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Karl Rove just can't get enough of Christine O'Donnell these days. Since first describing her as "nutty" on the night she won the Republican nomination for Senate in Delaware, Rove has of course found religion (no pun intended) when it comes to O'Donnell and turned into one of her greatest cheerleaders on Fox.

Case in point? Last night on Hannity, Rove was over the moon about how O'Donnell's handled herself since primary night on Sept. 14. The show's host, the perpetually starry-eyed-over-right-wingers Sean Hannity asked Rove to weigh in on O'Donnell's campaign strategy, which consists mostly of never talking to much of the press again. Despite his reservations about O'Donnell's refusal to answer tough questions in the past, Rove gave the plan a big Architect thumbs up.

"She handled the witchcraft issue great -- she made it a joke," Rove said. Still, amidst all the praise he noted O'Donnell's dreadful poll numbers and suggested there could be one flaw in O'Donnell's plan.

"She's right -- she's right on the issues, [Democratic nominee Chris] Coons is wrong on the issues," he said. "The question is, will voters in Delaware pay attention to her? "

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How did Senate leadership go from all-systems-go on extending tax cuts for the middle class to let's wait for the lame duck? Some aides think it has everything to do with the elections.

A Senate Democratic aide told TPM that while leadership has opted to scrap plans for a tax cuts vote before the election, the caucus isn't so clearly against holding a vote now.

The aide said it's closely divided among the Democrats who want to punt until November and those who want to take a vote now to draw a distinction between their party and the Republicans in clear terms.

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Retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan seems today like he is in no hurry to pass tax cuts, telling on Fox News it could happen as late as December.

Dorgan (D-ND) said he wants the cuts extended for the first $250,000 in income for at least "a few years" and then reevaluate whether they should be made permanent. As we've reported, Senate Democrats appear poised to go home without taking a vote before the election.

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The Wisconsin Republican Party claims to have shelved an elaborate plan to coordinate with other conservative groups to root out purported voter fraud in the state's upcoming election.

The original plan, which was revealed in a document obtained and made public by a progressive group in the state, would have designated Tea Party groups as investigators in the field looking for fraudulent registrations -- looking through the white pages to authenticate voter addresses, pulling up homes on Google Maps and even driving by houses and apartments to conduct visual checks.

Under an earlier draft of the plan, Tea Party volunteers would then send complete reports to a Wisconsin GOP official, and were instructed to delete all copies of the data and required to sign a confidentiality notice.

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The hits just keep coming.

As TPM first reported last week, Rep. John Adler (D-NJ) has been rounding up signatures on a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging her to extend more than just the upper-income Bush tax cuts, passed in 2001. In addition, Adler and his crew want to extend the 15 percent rate on capital gains and dividend taxes, created by the 2003 Bush tax cuts. Other media outlets have since picked up on the story, and now Adler's effort is gaining steam.

A source sent over a list of 44 Democrats that Adler's office claims have signed on to the letter. That would be enough to tip the balance if these tax cuts come up for a vote before the end of this Congress. Pelosi has a great deal of discretion over whether that happens but, as we've seen today, the Democratic party doesn't have an overwhelming desire to take a stand on letting any of Bush's tax cuts expire.

A full list of the 44 members is below the fold. The signing deadline is tomorrow.

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Some Democratic strategists may be worried that by abandoning the debate over the Bush tax cuts on Capitol Hill, party leaders have lost an opportunity to battle Republicans out on the campaign trail over an issue that strikes at the economic concerns at the center of this election. Those Democrats would not be the ones advising Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in his bid to win a second term.

"It doesn't make that much difference one way or the other," Strickland campaign manager Aaron Pickrell told me on a conference call with reporters today. I asked Pickrell if the debate over tax cuts in Washington was helping or hurting his troubled campaign. Pickrell said that in a governor's race -- even one that appears to hinge on the national issues of jobs and the economy -- the hemming and hawing over tax cuts doesn't really connect with Ohio voters.

"The national narrative really doesn't filter into it," Pickrell said.

Ironically, the purpose of the call was to announce a new Strickland ad that has the governor staring into the camera starkly channeling the national frustration over the economy.

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Former President Bill Clinton is giving his advice to Democrats for the midterm elections: Come out with a coherent national agenda to counter the Republicans.

During an interview on Morning Joe, Clinton discussed the House Republicans' "Pledge to America" that was released today, modeled after Newt Gingrich's 1994 "Contract With America" that helped steamroll the Democrats during Clinton's first midterm election in 1994.

Clinton said that Gingrich had provided the country with a "political science gift": "Newt Gingrich proved with that Contract for America that you could nationalize the midterm elections. So, I think that the president and the Democrats -- even at this late date should do this as an opportunity and an obligation to say, alright, they've organized their national plan. Here's what ours is. If you hire us for two more years, here's what we're going to do."

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The Senate's decision not to address the Bush tax cuts until after the election is the strongest indication yet that the game is over. After a House Democratic caucus meeting this morning -- but before the news broke on the Senate side -- key legislators were mum, and aides pessimistic, that the House will do what Speaker Pelosi wants to do: force a vote on tax legislation that will put Republicans on the record backing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Pelosi herself had earlier canceled a scheduled press conference, another sign that her attempt to rally the caucus was coming up short. With House Democratic leaders still insisting that they will follow the Senate's lead, it seems more and more likely that they too will drop the tax cut issue until after the election.

Pelosi's effort to wrangle her caucus into voting on middle-income tax cuts before the election appears not have dislodged conservative and politically vulnerable Democrats who either wanted to extend all the Bush tax cuts, including for high-income earners, or to avoid any kind of risky vote s close to the elections.

In what would be a surprising twist, one member of the Democratic leadership team suggested Dems might pivot away from the argument over upper-income tax cuts and press ahead with a separate raft of cuts before adjourning.

At a press availability after the meeting, TPM asked Majority Whip James Clyburn whether the House will "take up the issue of the Bush tax cuts" before adjourning next week. Clyburn puzzlingly responded by noting that the caucus stands behind a full extension of tax cuts in the stimulus bill. Those cuts are popular among Democrats and Republicans, but are ultimately a different issue than the Bush cuts.

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A new Rasmussen poll of the Missouri Senate race shows Republican Rep. Roy Blunt leading Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan 52%-44%.

When Rasmussen last took a look at this contest on September 7, Blunt was on top of Carnahan 53%-43%. The TPM Poll Average finds the Republican nominee ahead 51.2%-44.0%.

The margin of error for the latest survey is ±4.0 percentage points.

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

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