TPM News

A new poll by the Omaha World-Herald shows Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) is losing support back home after the Senate health care debate.

The poll shows just 42% of Nebraskans approve of the job Nelson's doing in the Senate, while 48% disapprove. More than 60% of respondents said they were opposed to the health care bill and "a majority" were opposed to Nelson's vote in favor it of it. That's after Nelson negotiated a unique deal in exchange for his vote that requires the federal government pay the full costs of expanding Medicaid in the Nebraska in perpetuity.

The dip in approval would worry any politician, but it's especially surprising for Nelson, whose political career has been marked by broad support in his state. In 2006, pollster SurveyUSA reported Nelson was the highest-rated Senator in America, based on his 73% approval rating at the time.

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As the Tea Party movement approaches its one-year anniversary, grassroots activists increasingly are finding themselves fighting off what they see as cynical bids by unscrupulous sophisticates to co-opt the movement for their own ends.

These new players on the Tea Party scene are lawyers, political consultants, business-people, and even Republican politicians. They're not working together for the most part, and the details of their efforts differ. But all have taken steps lately that have been denounced -- often by Tea Party activists -- as efforts to benefit personally from a movement that prides itself on its independence and incorruptability.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the Massachusetts special Senate election has the race as a tie between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown -- the best independent poll result that Coakley has had in the last few days.

A Research 2000 poll from last week, which was commissioned by the local liberal blog Blue Mass Group, had Coakley with a stronger lead of 49%-41%.

Daily Kos's Laura Clawson writes: "As we keep saying, this one comes down to GOTV."


January 17, 2010: Actors portraying Michelle and Barack Obama sing a musical number in a show that documents Obama's rise to the presidency. The musical, called Hope: The Obama Musical Story, premiered at the Jahrhunderthalle Theater in Frankfurt, Germany, and features characters that played a key role in the 2008 campaign. Watch video from a preview of the musical here.

Newscom/Imagostock




Jimmie Wilson as Barack Obama.

Newscom/DPA Photos




Tracy Plester as Hillary Clinton.

Newscom/Imagostock




Della Miles, who plays Michelle Obama, with her onstage husband.

Newscom/DPA Photos




Not only does she play Hillary Clinton -- Tracy Plester also plays Sarah Palin.

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Newscom/Imagostock




Boysie White as Jeremiah Wright, gets his own musical number.

Newscom/DPA Photos




David Hanselmann, as Sen. John McCain, shakes hands with his onstage running mate Sarah Palin.

Newscom/Imagostock




Newscom/Imagostock

President Obama stars in a new ad for attorney general Martha Coakley (D), who is trailing in the polls before tomorrow's special election for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.

After inundating voters in recent days with negative ads, Coakley's Obama spot is positive and features the president saying that she's a fighter. There's no mention of her rival, state Sen. Scott Brown (R)

"We need you on Tuesday," Obama said.

Watch the ad after the jump.

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Rothenberg Political Report today moved the Massachusetts Senate special election from a "tossup" rating to "leans takeover."

"Brown is running extremely well with Independents in the Bay State, and unless Democratic turnout exceeds everyone's expectations, Brown is headed for a comfortable win," Rothenberg writes.

Cook Political Report, on the other hand, issued a statement yesterday saying the race is still in their "tossup" column, writing, "This race could still go either way, but we put a finger on the scale for Brown."

The seat, which belonged to the late Ted Kennedy, is now held by interim Sen. Paul Kirk (D). Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley, as well as Libertarian Joe Kennedy, are vying for the seat.

Not much attention has been paid to Libertarian Joe Kennedy in the Massachusetts Senate race. But might he be the deciding factor in who wins the seat?

As Campaign Diaries points out, polls which include Kennedy (no relation to the late Ted Kennedy) make things look better for Democratic candidate Martha Coakley. Polls that only include Coakley and her Republican rival, Scott Brown, look better for Brown.

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The Massachusetts Democratic Party released a hard-hitting mailer against Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown, Greg Sargent reported over the weekend, accusing Brown of wanting the state's hospitals to turn away all of the 1,736 Massachusetts women who were raped in 2008.

"1,736 WOMEN WERE RAPED IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 2008," the mailer said (all capital letters in the original). "SCOTT BROWN WANTS HOSPITALS TO TURN THEM ALL AWAY."

The ad is an extension of a a Coakley TV ad from last week, which attacked Brown for having backed proposed legislation in the state Senate to allow hospitals or hospital personnel to refuse to dispense emergency contraception to rape victims. That ad was also particularly brutal, with the visual of a woman cowering with her head in her hands, presumably meant to signify that the woman was a rape victim being harmed even further by Brown's policies.

So is the claim true, or not? The short answer is that Brown did not want hospitals to turn away rape victims en masse, refusing to provide any and all care. He did want to guarantee them the legal ability to refuse to provide emergency contraception. This was presented accurately in the Coakley TV ad, but is being seriously twisted around in this state Dem mailer.

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