TPM News

J Street, the "pro-Israel pro-peace" group which is holding its first national conference this month, has sent out an email blast in response to a Weekly Standard-pushed campaign to get members of Congress to drop off the conference's honorary host committee.

So far, five members have asked that their names be removed -- including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) -- with some saying they don't know how their names got on the list. Schumer, for his part, asked not to be included after initially allowing his name on the list, and that happened before the matter was public.

J Street today sent an email to members of its list who are represented by lawmakers on the host committee. It asks supporters to call lawmakers to voice their support for J Street.

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A new focus-group of Republican base voters by the Democracy Corps (D), the consulting and polling outfit headed up by James Carville and Stan Greenberg, presents a picture of the GOP base as being motivated by a fundamentally different worldview than folks in the middle or on the Dem side -- and they see the country as being under a dire threat.

"They believe Obama is ruthlessly advancing a 'secret agenda' to bankrupt the United States and dramatically expand government control to an extent nothing short of socialism," the analysis said." While these voters are disdainful of a Republican Party they view to have failed in its mission, they overwhelmingly view a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of this country's founding principles and are committed to seeing the president fail."

The analysis argues that Obama's unpopularity among conservative Republicans is both quantitatively and qualitatively different from liberal Democratic ire against George W. Bush -- that the GOP is more heavily conservative than the Democrats are heavily liberal, and that the hatred of Obama is more intense than Dem hatred of Bush was. All of this adds up to a powerful set of emotions that the Republican Party as a whole cannot ignore.

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Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) says he plans to run for reelection in 2012, despite being dogged by a sex-and-cover-up scandal since June.

Recent fundraising reports show that Ensign might be the only one who thinks running again is a good idea. In the third fundraising quarter, Ensign banked just $33,000 -- a low number for any incumbent senator and a huge drop compared to his normally gold-plated FEC filings.

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Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is sticking with his cow on the tracks metaphor.

"Moo moo!" he cried Thursday night at a form at the University of Akron, according to audio taped by the Akron Beacon Journal.

Steele had been asked about his original cow-on-the-tracks moment. On Wednesday, after a Fox anchor said the health care reform train has "already left the station," Steele said:

"Well, I'm the cow on the tracks. You're gonna have to stop that train to get this cow off the track to move forward," Steele said. "They told us in June that there would be a health care bill on the president's desk on Aug. 1. I think our efforts helped change that dynamic, and our efforts this fall will continue to change that dynamic."

Video after the jump.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is getting back on the campaign trail tomorrow to try and help former Virginia attorney general Bob McDonnell (R) win over veterans with less than three weeks until the governor's race.

McCain, a decorated Vietnam veteran, will join McDonnell for a rally at a VFW post in Virginia Beach.

The 2008 presidential nominee was a huge campaign get before he ran for president, but has avoided the trail this year.

The 10 a.m. Veterans for McDonnell rally will be held at VFW Post 392 in Virginia Beach.

McDonnell, who served in the Army on both active duty and reserve in the 1980s and 1990s, represented Virginia Beach when he was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

A nationally known arson expert who had been scheduled to testify before a Texas panel probing an investigation that may have led to the death of an innocent man has slammed Governor Rick Perry's handling of the case.

In an email to an official for the Texas Forensic Science Commission, Craig Beyler called for the appointment of the panel members ousted by Perry last month, and the resignation of the new members that Perry appointed in their place. And he said that Perry, a Republican, should recuse himself from making appointments to the panel because -- having signed off on the execution despite a last minute bid from the convicted man's lawyer for a postponement -- the governor has a "conflict of interest."

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Terry McAuliffe is returning to the campaign trail in the Virginia gubernatorial race this weekend. The former DNC chair has kept a low-profile in the race since June 30, when Creigh Deeds defeated him and Brian Moran in the three-way Democratic primary.

But now, with less than 20 days to go in a race that looks more and more like McDonnell's to lose, McAuliffe is back. A campaign spokesperson tells TPMDC that McAuliffe will kick off a canvassing drive in his adopted hometown of McLean. Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey will join him at the event.

We'll post more details as they come in.

Al Gore is dropping in on Creigh Deeds this afternoon to provide the Democratic gubernatorial nominee with a much-needed fundraising boost. Gore is set to headline a fundraiser for Deeds in the the D.C. suburb of McLean later today.

The pairing is a likely one for both men. Deeds has received the endorsement of most major VA environmental advocacy groups in his race against GOP nominee Bob McDonnell. Last night, the GOP suggested another connection between Gore and Deeds -- support for cap-and-trade, which the party calls "cap-and-tax."

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And the winner of the money race in the wake of Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) infamous "You lie!" outburst during President Obama's speech to Congress is...Joe Wilson.

Wilson raised $2.7 million in the third quarter, while his Democratic opponent Rob Miller -- who had initially enjoyed a big fundraising surge in the immediate aftermath of "You lie!" -- got $1.7 million. While Miller's total is certainly very impressive by all normal standards of House races, and especially for a race that had not been on anybody's radar before this controversy, Wilson's supporters clearly out-hustled the Dems on this one.

Miller, an Iraq war veteran, previously ran against Wilson in 2008. Wilson won that race by 54%-46%, after having previously won overwhelming landslide victories in his previous campaigns. Heading into 2010, voters will probably be seeing and hearing a lot from these two.

"I love Nancy Pelosi," President Obama declared last night at a swank San Francisco fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. He lauded the speaker (D-CA) and talked about her role in health care.

"She faces down some of the toughest problems -- not just policy problems, but political problems that you can imagine -- and she doesn't break a sweat," Obama said. "She is willing to stare folks down and tell them how things are going to be. And that steel that Nancy Pelosi has is part of the reason why this has been such an incredibly productive Congress and why I'm so confident that we're going to end up getting health care done."

The San Francisco Chronicle has more detail.

DNC officials told reporters the two fundraisers at the Westin St. Francis raised $3 million.

Obama's remarks at both events after the jump.

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