TPM News

Democrat Creigh Deeds is now within four percentage points of Republican Bob McDonnell in the Virgina governor's race, according to a new InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research poll.

The poll, conducted last night among 602 voters, showed 48 percent support McDonnell and 44 support Deeds, and seven percent with no opinion. There was a 3.8 percent margin of error.

A Washington Post poll earlier this week also showed a four-point difference, at 51-47. A Rasmussen poll showed the candidates within two points, 48-46.

Bill Sparkman was warned about the danger of going into rural parts of Kentucky to conduct Census interviews, a retired state trooper who knew him told TPMmuckraker.

Gilbert Acciardo, who ran an after-school program at a southeastern Kentucky high-school where Sparkman was a substitute teacher, said that when Sparkman -- a Florida native -- first started doing the Census work, "I said, you're going into rural Kentucky, isolated areas. Be careful over there -- people may not understand that you're there to gather statistics."

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Former Gov. Douglas Wilder (D-VA) will not endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds in this year's gubernatorial race, despite a personal request from President Obama to do so.

In a column on the web site Virginia Tomorrow, Wilder wrote that Deeds's stance on handguns and taxes are what led him to refrain from an endorsement.

Deeds opposes a law that allows residents to purchase only one handgun a month. He has also said he would raise taxes to fix Virginia's transportation system.

Wilder said Obama asked him to endorse Deeds.

"I'm not thinking the president is going to be pleased," he told CNN. He and the President "have a very good relationship," he said.

Wilder's refusal of Obama comes after reports that the President asked New York Gov. David Paterson to step aside in next year's gubernatorial race. Paterson says he is still in the race.

On FOX News a few minutes ago, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) -- in endorsing Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's imminent request for more troops in Afghanistan -- told Neil Cavuto that the U.S. predicament in Afghanistan is more like World War II than Vietnam.

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In a lengthy speech on the House floor today, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) declared that President Obama is "the star of ACORN, the lead, chief organizer."

Railing against ACORN, King mentioned Obama's comment on Sunday that he hasn't paid much attention to the scandal.

"Really, Mr. President?" King said, revealing the poster of Obama you see at left.

"He's not interested in ACORN? He's ambivalent about it?" King asked. "Curious."

King went on about Obama's involvement with the housing group, saying it was part of the "genesis" of Obama's political life. "He walks with them all the way through."

He then called on every committee in the House to investigate ACORN. The Justice Department's "lame little announcement" that it will investigate the group isn't enough, he said.

Lest you forget, yesterday King claimed that gay marriage is but a first step on the path to socialism.

(That poster looks familiar, but we're having trouble putting our finger on it. Anyone know where it's from?)

Late update: TPMDC's Eric Kleefeld finds the poster. It was a National Review cover in March, with the headline "Our Socialist Future."

The Massachusetts GOP will get its day in court in their attempt to stop the appointment of Paul Kirk to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat -- but the immediate signs don't point to a win for them.

A spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Superior Court, where the case was filed, has just told me that there will be a hearing tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., presided over by Judge Thomas Connolly.

I asked whether an ex parte temporary restraining order against the appointment had been issued -- which can often happen in time-sensitive election cases, in order to stop a legally questionable outcome before a hearing has been conducted. There has not been any such order at this time. Kirk is set to be sworn in tomorrow.

Over the last 24 hours, we've been tracking a gruesome story developing involving the death of a Kentucky Census Bureau worker. The potential political implications of what happened are already generating a lot of attention around the internet -- so it's worth taking a moment to lay out what we know.

On September 12th, the body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year old part-time Census worker and teacher was found in a remote area of the Daniel Boone National Forest, in Clay County, in rural southeast Kentucky. Sparkman reportedly had died on the morning of the day before.

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The Massachusetts Republican Party has gone to court in an attempt to stop the appointment of Paul Kirk to the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

The issue here, the GOP claims, is that Gov. Deval Patrick did not have the constitutional authority to declare the bill empowering him to make an appointment to be an emergency law, thus having it take effect immediately. (For more background on this issue, check out this interview I did a few days ago with a GOP state Senator.)

It's not clear how much chance of success they have. As the Boston Herald points out, Kirk is scheduled to be sworn in tomorrow. The state GOP's filing was made this morning, and so far the courts have not responded. But if the courts do end up taking the case, it could have the effect of delaying the appointment, or perhaps even stopping it altogether.

Accepting Republican demands, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to post health care reform legislation online for 72 hours before a final vote on the bill, The Hill reports.

House Republicans, including Minority Leader John Boehner, have introduced a petition to require three days for lawmakers to read the final bill before voting. Two Democrats, Brian Baird and Walt Minnick, have also signed on. At today's press conference, Pelosi said she would "absolutely" support the petition.

A discharge petition forces a bill onto the floor without the support of leadership and needs 218 signatures to do so. But with Pelosi saying she supports legislation that would require the 72-hour window, its backers might not need the discharge petition at all.

A Senate Republican, Jim Bunning (R-KY), introduced an amendment to the Senate Finance Committee bill that would have required the same thing. It was voted down.

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