon's is exactly the opposite at 39%-53%.

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Like many Republicans -- and virtually all tea party Republicans -- Marco Rubio does not dismiss the idea of privatizing Social Security. But on the trail running for Senate in Florida, where the senior citizen vote matters even more than it does other places, Rubio has made it clear that the time for a serious debate about betting Social Security money on the stock market has come and gone. At least he does sometimes. As Rachel Maddow pointed out on her show Friday night, Rubio started out the year calling for a partial privatization before later moving to the "let's not and say we did" senior-citizen-friendly position he holds today.

The clip on Maddow came from the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald. It was taken at a Rubio event in January.

"I do think the retirement age issue is going to have to be confronted," Rubio says when asked about fixing Social Security. "The other is giving people the option of taking some of their Social Security money, at least a potion thereof, and investing it in an alternative to the Social Security system itself."

But wait, someone asks, wouldn't that mean people could lose all their Social Security money in a stock market crash if they made the wrong investments?

"Potentially," Rubio says. "It's their money."

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Now this is just hilarious. It turns out that a recent Harry Reid ad that attacked Sharron Angle for her alleged right-wing positions on health care in the state legislature appears to have been false. And Reid's source for the claim was...Sharron Angle's false statements about her record in the state legislature.

This can get a bit confusing, but here we go, courtesy of the Las Vegas Sun. Throughout this campaign, Angle has touted her past legislative work on health care, which she said included a bill to remove all mandates that require insurance companies to require certain illnesses and procedures. (Some conservatives allege that requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for key areas of care, such as mammograms, should be repealed because it drives up premium costs for everyone.)

[TPM SLIDESHOW: 'Showdown In Searchlight': Tea Partiers Rally To Boot Harry Reid]

"If you go to my website, you'll see my record," Angle said at a debate during the Republican primary season. "I introduced three bills. One would have taken off all of the mandates on insurance. That's one of the solutions. We have to have a senator who will go and introduce something like that that says we don't have mandated coverages on insurance." Angle has also made similar remarks in interviews with the state's newspaper editorial boards.

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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says that even though "no one" came to his defense in 2004 after he said that gay people and unwed mothers should be banned from teaching, "everyone" quietly told him that he shouldn't back down from his position.

He also implied that not banning gay people and women who have sex before marriage from teaching would be an attack on Christians, and defended his position on banning gay teachers because he holds the same position on women who have sex outside of marriage.

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In another delicious tidbit from Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell's political history, the Associated Press has dug up a startling claim that O'Donnell made back in 2006, during a previous campaign for Senate -- that she had received classified information about a secret Chinese plot to take over the United States.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O'Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]

As the AP reports, the comments came during a 2006 Senate primary debate with two other Republicans:

She said China had a "carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America" and accused one opponent of appeasement for suggesting that the two countries were economically dependent and should find a way to be allies.

"That doesn't work," she said. "There's much I want to say. I wish I wasn't privy to some of the classified information that I am privy to."

...

When Ting challenged O'Donnell's claim about having secret information, O'Donnell didn't answer specifically but suggested she had received it through nonprofit groups she worked with that frequently sent missionaries there.


The TPM Poll Average of this year's Senate general election gives Democratic nominee Chris Coons a lead of 55.0%-39.6%

In the course of lambasting Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for his repeated dalliances with multiple prostitutes, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt renewed his million-dollar offer to anybody who can prove they had extra-marital sex with Vitter or any high-ranking official.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: SOCIAL CONSERVATIVE SCANDALS]

In so doing, he also previewed what he says will become the next big political sex scandals.

"We know we've got a gay senator," Flynt said on CNN yesterday evening. "We just like to see him come out of the closet. And I think we'll be exposing that in the next few months if he doesn't."

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A new poll of the South Carolina gubernatorial race finds Republican nominee Nikki Haley just barely ahead of Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, 45%-41%.

The latest survey is pollster Crantford & Associates' first set of numbers on the race. When Rasmussen looked at the contest on September 22, a drastically different result was produced, as Haley led 50%-33%. The four-point margin produced by the newest survey is the narrowest point spread seen in the race through recent months' polling.

The TPM Poll Average shows Haley still up double-digits in the contest, leading 47.6%-37.4%. The margin of error for the latest survey is ±3.9 percentage points.

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