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The new survey of Wisconsin by Public Policy Polling (D) shows Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in a tight race for re-election, just narrowly leading his Republican opponents.

Feingold edges businessman Ron Johnson, the state GOP's endorsed candidate, by just 45%-43%. Against another GOP candidates, businessman Dave Westlake, Feingold leads 45%-38%. The survey of registered voters has a ±3.9% margin of error. The TPM Poll Average has Feingold ahead of Johnson by 45.7%-44.0%, and ahead of Westlake by 45.7%-39.7%.

PPP's Tom Jensen writes: "The potential competitiveness of this race may have more to do with Barack Obama's declining popularity in the state than anything Feingold himself has done. Obama won Wisconsin easily in 2008 but now has just a 45% approval rating with 50% of voters unhappy with his performance. 51% of voters are opposed to the health care bill to just 38% in support. In the places where Obama's fortunes are falling he's bringing the electoral prospects of Democratic candidates down with him."

Idaho Republicans held their convention over the past weekend, approving a platform containing some mighty interesting parts of the Tea Party platform -- from state nullification of federal laws, to protecting the institution of marriage from transgendered people, to to a Glenn-Beckesque embrace of gold and silver money.

State Rep. Marv Hagedorn (R) told the Associated Press that the push to go further right was a product of disgust with the current status quo from the Obama administration. "It does reflect a change," said Hagedorn. "But it's not a change in our party, it's a change in the White House."

The convention's platform calls for a radical overhaul of the federal government. One proposal is a Tea Party favorite, calling for the repeal the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct election of Senators instead of the original system of them being selected by state legislatures. The platform also calls for the state legislature and governor to "nullify any and all existing and future unconstitutional Federal mandates and laws, funded or unfunded, that infringe on Idaho's Tenth Amendment sovereignty." In addition, the GOP calls for the state of Idaho to take back federally controlled lands.

Then there is the hard-money plank, which might have come right out of a Goldline ad on talk radio: "We believe Idahoans need to protect their savings from the ravages of inflation, which is hidden taxation, and encourage citizens to participate in a systematic acquisition of precious metals which represent real value as opposed to paper currencies."

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With all the discussion at Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing of the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, many Americans are probably in need of an easy primer to understand the decision, which holds that corporations, like individual citizens, can make unlimited political contributions. According to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the top Republican on the Judiciary committee, it's just like the time the Supreme Court desegregated public schools!

Last night, elaborating on his criticisms of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Sessions made the unusual comparison of Citizens United v. FEC to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

"[Marshall] was right on Brown v. Board of Education. It's akin in my view to the Citizen's United case. The court sat down and we went back to first principles--What does the Constitution say? Everybody should be equal protection of the laws," Sessions told me after a Senate vote last night.

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The Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to take a new look at the controversial conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in the wake of its ruling last week narrowing the scope of a key public corruption statute that was used in the Siegelman case.

Siegelman was convicted in 2006 on charges of bribery and honest services fraud, the statute that was limited by the court last week. Siegelman was found to have given former HealthSouth executive Richard Scrushy a seat on a state board regulating hospitals in exchange for $500,000 in donations to a state lottery campaign.

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Republicans raised eyebrows yesterday when they criticized the first African-American Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, as a way to attack nominee Elena Kagan, his former clerk. One would think that, to avoid any appearance of racial dog-whistling, the senators attacking Marshall's record would be able to name the decisions or opinions with which they so vociferously disagreed.

After the hearing broke last night, TPMDC asked three of the top Republicans on the Judiciary Committee which of Marshall's opinions best exemplified his activism. And while two of the three were careful to praise Marshall the man, none of them could name a single case.

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Jon Stewart talked to Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod last night and wanted to know: "What's more annoying? Obstructionist, reflexive antipathy towards the President and his goals, or insatiable, never-satisfied, always-want-more people who want this President to succeed, but only if that means doing everything exactly the way they want him to do it?"

When Axelrod responded that it's basically "a choice between a punch in the nose and a knee to the groin," Stewart asked: "Which one am I?"

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A study by the Government Accountability Office has found seven instances of improper burrowing -- political appointees shifting to career civil servant positions in a given agency -- during the Bush Administration, though none of the seven occurred close to the 2008 presidential election.

Regular TPMmuckraker readers will remember our reporting on burrowing back in late 2008 when several Bush Administration officials made eyebrow-raising shifts to career positions.

The GAO did an exhaustive study of these so-called "conversions" from political to career positions between May 2005 and May 2009. It found 139 conversions in that period, with the most -- 32 -- occurring at the Justice Department, and the second-most, 17, occurring at the Department of Homeland Security. The GAO found the vast majority, 117, followed "fair and open competition" and proper procedures to ensure that the conversions were justified.

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Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) continues to look like a shoo-in for reelection, according to a new poll from Rasmussen out this morning. The poll shows Vitter leading likely Democratic nominee Rep. Charlie Melancon 53%-35%, with a 4.5% margin of error.

The new numbers follow the storyline of the race laid down in previous polling. The TPM Poll Average for the contest shows Vitter leading 49.6%-34.0%.

The Rasmussen survey of 500 likely voters was conducted June 24.

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