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David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

This is pretty funny. Remember how Texas Gov. Rick Perry hired lobbyists connected to then-Rep. Tom Delay to promote the state of Texas in Washington and how those lobbyists later made tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to various Republican committees?

The Austin newspaper has an editorial today pointing out that Texas is still paying $15,000 a month to those GOP lobbyists--even though Congress will be controlled by Democrats:

Using taxpayer money to pay private, partisan lobbyists was a dubious strategy to begin with. Now that the worm has turned in Washington, Perry's decision could be disastrous for Texas. These lobby firms ignored Democrats all year — and worse, worked to defeat them — and the Democrats won't forget it.


Even the mistakes are bigger in Texas.

In the Washington-08, Democrat Darcy Burner trails Republican incumbent Dave Reichert by 3,518 votes, with as many as 20,000 absentee ballots still to count.

We've heard a lot about the kind of oversight priorities that committee Chairmen Henry Waxman (D-CA) and John Conyers (D-MI) will have on the House side. We've heard on the Senate side, for example, about the plans that Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has for oversight from the Intelligence Committee.

But has anyone heard anything from Joe Lieberman ("ID"-CT) about his oversight plans as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee?

With a huge portfolio, Lieberman's committee is positioned to investigate a vast swath of the federal government. But Lieberman's plans remain remarkably vague. For instance, a UPI story today describes at length the oversight plans being made by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who will become chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, but it devotes just one paragraph to Lieberman, confirming that he will serve as committee chairman.

So what does Joe have in store for the Bush Administration that so aggressively backed his re-election?

Less than a week after the election and two months before the Democrats actually take control of Congress, CNN has pegged the leadership races as "Democrats Divided."

So Mel Martinez as new RNC chair?

As the folks over at Public Campaign Action Fund put it, "Can't they pick someone without a connection to Jack Abramoff or a brewing campaign finance scandal?"

We have more on the Abramoff-Bob Ney-Martinez connection, from our Muckraker archives.

Today, the Washington Post has additional reporting on what transpired on Election Day in Maryland, where the GOP candidates for governor and U.S. Senate tried to mislead voters into thinking they were Democrats.

The Post story does not mention the comments made by defeated Senate candidate Michael Steele over the weekend on C-SPAN (h/t Thomas Nephew).

In an appearance with Democratic operative Donna Brazile (beginning at the 22:38 mark), Steele responded to criticism from a caller about campaign signs that read "Steele Democrat":

Let me just me cut you off because you are way, way off base, as usual. People seem to forget the phrase Reagan Democrats. . . . That's the same thing I did. You know, I had a number of Democrat friends . . . a host of Democrats from across the state support me and I call them Steele Democrats. I find it rather amusing that people get upset about that, acting as if that was some new invention or new term. It's based off of Reagan Democrats, the same concept. And I thought it was even more clever because not only were they "Steele Democrats" but they're "Still Democrats." So it was fun.


At that point, Brazile raised the issue of the misleading sample ballots that were distributed by the Steele campaign, to which Steele responded:

Again, I have to laugh at that because I find that that's somewhat amusing. That's the same tactic that the Democrats have used in previous campaigns against each other, and I borrowed from that . . .


When Brazile pointed out that many blacks were offended by the Steele campaign literature, Steele conceded that it may not have translated well.

CNN is reporting that Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) has accepted an offer to become chairman of the Republican National Committee. He will retain his Senate seat and wear both hats. More here.

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