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

A couple of comments on reader comments.

First, thanks to all of the readers who have sent in tips/reports on the campaign goings-on in their parts of the country. Some of what you report will be obviously newsworthy and may generate a post here at TPM or at our other sites. Other reports, standing alone, may not be worth a post, but when combined with other reader reports may reveal a particular tactic or highlight a new strategy in a particular district. My point is even if we don't post about your report or tip doesn't mean we aren't using it to inform our understanding of the electoral battlefield. In military jargon, you might say it improves our situational awareness. So keep them coming. We read everything you send.

Second, since I started my guest-hosting gig here at TPM a few months ago, I haven't gotten a chance to thank you for all your comments, tips, corrections, and general feedback. The TPM audience is an amazing thing to behold. As corny as that may sound, it's true. Writing for this audience is more intellectually challenging and rewarding than just about anything else I have ever undertaken. You are astoundingly well-informed, thoughtful, passionate, and appropriately skeptical, which has renewed my faith in my fellow citizens. The wonderful dynamic that Josh has created and nurtured here would not work without your contributions. So my sincere thanks for all your feedback. It gives us at least a shot at keeping the ball rolling here when Josh is away.

OK, back to the elections . . .

New Senate polls due out in the morning from Mason-Dixon for McClatchy Newspapers and MSNBC. Word is things are very, very tight--at best.

Mason-Dixon's Montana poll is already out, showing Sen. Conrad Burns and Jon Tester tied at 47% apiece. That's down from a 7-point lead for Tester in September and a 3-point lead in October.

Update: In VA, Webb at 46%, Allen at 45%.

Some things you just can't make up.

In a year in which Republicans are blasting immigrants and trying to exploit xenophobia for political gain, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) is denouncing the phone bank calls made in support of his campaign by the NRCC because the live callers have such heavy Indian or Hispanic accents.

Souder complained that the only thing he could understand in one of the messages, which was left on his daughter's answering machine, was "Hayhurst," the name of his Democratic opponent.

The NRCC calls were supposed to attack Hayhurst as "bad on immigration" or as a proponent of higher taxes. Here's the immigration call script:

“The United States now is home to 11 million illegal immigrants, and the number grows every year. But instead of protecting our borders, congressional candidate Tom Hayhurst supports citizenship opportunities for illegal aliens.”

According to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Souder said "he was especially exasperated that a phone message about immigration was delivered by people with heavy accents."

Now, here's the kicker. Typically, the NRCC would use automated robocalls to deliver this kind of message. But because robocalls are illegal in Indiana and because the Indiana Attorney General has already successfully sued one GOP 527 group, the Economic Freedom Fund, to stop such calls, the NRCC is being forced to use live callers, a task which it has apparently outsourced.

Just too rich.

Who is to blame for Ted Haggard giving into the temptation for adulterous gay sex and meth? His wife, apparently.

Guys, do NOT try this at home: Come on, baby, give it up, or I'm going for the gay sex and crystal meth.

UVa law student Mike Stark had another run-in with the George Allen campaign Saturday and was led away in handcuffs by a local sheriff's deputy. The AP report makes it sound like Stark was set up.

Ted Haggard has been dismissed from his church for "sexually immoral conduct," according to a statement released by the church oversight board:

We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.

The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where the Senior Pastor has "demonstrated immoral conduct" whether we must "remove the pastor from his position or to discipline him in any way they deem necessary."

In consultation with leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal.

More from the Denver Post.

I'm a little late to the party, but YouTube is so cool.

Here are a couple of union guys having fun with a George Bush cut-out and the staff of Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA).

The difference between Republican and Democratic poll watchers in Montana:

Republicans are there to watch the voters and report back to headquarters with any possible irregularities, said state Republican Party Executive Director Chuck Denowh.

Democrats, according to state party chief Jim Farrell, are there to watch the Republicans.

I'm afraid Richard Perle's Vanity Fair concession that had he known then what he knows now he would never have supported the Iraq War is going to grab the headlines.

But Perle hardly sounds chastened by the disaster, pointing fingers this way and that:

Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad," he said.

"I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that."

Instead he blames the disaster on "disloyalty" to President Bush from within the Administration. The LA Times suggests this is a swipe at Rumsfeld, but to me it sounds like another knife in Colin Powell's back.

Late Update: Kevin Drum has more on neocon revisionism.