TPM News

The candidates in the open-seat Connecticut Senate race, Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, met tonight for a very lively debate, with each of them maintaining a constant theme throughout: The other candidate absolutely cannot be trusted to look out for the state and the nation's economy.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Bringing The Smackdown: Linda McMahon's Campaign For Senate, And Her Colorful Pro-Wrestling Past]

Overall, the debate was probably a win for Blumenthal -- he entered the debate ahead in the polls, with a lead of 50.2%-44.2% in the TPM Poll Average -- and no knockout blows against him or gaffes on his part occurred that would seemed likely to topple him from that perch.

Each of the candidates at the debate -- which was hosted by the local Fox station and the Hartford Courant -- steadily attacked each other on similar themes. Blumenthal blasted McMahon as a greedy corporate executive who always put profits ahead of people, and touting his own long experience as a public servant. "I have stood up for the people of Connecticut over 20 years, fighting for them tenaciously, and fighting for their interest, putting them first."

McMahon, meanwhile, made the case was that Blumenthal had spent his whole adult life in government work, and that he did not have any knowledge of the private sector that would contribute to repairing the country. "This election is about very clear choices and very different policies. On the one hand you have my opponent who has been in government his whole life. And his position is about growing government, I'm about growing the economy."

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Christine O'Donnell's campaign is facing yet another set of questions about her background, and this time it's on a really weird line of discussion -- whether her father was Philadelphia's local Bozo the Clown. Seriously.

As Mark Leibovich at the New York Times reports, the O'Donnell family's past claims that her father Daniel O'Donnell had worked as Bozo sparked an uprising of online commenters who insisted that no, Daniel O'Donnell was not listed on Wikipedia as having been one of the many regionally licensed Bozo the Clown TV hosts.

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

But now Leibovich has sorted things out -- Daniel O'Donnell was an occasional understudy Bozo, not a full-time holder of the Bozo mantle. From their phone conversation:

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A conservative group is now attacking Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), with a new ad singling him out for having headed up a group for Arab-American supporters of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign.

As Amanda Terkel reports, the West Virginia Conservative Foundation's new ad shows video of Rahall, with scary-sounding music in the background. "Now I happen to have been an early supporter of Barack Obama...I campaigned with him in the hills of West Virginia. And I proudly chaired the Arab-Americans for Obama campaign nationwide group, dedicated to mobilizing Arab-Americans and bringing light to those issues we care about."

An announcer then cuts in: "Call Nick Rahall and tell him what you care about."

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Wisconsin District Attorney Kenneth Kratz resigned today, effective immediately, after several women alleged he sent sexually inappropriate text messages during his time as DA in Calumet County.

"I have lost the confidence of the people I represent due primarily to personal issues which have now affected my professional career," Kratz said in a statement today.

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Eleven people -- including four current Alabama state legislators, three lobbyists and two businessmen with casino interests -- were charged Monday for their roles in an alleged conspiracy to influence pro-gambling state legislation. FBI agents arrested seven as of mid-Monday, and federal officials said the rest of those named in the wide-ranging probe would be in custody by the end of the day.

Conversations unveiled in the indictment released Monday by the Justice Department and the FBI show that Alabama politicians and lobbyists allegedly used hard ball tactics and salty language that could make even former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich blush.

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Maybe a GOP takeover won't be as bad as Democrats think -- or want you to think.

In an interview with Wall Street Journal economics editor Steve Moore, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor came closer than any Republican leader has thus far to declaring that Republicans will not force a government shutdown if they retake the House next year.

Moore asked Cantor whether Congress and the White House would reach an impasse mirroring the 1995 shutdown. "No," Cantor said. "I don't think the country needs or wants a shutdown," adding that Republicans can avoid that outcome if they "relentlessly make the case for how government overspending and debt are strangling the future competitiveness and growth of this country."

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Right-wing activist James O'Keefe has released a statement on his planned CNN "punk," admitting that he liked the idea but contending that he wasn't going to go through with it as planned.

"There were no mirrors, sex tapes, blindfolds, fuzzy handcuffs, posters of naked women, or music," O'Keefe said. "Sorry, you were not going to see my face saying the words 'Bubble Headed Beach Blonde who comes on at 5' into a video camera."

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A newly released poll of the Illinois Senate race shows Republican Rep. Mark Kirk edging out Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 42%-41%, with Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones polling at 4% and Libertarian candidate Mike Labno earning 3%.

The latest numbers are from Suffolk University's first poll on the race. Last week saw a Chicago Tribune poll give Giannoulias a 38%-36% lead over Kirk, while a CNN/Time survey had the Democrat ahead by one, 43%-42%.

The TPM Poll Average of the matchup shows Kirk leading Giannoulias 41.3%-40.0%. The margin of error for the latest survey is ±4.4 percentage points.

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

The new survey of the Connecticut Senate from Public Policy Polling (D) race gives Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal a whopping 12-point lead over Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon -- a big change from other recent polls that have given Blumenthal a much closer edge.

The numbers: Blumenthal 53%, McMahon 41%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. This is the first PPP survey of this race since all the way back in January.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Bringing The Smackdown: Linda McMahon's Campaign For Senate, And Her Colorful Pro-Wrestling Past]

In addition, this poll gives Blumenthal a favorable rating of 53%, to 39% unfavorable, while McMahon's is exactly the opposite at 39%-53%.

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