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

The fight is on in New Jersey. The RNC yesterday dropped $3 million into the Senate race for attack ads on Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Did Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, the GOP's write-in candidate for Tom Delay's old seat, break Texas election laws by campaigning inside a polling station this week?

Poll watcher Jane Borden Matcha said Sekula-Gibbs entered the polling place inside the First Colony Conference Center on Thursday.

"I was dumbfounded because she marched right up to me and said ‘Hi, I’m Shelley Sekula-Gibbs’ …and it was my understanding that candidates are not allowed in the polling place unless they're voting," Borden Matcha said.

. . .

"I had gone inside to go the bathroom," said Sekula-Gibbs. "I was definitely not campaigning."

Who can blame her for hanging out at polling stations? The poor woman has about the worst name imaginable for a write-in candidate. Actually, what I think she said was, "Hi, I'm S-H-E-L-L-E-Y space S-E-K-U-L-A hyphen G-I-B-B-S."

The current budget deficit? Clinton's fault.

So says Rep. John "Animal House" Sweeney (R-NY):

The deficit is actually a result of a recession that began in his administration. We are exponentially paying down the deficit in an accelerated time frame.

Mark Foley started trying to diddle pages during Clinton's administration, so I guess we should blame Clinton for that, too.

That splashing sound is the rats jumping overboard:

Corporate America is already thinking beyond Election Day, increasing its share of last-minute donations to Democratic candidates and quietly devising strategies for how to work with Democrats if they win control of Congress.

The shift in political giving, for the first 18 days of October, has not been this pronounced in the final stages of a campaign since 1994, when Republicans swept control of the House for the first time in four decades.

. . .

An analysis by The New York Times of contributions from Oct. 1 to 18, the latest data available, shows that donations to Republicans from corporate political action committees dropped by 11 percentage points in favor of Democratic candidates, compared with corporate giving from January through September.

Republicans still received 57 percent of contributions, compared with 43 percent for Democrats, but it was the first double-digit October switch since 1994.

Hedging time.

The race in the NV-3rd just keeps getting more interesting:

Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., made dozens of campaign fundraising phone calls last spring from his district and Washington, D.C., offices, according to a former Porter staffer and e-mails obtained by the Sun.

The former staffer, Jim Shepard, a 10-year veteran of Capitol Hill who worked briefly for Porter this year, said he witnessed Porter making the calls on at least five different dates last spring. Such calls would violate federal election laws and House ethics rules.

Porter's top congressional aide strongly denied that the congressman made such calls.

Porter is being challenged by Democrat Tessa Hafen in a race that appears to have tightened recent days.

You haven't truly made a pop cultural impact until you start showing up on eBay.

Mark Foley, come on down! You have achieved eBay status.

Looks like the Mark Foley action figure is drawing some bids.

Thanks to TPM Reader TS for the tip.

Katrina has become a post-apocalyptic American nightmare for those living in the disaster zone, or dying there, or neither living nor dying but stumbling through the carnage like zombies.

Chris Rose is a columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. His columns since Katrina and the ensuing flood of New Orleans have been an unblinking look at what passes for life in the Crescent City. At times angry, bitter, and despondent, yet still mustering occassional hopefulness, Rose, through his column, has been a lifeline for those who want to know what is really happening in the city beyond the narrow frame of TV cameras.

The personal toll on those covering the storm and its aftermath has been too little documented. The Times-Pic, whose main office was flooded in the storm, forcing its temporary evacuation, has faced challenges that no modern American newspaper has ever endured. A few weeks ago, one its photographers attempted suicide by cop. Fortunately for all involved, he was well-known and respected by the police, and they showed a level of restraint that was heroic, even as he tried to provoke them into killing him by using his car as a weapon.

Today, Chris Rose has a column that describes in agonizing detail his own descent into depression last fall as the days after the storm turned to weeks and months. Like most of us would, he resisted entreaties from his family and co-workers to get help. He went a year without treatment, 360 straight days of crying. It is, as such things are, a very personal tale. One man. One family. One city.

It breaks your heart. But it also makes me mad as hell. Mad that this slow-motion disaster of broken levees and shattered lives happened in the first place. Mad that the disaster is still happening, a feckless governmental response dragging out the misery and the suffering just as if the fetid water were still pouring through the levee breaches. Mad that in the face of this overwhelming catastrophe at home we are spending by some estimates $246 million a day to create a catastrophe in Iraq. Mad that in light of all of this ineptitude and indifference the party in power has a chance, a very real chance, of retaining some or even all of its power in the first national election since Katrina.

But Chris Rose did not intend for his column today to be a springboard to a political rant. It is just his personal story. You ought to go read it.

This guy better get his resume polished up:

A senior U.S. State Department diplomat told Arab satellite network Al Jazeera that there is a strong possibility history will show the United States displayed "arrogance" and "stupidity" in its handling of the Iraq war.

Alberto Fernandez, director of the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Near East Affairs, made his comments on Saturday to the Qatar-based network.

"History will decide what role the United States played," he told Al Jazeera in Arabic, based on CNN translations. "And God willing, we tried to do our best in Iraq."

"But I think there is a big possibility ... for extreme criticism and because undoubtedly there was arrogance and stupidity from the United States in Iraq," the diplomat told Al Jazeera. . . .

"I can only assume his remarks must have been mistranslated. Those comments obviously don't reflect our policy," a senior Bush administration official said.

Fernandez told CNN that he was "not dissing U.S. policy."

"I know what the policy is and what the red lines are, and nothing I said hasn't been said before by senior officials."

Poor guy. He mistook recent Administration softening of its denials that there is a problem with Iraq as a sign of an American glasnost. What equivalent of Siberia will he be sent to on his next diplomatic posting?