TPM News

In advance of his March To Keep Fear Alive rally this weekend, Stephen Colbert provided a "refresher course on the five basic fear groups" on his show last night. In a segment called "Stephen Colbert's Fear-For All," Colbert talked to representatives of the five things he fears most: A gay man, a Mexican, a Muslim, a bear project leader at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, or "grizzly coddler," and a researcher on artificial intelligence who "could be a robot."

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At the final Louisiana Senate debate last night, incumbent David Vitter (R) dodged repeated questions about whether he broke the law by soliciting prostitutes in Washington, D.C. and Louisiana.

"[Y]ou can look back, you can continue to write stories in the media about it," Vitter told moderators. "That's your decision. It's a free country. I looked the voters of Louisiana in the eye. I spoke to them sincerely. I think they heard me and I think they understood me. And now I'm looking forward, I'm not looking back."

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On the Daily Show last night, Aasif Mandvi and Larry Wilmore showed up to help Jon Stewart debate negative campaign ads. Larry Wilmore was Team Negative, and, as he described it, "Aasif was supposed to be 'Team Positive,' but clearly my opponent couldn't even handle the simple assignment of picking out the right shirt. Aasif Mandvi: Can we trust him?"

Aasif countered: "Larry Wilmore fucks chickens. Larry Wilmore is a chicken fucker, and from what I understand, the sex is not always consensual."

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Two new polls of the Wisconsin Senate race confirm that Republican businessman Ron Johnson leads three-term Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold. And though the Democrat has gained some ground, Feingold is still stuck in the mid-40s.

The new survey from Public Policy Polling (D): Johnson 53%, Feingold 44%. The survey of likely voters has a ±2.6% margin of error. In the previous poll from mid-September, Johnson led by 52%-41%.

And the We The People survey, a consortium of media interests in Wisconsin: Johnson 48%, Feingold 44%. The survey of likely voters has a ±5% margin of error. In the previous survey from early October, Johnson led by 49%-41%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Johnson a lead of 51.8%-44.6%.

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When President Obama appeared on The Daily Show Wednesday night, he made a claim that may have caused some viewers to take pause. "Most of the jobs that we lost were lost before the economic policies we put in place had any effect," Obama told Jon Stewart.

But Polifact, the St. Petersburg Times's Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking operation, has taken a closer look at the President's statement--and found that it holds up.

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The new Monmouth University poll of the Delaware Senate race has Democrat Chris Coons's lead over Republican activist Christine O'Donnell shrinking, but Coons is still ahead by ten points.

The numbers: Coons 51%, O'Donnell 41%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous Monmouth poll from just over two weeks ago, Coons led by a wider margin of 57%-38%.

[TPM SLIDESHOW - Christine O'Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee]

From the pollster's analysis: "While Coons still has the advantage, it has to be uncomfortable knowing that O'Donnell was able to shave 9 points off his lead in just two weeks. The interesting thing is that while her vote total has risen, the majority of Delaware voters still say she is unqualified for the post."

The TPM Poll Average gives Coons a lead of 55.2%-37.7%.

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Kendrick Meek did talk to Bill Clinton about dropping his Democratic bid to be the next Senator from Florida, a move that supporters of the plan say would have opened up an opportunity for independent Charlie Crist to catch Republican Marco Rubio's rising star before Election Day. But Meek insists he did not agree to drop out of the race, ever, as Clintonistas told Ben Smith at Politico and many, many other reporters yesterday.

That is the takeaway from Meek's round of TV appearances this morning, and it is the story as Meek is telling it. Team Clinton did not respond to my requests for comment on Meek's take last night.

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A newly released SurveyUSA poll of the Washington Senate race finds Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray and Republican nominee Dino Rossi deadlocked 47%-47%.

When SurveyUSA looked at this race on October 14, Murray was leading by three points, 50%-47%. Yesterday, a Rasmussen survey found Rossi on top of the race for the first time in more than two weeks of heavy polling.

The TPM Poll Average finds the Democrat ahead in the contest 48.8%-45.8%. The margin of error for the latest survey is ±3.8 percentage points.

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

Today's Muhlenberg daily tracking poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race gives Republican Pat Toomey a five-point lead, 47%-42%, over Democrat Joe Sestak.

In yesterday's tracking poll -- which overlaps this one by three days out of the four-day sample -- Toomey had a slightly wider lead of 48%-40%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Stranger Than Fiction? TPM Casts The 2010 Midterms Movie]

The TPM Poll Average gives Toomey a lead of 46.2%-43.1%.

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The AP takes a look at some of the results of a Pentagon survey on servicemembers' views about gays in the military:

An internal Pentagon study has found that most U.S. troops and their families don't care whether gays are allowed to serve openly and think the policy of "don't ask, don't tell" could be done away with, according to officials familiar with its findings.

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