TPM News

Yesterday, pranksters and activists teamed up to pull a hoax on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, holding a fake press conference claiming the Chamber had decided to do a 180 and support climate change legislation.

Real Chamber spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel burst in about 20 minutes into the event, yelling, "This is not an official event ... This is a fraudulent press activity and a stunt."

He also told reporters who were there, "If you have any questions, you are welcome to direct them at me, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

But when reporters -- some of whom were fake -- asked him if the Chamber would acknowledge that climate change is real, he brushed them off.

The Yes Men, which put on the stunt, released video of the presser through their publicist. Watch it after the jump:

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Despite political setbacks and a determined Democratic opposition, a new poll shows Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) leads his rival ahead of his 2010 reelection.

The Times-Picayune has the details, and shows Vitter enjoys a 48-36 percent lead over Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA).

Key bit:

Vitter had 47.6 percent to Melancon's 35.8 percent, with 16.6 percent undecided, according to the survey conducted last week by Southern Media and Opinion Research of Baton Rouge.

The poll was conducted for Baton Rouge businessman Lane Grigsby, who has contributed mainly to Republicans in the past, including Vitter. The survey is based on telephone interviews with 600 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Vitter's office still hasn't returned our calls about his census amendment and the justice of the peace who refuses to marry biracial couples. We'll keep you posted.

On a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and New York Stock Exchange CEO Duncan Niederauer called for better government regulation of alternative trading systems like dark pools -- which are essentially opaque, off-exchange places where large amounts of stock are traded.

"They should be required to adhere to a more robust regulatory framework," Schumer said.

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President Obama today said he is "pleased with the steps that have been taken" in the disputed Afghanistan election, and said both candidates have expressed a willingness to abide by constitutional law.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai today accepted a runoff election, scheduled for Nov. 7, against his main opponent Abdullah Abdullah. UN fraud investigators have thrown out a third of Karzai's votes, citing apparent fraud.

Obama, speaking to reporters today after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said "President Karzai as well as the other candidates, I think, have shown that they have the interests of the Afghan people at heart."

He also thanked Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and the U.S. military for their work in getting the Afghanistan elections sorted out.

"This has been a difficult election," Obama said, because of "violent forces opposed to democracy." But, he said, "we've seen elections take place" and there is a "path forward."

Video after the jump.

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The campaign of Dede Scozzafava, the moderate Republican candidate in a three-way race with a Democrat and a Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, is now in a public shouting match with the Weekly Standard -- which is blasting the campaign for what it calls an abuse of the press by a desperate politician.

This comes after the Scozzafava camp called the police on their reporter John McCormack, for asking a lot of pointed questions of Scozzafava and following her into the parking lot of an event.

Scozzafava spokesman Matt Burns told the Politico that McCormack's behavior "shows a complete lack of decency," and seemed to be saying that McCormack was stalking his candidate: "This self-described reporter repeatedly screamed questions (in-your-face-style) while our candidate was doing what she is supposed to be doing: speaking with voters (remember, those who will decide this election?). And then he followed the candidate to her car, continuing to carry on in a manner that would make the National Enquirer blush. I have no doubt he intended to follow her home, too. His actions were reprehensible. Those are the facts."

Bill Kristol has fired back, standing up for his reporter -- and calling Burns the abusive one.

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Former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder (D) says he trusts voters to make the right choice in two weeks, and would be just fine with Bob McDonnell (R) leading Virginia.

"The world won't come to an end, Virginia won't sink into the seas," Wilder told TPMDC in an interview.

Wilder, the Democrat who won't endorse the Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds, referenced the recent polls.

"I seem to be in pretty good company with the majority of voters of Virginia," Wilder said, and wouldn't tell me who he'll be voting for Nov. 3.

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A new Republican National Committee web video -- titled "Behind Closed Doors" -- slams Democrats for what the RNC calls "Harry Reid's back room health care negotiations."

A narrator's voice says near the beginning of the ad, "You know the Democrats would just love for you to believe they are the party of change and transparency -- a government you can trust to allow all to participate in the process."

He then laughs somewhat sinisterly: "Ha-ha. But that's just a disguise."

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With no firm deadline in the Senate, but a health care bill expected on the floor next month, it's probably worth laying out a rough time line for the larger reform effort.

The House will soon have a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office on its health care bill--including three different variants of the public option--and will then proceed to a floor debate and vote. Compared to the Senate, this entire process should be relatively painless.

On the other side of the Hill, the floor debate could take weeks.

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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) today denounced an op-ed in which two South Carolina county GOP chairmen wrote that he watches pennies like "Jews who are wealthy."

"I just read the op-ed last night and the comments were thoughtless and hurtful," DeMint said in a statement. "The chairmen have apologized as they should have."

The two chairmen, in an op-ed published Sunday in the Times-Democrat, were trying to defend DeMint's practice of not seeking earmarks for South Carolina.

"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," they wrote.

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TPMLivewire