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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called President Barack Obama Tuesday to stress that she was not trying to attack him in a recent interview with The Atlantic, Politico reported.

A Clinton spokesman told Politico that the presumptive 2016 Democratic frontrunner called Obama to “make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him."

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As war between Israelis and Palestinians raged in Gaza again in recent weeks, President Barack Obama signed a bill to provide another $225 million to Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. But what if the U.S. government is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a system that isn't nearly as effective as it is claimed to be?

It seems unthinkable by the official record. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest praised the system by saying it has "saved countless Israeli lives." Time magazine wrote in 2012, a year after the system's premiere, that Iron Dome was the "most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen."

The federal government has so far given its closest Mideast ally about $700 million to develop the system, the Defense Department told TPM, and the Israeli military says Iron Dome — which fires missiles to take down incoming rockets heading into Israeli population centers — has a success rate of about 85 percent.

But independent research by an MIT professor who specializes in ballistics has called that official figure into question. In fact, according to the analysis by Ted Postol, the Iron Dome system might actually disarm as little as 5 percent of the rockets it attempts to intercept. The number could be higher, depending on a number of variables, but the bottom line argument is that the system is not nearly as successful in stopping rockets being fired into Israel as official sources suggest.

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On Monday night, Ferguson, Mo., a St. Louis suburb of 21,000, has looked something like a war zone in television and online news coverage. Police decked out in riot gear. Tear gas billowing from the street pavement. Protesters chanting then fleeing as police fired rubber bullets to disperse them.

The catalyst was the police shooting on Saturday of an 18-year-old African-American man, and the fallout has left the nation transfixed by Ferguson. Here's what we know -- and don't know -- about what's happening there.

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Self-styled guerrilla conservative documentarian James O'Keefe released his latest bombshell on Monday: A video that features O'Keefe, dressed as Osama bin Laden, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Filming at a narrow strip of the Rio Grande River in Hudspeth County, Texas, O'Keefe bemoans the lack of border security with county sheriff Arvin West. "I don't see a single federal officer anywhere," O'Keefe says.

He then crosses — illegally? — into Mexico and wades back across the Rio Grande into American territory. "Let me tell you something, if the president or Sen. (Harry) Reid or anybody tries to tell you our border is secure, they are lying to you," he laments.

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The company behind Oregon's failed Obamacare exchange sued the state on Friday for breach of contract and also accused state officials of "constant public slander" in their criticism of the website's performance.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Oracle, a software developer based out of California, filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court. Oregon decided earlier this year to scrap its exchange and switch to the federal HealthCare.gov after a disastrous performance during Obamacare's first open enrollment period, during which the site had a pitiful 44 sign-ups in its first two months and consumers eventually defaulted to paper applications.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) told Roll Call Saturday that the antics of Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), the notorious "kissing congressman," have been "an embarrassment" and he wishes McAllister had stuck to his decision not to run for re-election.

McAllister had initially pledged not to seek re-election after a video surfaced earlier this year of him smooching one of his female staffers who was not his wife. But he reneged on that pledge in June.

Jindal, who had already called on McAllister to resign when the news broke, isn't happy about it.

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has been one of the shining stars of the 2010's Republican gubernatorial class. He has scored conservative victories like controversial right-to-work legislation, but he's also tacked toward the center on other issues like Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

Terri Lynn Land served eight years as Michigan secretary of state, a well-liked political insider with an excellent paper resume for a Senate candidacy. She is one of the key cogs in the GOP's efforts to turn the the upper chamber over this fall.

They sound like natural allies. So where's the love? Snyder's campaign wouldn't discuss their relationship. Land's campaign initially told TPM that the candidates would appear together at an event this Saturday, but then reversed, saying it had been a mistake. It's all a bit inexplicable as Republicans look to score important electoral victories in a state that tends to go blue when the races are statewide.

"Detached." That was the word of choice when Michigan political observers were asked by TPM about the relationship between Land and Snyder.

Their campaign appearances so far can be a little tough to pin down. The Land campaign pointed to a recent appearance in Traverse City, in an apparent reference to the National Cherry Festival last month, though it didn't respond when asked if Land and Snyder had actually appeared at the same place at the same time. The Land campaign also pledged "multiple joint events" in the future despite the Saturday event mix-up.

"Terri Lynn Land and Governor Snyder are committed to moving the state forward," the Land campaign said in a statement. The Snyder campaign declined to comment on the record.

Bill Ballenger, a former GOP state legislator and long-time political analyst at Inside Michigan Politics, contrasted the Land-Snyder relationship with another incumbent GOP governor who helped a fellow Republican snag an open Senate seat 20 years ago.

Then-Gov. John Engler handpicked Spencer Abraham to run alongside him in 1994 for Michigan's Senate seat, and the pair appeared together constantly on the campaign trail. Engler won re-election with a resounding 62 percent of the vote, while Abraham took 52 percent and an improbable spot in the Senate, one he would lose six years later to Debbie Stabenow with an Engler-less ballot.

"Engler did everything he could to help Spencer Abraham. They were the opposite of Snyder and Land," Ballenger said. "She's just not somebody who's going to underscore his strengths. She's not a soul mate. When you had Engler and Abraham, you had two guys who were everything wrapped up into two. In Snyder and Land, you've got a bifurcation. Just a totally different situation."

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The perils of digital communications: A staffer for Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) accidentally sent an email Friday to Booker's Republican opponent Jeff Bell with the following message: "JEFF BELL CAN SUCK IT."

National Review Online reported on the incident, spurred by a profile that the conservative news outlet penned about Bell, a former aide to President Ronald Reagan. Bell was passing the article around via email when he received a reply from Nichole Sessego, which appears intended for somebody else, per NRO:

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In an interesting twist, Utah gay marriage advocates have joined their legal opponents in asking the Supreme Court to take up the lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The advocates challenging the ban triumphed in December in federal district court and again in June in federal appeals court. The Utah attorney general then asked in July for the Supreme Court to take the case. And the gay marriage proponents have agreed that the nation's highest court should hear it.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) wants her Democratic Senate colleague Mark Begich (D-AK) to withdraw a television ad that shows the pair smiling together and talks up their aligned voting records, The Hill reported Thursday.

But Begich won't do it, according to MSNBC's Kasie Hunt.

According to The Hill, Murkowski's lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter Thursday to Begich, demanding the ad be taken down. The ad, called "Great Team," shows an image of Begich and Murkowski smiling side by side, and the narrator says that the two vote together "as much as 80 percent of the time."

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