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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

Is Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) pulling down some of his campaign TV ads so he can save campaign funds for his legal defense?

Two days after launching a new advertisement, U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon has canceled some of his TV time, fueling speculation Friday he was throwing in the towel and saving money for a legal defense fund. The campaign denied the rumors, saying it was merely redirecting cash to "Tele-Town Halls" to reach out to moderate Republicans and independents in the final days of the campaign.

"We’re not pulling anything. We’re scaling a few things back," said Weldon spokesman Michael Puppio.

With the National Republican Congressional Committee spending $653,700 this week for ads opposing Democrat Joseph Sestak, Puppio said the campaign’s money would be better spent funding telephone forums that enable Weldon to answer live questions from voters.


If Weldon is in fact hoarding campaign funds for later use in his own legal defense while relying on NRCC funds to keep him on TV, I'm thinking the NRCC is going to be none too happy about it.

Late update: The Philadelphia Inquirer has a similar report, but with a slightly different take, noting that the NRCC has already shifted its money from the Weldon race to other Pennsylvania congressional races, which would seem to undermine the Weldon campaign's claim that pulling down some of its TV ads is simply a tactical shift. (Thanks to TPM Reader DL).

TPM Reader JD checks in from Baghdad:

"But first this Breaking News, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death today in Iraq."

That is how the Sunday talk shows will begin tomorrow, two days before the U.S. elections. All indications are that capital punishment is a go, a curfew is tentatively scheduled for tonight or tomorrow morning in much of Iraq to protect against the likely backlash. Saddam will be able to appeal, probably over about two months. The appeal to voters, though, will be how important it is to remain strong, stay the course, during the next two days -- most particularly Tuesday: this time, we've really turned the corner. . . .

Saddam will likely be sentenced during the wee hours EST, in plenty of time to round up "experts" for the panel shows: "Despite the violent reaction we are seeing, this really is one of the key indicators of progress and ongoing commitment we have been looking for..." You know the drill.
Hard to argue with that prediction.

A follow-up on what we shall call "The Snatch," short-hand for Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) shown on camera grabbing incriminating documents from a local TV investigative reporter and refusing to return them. Turns out the district staffer who blew the whistle on the use of district staff for campaign work was sent home when she reported for work yesterday. KDKA reports on the latest developments here.

TPM Reader RW:

I think that it is time that we ask that all Evangelicals supporting anti-gay marriage provisions to pledge that they themselves are not having gay sex or doing meth.


We'll call it the Hypocritic Oath.

Katherine Harris has said she is a "wannabe" Jew and is often mistaken as a Jew by Jews, but this ain't going to be winning her many friends, Jewish or otherwise:

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, who has made past comments that raised questions about her religious sensitivity, prayed in a telephone prayer service recently that God would "bring the hearts and minds of our Jewish brothers and sisters into alignment."

A Harris spokeswoman said Friday that the Longboat Key Republican, who has advocated electing Christian officeholders, was talking about converting Jews to vote Republican, not to Christianity.

. . .

In a prayer at the end of the conference call, she . . . added, "And Father God, right now on the day after the Jewish new year, Father, after the day after atonement, as they enter into their new year, Father God, I just pray that you would bring the hearts and minds of our Jewish brothers and sisters into alignment." She prayed for the safety of Israel, "your sacred nation, Father."


Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be better for Democrats in the long run simply to concede the Florida Senate seat to Harris. It would certainly be better for journalists. What will we do without Harris in public life?

Remember the "Brokebank Democrats" ad being run against Democrat Jon Tester in Montana by swiftboater Bob Perry's Free Enterprise Fund?

We reported on it yesterday. Go take a look. We have it up at Election Central.

Well, TPM Reader PS took a look and noticed that the phone number that appears in the ad, with a voiceover exhorting viewers to call Jon Tester, looks like a home phone number. PS called and got an answering machine that sounded like the Tester family answering machine:

What I heard was, "Hi, you've reached the Testers, we can't answer the phone right now, so please leave a message."


Now, I have spared the Testers another call to verify this, but the number in the ad does match up with the number listed for the Testers in online phone directories. The Grand Old Party, plumbing the depths of campaign skullduggery.

I honestly didn't know you could even do this without running afoul of FCC harrrassment laws. Any telecommunications lawyers out there with a take on this?

TPM Reader JS wants in on the fun:

I feel so left out. I lived most of my life in a Boston suburb with no electoral hanky-panky tolerated, and now I'm in rural Vermont, scrupulously honest and fair-minded to the point of obsession, one polling place for my town in the volunteer fire department house, with old-fashioned hand-counted paper ballots, etc. Rich Tarrant, the typical sort of upstanding, moderate Republican millionaire businessman (basically Mitt Romney lite) who might have had a chance against Trotskyite Bernie Sanders in the Senate race, has so offended Vermonters with his comparatively mild negative advertising against Sanders that he sank in the polls almost as soon as he became known. Nobody does push-polling, nobody even does robo-calls.

I feel a great sense of pride in my newly adopted home state for that, but still, it's so boring! How I yearn to be able to write panicky conspiracy theory diaries on Kos, or report some juicy bit of Republican skullduggery to TPM. But alas, it's not to be.


And so dear readers in battleground districts and states, it is up to you. JS must live vicariously through the experiences of other TPM readers. Keep those tips coming.

Earlier in the week we reported on the robocall push-polls being conducted by Common Sense Ohio in five states. I understand the outfit is making calls in Missouri now, too. If you have received any of these calls, in Missouri or elsewhere, let us know what they're saying.

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