TPM News

MSNBC and CNN are reporting this afternoon that FBI agents have visited Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones.

Details were sketchy, but MSNBC reported they were there as part of security measures.

A spokeswoman for the Gainesville Police Department told TPMmuckraker that the department has been working with state and federal agencies on security and has been preparing for Saturday's "Burn A Koran Day" for more than a month.

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Republican Mark Kirk is locked in a tight race for the Illinois Senate seat once occupied by President Obama. That's according to a new poll from Rasmussen today showing Kirk leading Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias 41-37. Green party nominee LeAlan Jones draws 9% in the poll. There is no past Rasmussen poll of the three-way race for direct comparison.

The TPM Poll Average for the Giannoulias-Kirk matchup shows the Republican ahead 41.3-40.0. Past polling with Jones included has shown the Green party candidate drawing about 10% of the vote. Most observers say that takes away from potential Giannoulias support.

The Rasmussen survey of 750 likely voters in Illinois was conducted Sept. 7. The poll has a margin of error of 4.0%.

Less than a day after President Obama took Republicans to the mat over their push to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the Senate's most conservative Democrat has reiterated his opposition to letting those cuts expire. But Obama isn't forcing his hand. In fact, he won't threaten to veto any attempt to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy.

"I support extending all of the expiring tax cuts until Nebraska's and the nation's economy is in better shape, and perhaps longer, because raising taxes in a weak economy could impair recovery," reads a statement from Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE).

The majority of Democrats support renewing most of the Bush tax cuts. But all the cuts are set to expire at the end of the year, so Congress will soon choose which to extend. Obama wants Congress to send him a bill making the tax cuts on the middle class permanent and letting the cuts for the wealthy expire. But Republicans are holding out for at least a two year extension of all the cuts, and if they, along with Nelson and other Democrats, are willing to filibuster, they could force Obama's hand.

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Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) has an incredible new ad out -- rehiring the actors who appeared in a popular Democratic ad from 2008, with their characters talking about how they bungled it last time.

Back in 2008, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ran ads featuring two down-home old men on a porch, talking about how ineffectual and pro-Bush Sen. Elizabeth Dole was. The ad picked up a lot of attention. When election day finally rolled around, Dole lost to Democrat Kay Hagan by a 53%-44% landslide, and Barack Obama carried the state against John McCain by a margin of less than one percent -- the first Dem to carry the state for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Now Burr's campaign has headhunted those two old men actors, snatching them away from the Dems for the incumbent's new spot, clearly aimed at voters who might have buyer's remorse. "Boy we sure got it wrong last election," the first man says.

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Interpol today warned its 188 member countries that there may be a higher threat of terrorism if a Florida fringe pastor burns Korans on Saturday as planned.

"One of INTERPOL's primary functions is to prevent crime, and given that we have been made aware of a significant threat to public safety - an assessment which we share - it is our duty to ensure that we pass this information on to law enforcement agencies around the globe so that they can take appropriate measures," Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a press release.

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President Obama has spread some more campaign wealth around the Democratic Party -- using $4.5 million that was left over from his mega-successful 2008 campaign operation to infuse the party's national campaign arms.

Politico reports that the money has come from funds that had been set aside for legal expenses to shut down the campaign: "As soon as it was determined that these funds were no longer needed for the shutdown of the campaign, the president directed that $1.5 million be transferred to each of the following committees: DCCC, DSCC and DNC. Obama for America earlier in the cycle had transferred $8 million, which was split between the DCCC and the DSCC."

Bryan Fischer, the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the American Family Association, wrote a blog post yesterday that argues that "Germany is giving us a template on how we handle Muslims: just like we handle neo-Nazis," which amounts to German police carrying "out 30 predawn raids against the nation's largest neo-Nazi group two days ago."

Fischer is known for his Islamophobia, previously arguing that the U.S. should have "no more mosques, period," because "every single mosque is a potential terror training center or recruitment center for jihad" and thus "you cannot claim first amendment protections if your religious organization is engaged in subversive activities."

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One of the biggest political shockers this fall is happening right here in TPMDC's own backyard, as D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray is poised to unseat D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty on Tuesday.

In a Democratic primary race that has a lot to do with race and neighborhood gentrification, the incumbent Fenty has struggled all summer. With the election now just a few days away, Gray leads every poll -- even though Fenty is earning all the big newspaper endorsements.

Fenty admitted in an interview on WTOP yesterday he's phoned the White House to ask for his buddy President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to formally back him and come out on the campaign trail or appear in mailings. But TPMDC is hearing the president won't be saying a peep before Tuesday -- and so is Fenty.

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There's a new 527 political organization on the scene this week with a very specific purpose -- defending Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio -- who describes himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff" -- was sued last week by the Justice Department for not cooperating with a civil rights investigation into whether his office discriminated his enforcement of immigration laws.

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