TPM News

While President Obama has fared well at the state level in early 2012 presidential election polls, a newly released national poll paints a more troublesome picture for the president's re-election bid.

The McClatchy-Marist survey finds 41% of Democrats are in favor of a challenge for the Democratic presidential nomination. When Democratic-leaning independents are included, 45% support a primary challenge, 46% don't, and 9% aren't sure.

A November 15 Quinnipiac poll showed much less support for a contested 2012 primary, with just 27% of Democrats and Democrat leaners saying they wanted a Dem besides Obama to run in 2012, while 64% didn't.

In the Marist poll, only 36% of respondents indicate that they would "definitely vote for him" in the general election, whereas 48% state they will "definitely vote against him."

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In the latest dispute in the Alaska Senate race, Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski are debating where to hold the hearings over Miller's lawsuit in state court. Murkowski, who announced Monday that she would attempt to intervene as a party on the state's side of the case, argues that the case should be heard in Juneau, where the write-in vote count was held. Miller wants the suit heard in Fairbanks.

The tea party-backed Miller won a surprise victory over Murkowski in the Republican primary, only to fall short to her historic write-in bid in the general election. Murkowski has declared victory and the AP has called the race for her -- though the state hasn't certified the result yet.

The court has yet to decide whether to accept Murkowski's attempt to become a part of the suit, which she said was an attempt "to keep those thousands of voters from being disenfranchised by Mr. Miller."

Her campaign manager Kevin Sweeney says the campaign will file a motion over the location if the state won't, KTUU reports.

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In a new sit-down interview with Barbara Walters, President Obama suggested that while he respects Sarah Palin's political skills, he's a bit too busy to pay her much attention.

Obama said he is not giving much thought to the 2012 election. When asked if he thinks he could beat Sarah Palin in 2012, he replied, "I don't think much about Sarah Palin."

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Denise Cheung has one of the toughest jobs in the Justice Department: Attorney General Eric Holder's top national security adviser.

For five years before she took the job advising Holder, Cheung was investigating and prosecuting cases related to terrorist attacks abroad, violations of export sanctions, material support to terrorists, presidential threats and espionage during her tenure in the National Security Section of the D.C. federal prosecutor's office.

Her legal opponent for one of those terrorism funding cases: her now-boss, Attorney General Eric Holder.

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Napolitano Thanks TSA Staff For Hard Work The Hill reports: "Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano thanked TSA workers for their vigilance and hard work on Tuesday afternoon...In a letter to TSA employees on Tuesday, a day before one of the busiest travel days in the country, Napolitano acknowledged the hardships of their job and said that the country was counting on them to keep them safe."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m ET. He will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey at 10:30 a.m. ET. He will meet at 11:30 a.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. At 4:20 p.m. ET, the First Family will participate in a service event.

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Ever since the magazine declared the Chevy Volt to be its 2011 Car of the Year, Motor Trend has been driving Rush Limbaugh mad. As ThinkProgress reports, the radio host, who has long been at odds with the car, publicly slammed the publication for its decision. This prompted a Motor Trend editor to shoot back with a long, strongly worded letter. And by letter we mean blog post.
Limbaugh fanned the flames of this unusual feud when he asked,

[O]f all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that's the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold [and] the Volt is the Car of the Year.

Peeved, editor Todd Lassa responded on Motor Trend's website with his own questions:

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Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush (IL) is looking to land the top Dem spot on the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. But he is facing opposition from an unexpected source on the left. James Rucker is the executive director of Color of Change, a left-leaning group dedicated to "strengthening Black America's political voice," and told TPM yesterday that Congressman Rush is the "leading black voice that has argued against Net Neutrality provisions." If Rush were to become ranking member of the committee, Rucker said, he'd be "in a position where he could to do big harm" as someone who's "consistently been on the side of industry and not protecting the public interest."

Rush's biggest funders are from the telecommunications sector -- an interest group firmly opposed to Net Neutrality. As reports:

During his congressional career, Rush has received $78,964 from AT&T -- his second largest career contributor. He's also gotten $43,499 from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and $42,000 from Verizon, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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The 2010 midterm elections were kind of a bummer, if you're a Democrat. Among Democrats who survived the bloodbath, it's a really big bummer for Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) -- an appropriator and prolific fundraiser whose role in the 2012 cycle is now unclear.

With over 60 seats lost and the party relegated to minority status, the party has fewer perks -- leadership positions, plum committee assignments, etc. -- to offer its most influential members. As you might expect, it's created visible tension within the party. It's also added some bumps to Wasserman Schultz's once-clear path to party leadership.

When the Republicans take over next year, the ratios on House committees will practically flip. For a lot of Democrats -- particularly senior members -- this won't matter much. There's frequently some correspondence between the number of spots the losing party loses on a committee, and the number of members of that committee who are defeated or retire.

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