TPM News

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has conceded defeat in her Republican primary, losing in a major upset to right-wing challenger Joe Miller. The primary was held last week, with Miller taking a 51%-49% lead in the election night count to the surprise of many observers. However, the final result was delayed by an extended period of absentee ballots arriving, with many of them counted earlier today.

The Anchorage Daily News reports:

Speaking to reporters at her campaign headquarters in Anchorage, Murkowski said "based on where we are right now, I don't see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor."

The concession came after a day of counting absentee ballots in which Murkowski gained little ground on Miller, the Fairbanks attorney backed by former Gov. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express.

Miller will face Democrat Scott McAdams, the mayor or Sitka.

Updated: 8:25 p.m. ET

In an Oval Office speech tonight, President Obama heralded the official end of combat operations in Iraq. But it was not an entirely triumphant moment for the White House, as it continues to be assailed in all directions over the war and the U.S. economy.

"Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended," Obama said in prepared remarks. "Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. This was my pledge to the American people as a candidate for this office."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Goodbye, Iraq: Many American Soldiers Come Home After U.S. Drawdown]

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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric trying to build an Islamic community center and mosque in downtown Manhattan, is cutting short his visit to the Middle East in order to deal with the controversy at home.

ABC News reports that Rauf, who has been traveling for the State Department as part of a mission to build understanding between Middle Eastern countries and the U.S., will leave from Dubai tomorrow.

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Sharron Angle has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, seeking to shake the Harry Reid ads that have painted her as an extremist. Instead of directly rebutting the charges, however, Angle turns the focus back to the lousy economy.

"On Harry Reid's watch, Nevada's unemployment rate has shot past 14% -- highest in the country," says Angle. "Our foreclosure is highest in the nation. Home values have dropped almost 50%. Those aren't just numbers -- they're people who've lost their jobs, families who've lost their homes.

"Harry Reid's dragged Nevada down to perhaps its lowest point ever -- and he wants call me an extremist?"

The TPM Poll Average currently puts Reid ahead by 46.6%-43.7%.

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The Florida gubernatorial race could be getting yet another curveball thrown into it, the St. Petersburg Times reports, with independent candidate Bud Chiles expected to drop out soon. And at first glance, it looks like this could ultimately benefit the Democrats.

Chiles, a businessman and activist for health care for children in poor areas, is a son of the late Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, and had acknowledged that his views are closer to the Democratic side than the GOP. Interestingly, Chiles said last week that he thought the upset win in the Republican primary by right-wing former health care executive Rick Scott would help his own campaign -- but that he would not want to be a spoiler.

"I'll say this till the end: I'm not in this race to create a situation where Rick Scott becomes governor," Chiles told reporters last Thursday. "I believe every day, and I think what happened in the (Republican) primary is a very strong indication that I have a very viable candidacy. As long as my candidacy is viable, then, if I'm sending the message that Floridians want to hear, I'm going to keep doing that. And if, at some point, I feel that it's not viable then we can have another discussion about it."

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A 35-year-old Seattle man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly punching a 7-11 clerk in the head.

Police say Brock Stainbrook walked into the 7-11 just after midnight Aug. 24, approached a clerk wearing a turban, threw change on the floor and then punched the clerk in the side of the head.

"You're not even American, you're Al-Qaeda. Go back to your country," he then said, according to police.

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Two new polls of the race to replace Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania show Republican nominee Pat Toomey building momentum against Democratic nominee Joe Sestak.

A Rasmussen poll of 750 likely voters conducted yesterday shows Toomey with a six-point lead (he's ahead of Sestak 48-42). A Reuters/Ipsos poll of 407 likely voters conducted over the weekend shows Toomey's lead to be even greater: he leads that poll 47-37.

Both polls echo the TPM Poll Average for the contest, which shows Toomey settling into a relatively comfortable lead as the general election campaign hits full swing. The average shows the Republican ahead 46.3-39.6. The previous Rasmussen poll, from August 16, showed Toomey leading 48-40. There is no other Reuters/Ipsos poll for direct comparison.

Previous Rasmussen polling has shown the race to be much closer, with Sestak trailing by very little or even leading in the hectic weeks surrounding his May 18 primary win over Specter.

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1||August 31, 2010: Troops continue to come home from Iraq as the U.S. ends its combat mission after more than seven years of war.

Here, on August 23, the flight crew of a C-17 oversees the boarding of soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Iraq. These soldiers are among the first to leave under the recent drawdown of forces.||Flickr: The U.S. Army/U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ry Norris&&

2||July 21: U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters depart from Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Diyala province, Iraq.||Flickr: The U.S. Army/Spc. Brandon D. Bolick, U.S. Army&&

3||August 16: Soldiers with Company F, "Fierce Company," 52nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th SBCT, 2nd Infantry Division, United States Division-Center, listen to a convoy brief at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The 4th SBCT is the last combat brigade to leave Iraq.||Flickr: The U.S. Army&&

4||August 16: Soldiers with Company F cross the border into Kuwait, symbolizing the end of their year-long deployment and the departure of the last U.S. combat troops in Iraq.||Flickr: The U.S. Army&&

5||August 19: A soldier with the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, waves as he and his fellow Strykers roll across the border from Iraq into Kuwait in the early morning hours.||Flickr: The U.S. Army&&

6||August 11: Gen. Raymond Odierno (right), commander of United States Forces in Iraq, with Iraqi leaders.||Army.mil&&

7||August 19: Col. Gwendolyn Bingham and Brig. Gen. Nick Tooliatos of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, salute soldiers from the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division as they enter Kuwait.||Newscom/UPI&&

8||August 16: Members of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, make a last patrol through Iraq as the prepare to leave the country. ||Flickr: The U.S. Army&&

9||August 21: Col. John Norris (left), commander of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Huggins, senior command sergeant major of 4th SBCT, case the colors of the last combat brigade to leave Iraq at Camp Virginia, Kuwait.||Flickr: The U.S. Army&&

10||August 28: Soldiers of C Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd U S Infantry Regiment return from Taji, Iraq to Andrews Joint Base outside Washington, D.C. ||Newscom/Imagostock&&

11|| ||Newscom/Imagostock&&

12|| ||Newscom/Imagostock&&

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