TPM News

A new Qunnipiac poll shows the wealthy self-funding candidates who had pulled ahead in the Florida primaries for governor and U.S. Senate may be seeing their time in the spotlight coming to an end.

According to the new numbers, the establishment choices in the GOP gubernatorial primary and the Democratic primary for Senate are on top, while the wealthy men who have spent millions to defeat them now find themselves in second place. In the Senate race, Rep. Kendrick Meek is ahead of billionaire investor Jeff Greene 35-28, according to the Q poll. In the Republican gubernatorial fight, state attorney general Bill McCollum now leads former hospital executive Rick Scott 44-35.

Those numbers mark big shifts from the last Quinnipiac poll from late July, when Greene led Meek 33-23, and Scott led McCollum 43-32.

With just days to go before the August 24 primary elections, the poll suggests the establishment picks in the two vicious primary battles may finally be able to relax a bit after weeks of running behind their upstart challengers. But as the pollster writes in the Quinnipiac release today, there's still plenty of mystery left in the contests, despite the new numbers.

Read More →

In a new chapter for the paperback edition of his look back at the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe argues the president isn't looking toward 2012.

"I can tell you that the president is not concerned with his reelection. He is focused on leading the country forward," Plouffe writes in the forthcoming paperback version of his 2009 book "The Audacity to Win."

If any political observers weren't already snickering at those two lines, Plouffe adds: "We have no reelection campaign in the wings. We'll build it when the time is appropriate."

Read More →

The Cordoba House project, the Muslim community center that is set to be built in lower Manhattan a few blocks from the World Trade Center site, has inspired all sorts of opposition. But it's not exactly a not-in-my-back-yard phenomenon. In fact, many of the politicians who have called for stopping the project, and who have spoken of the sacredness of the ground there, aren't from anywhere even remotely nearby to begin with.

Indeed, the intensity of opposition seems to increase as one actually gets further away from the site. And this isn't just for politicians, it's for us regular people, too. A CNN poll has put national opposition at 68%. Meanwhile, a Marist poll of New York City put opposition at a somewhat lower 53%. And furthermore, opposition was lowest in Manhattan -- the site of the actual Ground Zero location and the 9/11 attacks -- where a 53% majority approved of the Muslim community center, compared to 31% against. Opposition then increases in the surrounding boroughs of New York City, a place that has a population larger than many states, and then increases even more going out into the country beyond.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Welcome To The Neighborhood: A Look At The Area Around The 'Ground Zero Mosque']

We decided to use a simple methodology: Using Google Earth, put down a location pin on the World Trade Center site, and then measure the distance to the hometowns of politicians who have slammed the project. So let's take a look at some of these political leaders who come from far and wide, and want to preserve the integrity of the hallowed land with which they don't actually come into regular contact.

Read More →

A top Justice Department official scolded the ATF and the FBI for allowing the turf war between the two federal agency to continue, saying that squabbles in the wake of explosives incidents leave local responders confused about who's in charge as they work to defuse live bombs.

But Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler told ATF Deputy Director Ken Melson and FBI Director Robert in a memo obtained by TPMMuckraker that he thinks he's worked out a solution on which both sides can agree.

Read More →

In response to a giant new anti-stimulus ad campaign by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, Democratic organizations and candidates will press their Republican opponents to "refudiate" the group, implying that acceptance of support from AfP amounts to support for outsourcing and other unpopular business practices. Although the ads would likely have been allowable before the Citizens United decision, Democrats warn that it's just part of the new, unregulated campaign finance future.

"Republican congressional candidates owe it to voters to denounce these shadowy Right Wing front groups like Americans for Prosperity and demand they stay out of their districts unless they disclose their donor list," reads a statement to TPM from DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer, "If they refuse to do so, they are sending a message to voters loud and clear - they stand firmly on the side of these shady Washington front groups and their Right Wing agenda of outsourcing American jobs overseas and allowing foreign corporations like British Petroleum or Huge Chavez's Citgo to influence American elections."

Read More →

The general election field is now set in the Washington Senate race, with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican rival Dino Rossi advancing to the general election November.

With 52% of precincts reporting, Murray has 47% and Rossi 34%, ahead of former pro football player Clint Didier (who was endorsed by Sarah Palin) at only 11%. The Associated Press has projected Murray and Rossi as the winners of the primary, proceeding to a final match-up in November.

Washington state does not use conventional primaries like the rest of the country, but uses a different system known as "Top Two." All candidates appear on the same primary ballot, regardless of party, with the top two vote-getters going on to the general election (regardless of whether somebody were to get over 50% of the vote). This system allows for the possibility of two Democrats or two Republicans facing off in the final round, though in most instances such as this one it ends up as one Dem and one GOPer. And this system is spreading, too -- it was recently passed by referendum in California, to take effect next cycle.

Read More →

1||August 17, 2010: The Perseid Meteor Shower peaked over the weekend, when as many as 100 meteors an hour streaked across the sky as the Earth passed through the path of debris thrown off by Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Pictured: The view from Flagstaff, Arizona. ||Flickr: L.Brumm Photography&&

2||Glastonbury, England.||Newscom/Zuma&&

3||Sebastopol, California.||Newscom/Zuma&&



6||Eureka, Michigan.||Flickr: Paladin27&&

7||Somerset, England.||Newscom/Zuma&&

8||A 53-minute time lapse of the sky during the shower, taken from Flagstaff, Arizona.||Flickr: L.Brumm Photography&&

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank is calling for the abolition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises with a public mandate to boost home ownership, and which were taken into conservatorship during the 2008 financial crisis.

In an appearance on Fox Business Network tonight, Frank said they should be replaced with new programs to support affordable rental housing.

"I think they should be abolished," Frank said. "The only question is what do you put in their place. This is a situation where given the importance they had come to play in housing, you can't tear down the old jail until you build a new one. And that's a process that we've started."

Read More →

Rand Paul -- whose belief in the absolute preeminence of private property rights has put him in hot water before -- appears to be attempting to thread the needle when it comes to the Cordoba House project in lower Manhattan. He says the project is a local issue that should be left to local authorities to handle -- but he also says that the Islamic community center shouldn't be built in the controversial lower Manhattan site.

What's more, he says, if Muslims really want to do right by the 9/11 families who Republicans say are offended by the Cordoba House project, they should do something else with their money besides building a cultural center.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Welcome To The Neighborhood: A Look At The Area Around The 'Ground Zero Mosque']

Read More →