TPM News

President Obama has spread some more campaign wealth around the Democratic Party -- using $4.5 million that was left over from his mega-successful 2008 campaign operation to infuse the party's national campaign arms.

Politico reports that the money has come from funds that had been set aside for legal expenses to shut down the campaign: "As soon as it was determined that these funds were no longer needed for the shutdown of the campaign, the president directed that $1.5 million be transferred to each of the following committees: DCCC, DSCC and DNC. Obama for America earlier in the cycle had transferred $8 million, which was split between the DCCC and the DSCC."

Bryan Fischer, the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the American Family Association, wrote a blog post yesterday that argues that "Germany is giving us a template on how we handle Muslims: just like we handle neo-Nazis," which amounts to German police carrying "out 30 predawn raids against the nation's largest neo-Nazi group two days ago."

Fischer is known for his Islamophobia, previously arguing that the U.S. should have "no more mosques, period," because "every single mosque is a potential terror training center or recruitment center for jihad" and thus "you cannot claim first amendment protections if your religious organization is engaged in subversive activities."

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One of the biggest political shockers this fall is happening right here in TPMDC's own backyard, as D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray is poised to unseat D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty on Tuesday.

In a Democratic primary race that has a lot to do with race and neighborhood gentrification, the incumbent Fenty has struggled all summer. With the election now just a few days away, Gray leads every poll -- even though Fenty is earning all the big newspaper endorsements.

Fenty admitted in an interview on WTOP yesterday he's phoned the White House to ask for his buddy President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to formally back him and come out on the campaign trail or appear in mailings. But TPMDC is hearing the president won't be saying a peep before Tuesday -- and so is Fenty.

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There's a new 527 political organization on the scene this week with a very specific purpose -- defending Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio -- who describes himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff" -- was sued last week by the Justice Department for not cooperating with a civil rights investigation into whether his office discriminated his enforcement of immigration laws.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the West Virginia special Senate election gives Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin a lead of only five points against Republican businessman John Raese, in the race to replace the late Dem Sen. Robert Byrd.

The numbers: Manchin 50%, Raese 45%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from a week and a half ago, Manchin led by 48%-42%. The TPM Poll Average gives Manchin a lead of 49.7%-40.7%.

The pollster's analysis notes that Manchin remains very popular as governor, with a 67% approval rating. On the other hand: "Manchin is running in a state hard hit by the bad economy and where disapproval of President Obama is even higher than it is nationally."

Remember a few months back when Barney Frank told a woman at a town hall meeting that having a conversation with her "would be like trying to argue with a dining room table" (she had just compared President Obama to Hitler at the time)? If not, you can watch that video below. Since then, that woman, Rachel Brown, has become a candidate for Congress and Frank's opponent in the Democratic primaries. So, yesterday, Frank was forced to finally have that conversation. In fact, he had a whole hour-long debate with her.

It is still unknown whether he practiced on his tables at home beforehand.

Brown is still calling for Obama's impeachment and still comparing him to Hitler (as her supporters showed last night). Frank attacked these comparisons in the debate as well as Brown's other policies, including her support of a human colonization of Mars.

Yes, Rachel Brown is every crazy girl we ever dated in college. Which makes Barney Frank our sloppy roommate who got in fights with her. Check out the full debate below:

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Across the country, Tea Party groups are raising concerns ahead of the midterm elections about potential voter fraud -- a problem that most voting experts say has been exaggerated by the GOP in order to push for policies that suppress Democratic turnout. But to combat what they say is a major threat to the integrity of elections, many local sections of conservative organizations are setting up educational events, creating videos and preparing their members to serve as poll watchers and workers on election day.

Their concerns about illegitimate voters stealing the election have been ginned up by movement leaders like Dick Armey, who recently stated at a GOP event in California that he believes about three percent of the Democratic vote was not legitimate.

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The White House's fiscal commission has become a target for progressive activists in large part because a number of reports and public statements indicate that the panel will recommend benefit cuts to Social Security. Most of the backlash has come from critics calling on the commission's co-chair, Republican Alan Simpson, to resign over controversial public statements he's made about the popular program.

But the commissioners are also grappling with another sensitive entitlement program: Medicare. For a number of reasons, the commission is farther from consensus on Medicare than it is on Social Security: Medicare is a more unwieldy program; the commissioners differ wildly on how to prevent its soaring costs from bankrupting the government; and members have already had a working group meeting dedicated to Social Security in isolation. But the ideological conservatism of the Republicans on the commission -- and, indeed, of the commission as a whole -- combined with Democratic fatigue over health care reform mean that the center of gravity of discussions is tilted to the right.

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The Dove World Outreach Center, the church in Florida whose pastor is planning to burn a pile of Korans this Saturday, trains new ministers in its "Academy" program, which requires students to work in the church's used furniture store unpaid and have no contact with their family.

A "rulebook" for the academy, as well as news reports and the church's own web site, paint a picture of a church that teaches followers total obedience. It's also a church that has expressed solidarity with the Westboro Baptist Church, with pastor Terry Jones and other members wearing "Islam is of the devil" T-shirts at a Westboro protest.

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It appears that the star of Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) ads, the character known as "Jim the Election Guy" who tells viewers that her Democratic opponent Tarryl Clark loves taxes, has now been identified. And the recent accusation in a Clark ad is correct: He doesn't live in the district -- and his name isn't Jim.

MinnPost reports that "Jim" is in fact a commercial actor named Beau Peregino, who originally hails from Maryland and now lives in California. Peregino did not return their requests for comment, but a former theater professor of his confirmed his identity from the ads, and his publicity photo matches the appearance of "Jim the Election Guy."

Clark responded to the ads with her own new spot, featuring Bachmann constituents who introduce themselves as actually being named Jim. "Not a fake Jim like this guy," says one of the actual Jims, followed by another: "His name's not even Jim!"

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