TPM News

WASHINGTON -- Sorry Twitter, the Washington Monument isn't leaning. And tourists: that discoloration isn't a crack, and it's always been there.

TPM caught up with Park Police spokesman David Schlosser a safe distance from the Washington Monument as camera crews set up their post-earthquake liveshots. He rolled his eyes when speaking about reports that the Monument wasn't fully upright.

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It's been a tough month for Washington's approval ratings, as Congress has hit new lows and general economic confidence sank. President Obama is also being dragged down, not only because of partisan bickering over the debt deal, but because of a stagnant and volatile economy, which was one of the President's strongest issues when he came into office. Now Obama has hit a new low in the Gallup tracking poll at 38 percent approval.

Even though there is no lack of bad news, Obama is still far away from President Bush's low, which was 25 percent. The current President has had strong staying power in his approval rating, despite bruising legislative battles with Congress and the continuation of global conflicts: as the graph below shows, it has remained around the 50 percent mark.

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Former Sen. Russ Feingold and his new group Progressives United are petitioning the six House and Senate Democrats serving on the joint deficit Super Committee to walk away if Republicans don't budge on tax increases, and insist on cutting entitlement benefits.

"If we don't get our policy priorities, Democrats need to be ready to walk away from the deal," Feingold emailed his supporters. "You can guarantee extremists on the other side will continue to push relentlessly to give even more to corporations and put even more of the burden on the middle class. We have to fight harder than they will."

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The Nevada NV-02 special election, being held after Republican incumbent Dean Heller was appointed to the U.S. Senate, could be going down to the wire -- or it could be an easy blowout hold for the Republicans, depending on which poll you read. The election is being held September 13.

A new Daily Kos/Public Policy Polling (D) survey gives Republican former state Sen. Mark Amodei 43%, Democratic state Treasurer Kate Marshall 42%, American Independent Party candidate Timothy Fasano 3%, and independent Helmuth Lehmann 3%. The survey of likely voters was conducted from August 18-21, and has a 4% margin of error.

By contrast, a recent survey from Magellan Strategies (R) gave Amodei a lead of 48%-35%, with Fasano at 4% and Lehmann at 2%. This survey of likely voters was conducted from August 15-16, and has a 3.82% margin of error.

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For over two decades, the Hubble Space Telescope has orbited the earth, beaming back incredible cosmic vistas and furthering our understanding of the origins of the universe. Especially in the wake of the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet earlier this year, Hubble arguably remains the most visible and popular NASA project.

But since last year, it's been on borrowed time.

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As TPM reported Tuesday morning, Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) time as a legitimate contender for the GOP presidential nomination could be up, as a new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) shows her the third choice of Republican voters in Iowa, a state essential to her campaign. The new horserace with the full announced GOP field shows Tex. Gov. Rick Perry at the top with 22 percent, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney at 19 percent, Bachmann at 18, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) at 16 percent.

There's no way around it -- Bachmann's popularity has taken a huge hit over the last two months, as shown by the PPP numbers. In June, Bachmann enjoyed a favorable/unfavorable rating of 53 - 16. That statistic is now 47 - 35, still positive, but not particularly high considering these are GOP voters. Perry, on the other hand, has gone from relatively unknown (a 21 - 16 favorability rating in June, majority undecided) to well liked, with a 56 - 24 rating. Paul has increased his favorability rating by 11 points over that time, and Romney has dropped slightly over the last two months.

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The candidates for the NY-09 special election, to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, met for a debate on Monday night. Along with disagreement over the country's fiscal issues and the social safety net, shots were taken on such topics as President Obama's call for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based around the pre-1967 borders, and the long fought-over proposal for an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site.

The New York Times reports on the debate between Democrat David Weprin and Republican Bob Turner:

Some topics discussed at the forum have already been talked about at length during the campaign: Mr. Turner criticized the Muslim community center planned near ground zero, calling it an unnecessary provocation, and Mr. Weprin emphasized his support for Israel and said he disagreed with President Obama for saying that Israel's pre-1967 border should be the basis for a peace agreement.

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