TPM News

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) is today pressing on in the campaign against supposed infiltration of terrorist-linked Muslim interns in key national security committees on Capitol Hill.

As we told you yesterday, the charges are based on a book published by WorldNetDaily, which draws on the work of an actual intern spy, the son of the co-author who went undercover at the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

An animated Myrick complained on Fox News this morning that "quite frankly, [CAIR makes] everybody else look like they're being paranoid by saying anything about them."

Here's the video of the Myrick segment:

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Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and current Republican exploratory candidate for Senate in California, has suffered the loss of her daughter, 35-year old Lori Ann Fiorina, who died this past Monday.

The following statement was issued today by Fiorina's chief of staff, Deborah Bowker, on behalf of the family: "Carly and Frank Fiorina are deeply saddened by the loss of their youngest daughter, Lori. This is a difficult time for the family and they appreciate all good thoughts, prayers, as well as, respect for their privacy during this time of grief and healing."

A new Rasmussen poll of the New Jersey gubernatorial race finds that independent Chris Daggett could be continuing to surge -- but that if his support falls back down, as third-party candidates often do, Republican Chris Christie could hold on to a narrow lead over Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

Respondents were asked for initial support of candidates, and it came out as a tie between the top two: Christie 38%, Corzine 38%, Daggett 16%.

However, Daggett supporters were given a follow-up question about whether they might change their minds, and who they might vote for if they do -- similar to the process that Rasmussen normally uses to push people from the undecided column into leaning towards a candidate. The poll then found that 57% of Daggett supporters could change their minds, and this could result in a new number: Christie 45%, Corzine 41%, Daggett 9%.

"The race is a tossup, and the key question will be if Daggett loses support, how much support will he lose, and where will it go," Scott Rasmussen told TPM, also adding: "There is no perfect way to measure this. But this is where the play is."

Speaking at her weekly press conference just off the House floor moments ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her most impassioned argument in weeks, for including a public option in comprehensive health care reform legislation, arguing against the idea, favored by some conservative Democrats, of mandating that people buy health insurance,\ and then throwing them into what she called the "lion's den" of the private insurance industry.

In so doing, Pelosi came closer than any member of the Democratic leadership has thusfar to suggesting that the individual mandate should be conditional on the inclusion of a public option. Pelosi did not elaborate, when pressed by TPMDC, on whether Congress would revisit the individual mandate if the public option can't survive the Senate. But her implication was fairly clear.

The House, she said, "will not force America's middle income families to negotiate with insurance companies."

Health care experts agree that health insurance market reforms can not work unless everybody is in the risk pool--and that means a mandate. But privately, many activists and experts believe that a strong individual mandate is also a gift to the insurance industry, and that it should be used as a bargaining chip to secure other robust measures, such as the public option.

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There's some big goings-on in Puerto Rico today that don't seem to be getting much press coverage -- big as in hundreds of thousands of people marching against the government, and possibly being threatened with charges of terrorism as a result.

It starts with Puerto Rico's faltering economy -- a $3.2 billion deficit and an unemployment rate of 15 percent as of last month. That's higher than any U.S. state. More than 20,000 public employees have been laid off and the government announced last month nearly 17,000 additional layoffs of public employees. That includes teachers, social workers and health care workers, among others. The latest firings are effective Nov. 6.

So today, according to SEIU, "hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican workers, faith leaders, students and citizens" are taking part today in a protest march against "massive cuts in essential public services." There could be severe consequences for doing so.

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The Obama campaign organization is flexing its considerable muscle in the Virgina gubernatorial race. This morning, Organizing For America -- the post-election name for Obama's 2008 campaign organization -- sent an email to its Virginia list calling on Obama grassroots activists to sign on with Creigh Deeds.

The email is good news for Deeds, whose trailing in polls and needs a boost among the core Democratic demographics OFA leveraged last year when it turned Virginia blue for the first time since 1964.

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The Republican National Committee is keeping up their push to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in 2010, with the RNC launching a new radio ad in the Reno media market to attack Reid's upcoming fundraiser tomorrow with Vice President Joe Biden.

The announcer attacks Reid for holding a high-dollar fundraiser, while unemployment is going up in Nevada: "Are you invited? To the fundraiser for Senator Harry Reid. For only $4800 a couple, you get breakfast with the good Senator and his friend Vice President Joe Biden. Must be a good menu."

Texas governor Rick Perry has defended his handling of a death penalty case that may have led to the execution of an innocent man -- and launched an extraordinary attack on the dead man himself.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Perry yesterday called Cameron Todd Wilingham a "monster," a "bad man," and "a guy who murdered his three children, who tried to beat his wife into an abortion so that she wouldn't have those kids."

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