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July 24, 2014

Walsh Blames PTSD for Plagiarism

Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) said "his failure to attribute conclusions and verbatim passages lifted from other scholars' work in his thesis to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College was an unintentional mistake caused in part by post-traumatic stress disorder," the AP reports.

Said Walsh: "I don't want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor. My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment."

Meanwhile, a new Gravis Marketing poll conducted before news of the plagiarism scandal found Walsh trailing Steve Daines (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 41%.

Quote of the Day

"These moves to limit the right to vote are nothing more than pure politics, masquerading as attempts to combat corruption where there is none."

-- Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by The Hill, on voter ID laws and other efforts to restrict voting.

10 Million Gained Health Insurance Coverage

"A new study estimates that more than 10 million adults gained health insurance by midyear as the coverage expansion under President Barack Obama's law took hold in much of the country," the AP reports.

Arizona Botches Execution

"The Wednesday afternoon execution of convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood III took nearly two hours, confirming concerns that had been raised by his attorneys about a controversial drug used by the state of Arizona," the Arizona Republic reports.

"Wood remained alive at Arizona's state prison in Florence long enough for his public defenders to file an emergency motion for a stay of execution with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after the process began at 1:53 p.m. The motion noted that Wood 'has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour' after being injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs."

National Journal: "But the motion was too late, and Wood was pronounced dead almost exactly two hours after the state administered the first of a two-drug lethal cocktail into his veins."

Schauer Admits to Voting in GOP Primary

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer (D) "voted in the 2012 Republican primary, likely for Rick Santorum in order to embarrass Mitt Romney in his home state," Politico reports.

"Schauer acknowledges casting an absentee Republican ballot, but a spokesman refused to say who he voted for in 2012, calling the way a person votes private."

July 23, 2014

Senator Plagiarized Master's Thesis

An examination of the final paper required for Sen. John Walsh's (D-MT) master's degree from the United States Army War College "indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors' works, with no attribution," the New York Times reports.

"Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a 'strategy research project,' to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online."

How Not to Canvass Door-to-Door

Claremont Courier: "Canvassers working on behalf of the Let Claremont Vote Committee started making the rounds last week, circulating a petition for a separate measure calling for voter approval on the city's water bonds. At around 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16, two canvassers--an unidentified male and female--arrived to the Claremont home of Pat O'Malley. His wife, Shelley, had just finished giving their baby a bath when she passed by the family's home surveillance monitor and witnessed the couple at their front door. After watching the monitor for a moment, Ms. O'Malley couldn't believe her eyes. The man was groping the woman, right there on the O'Malley's front porch."

Most Americans Say Obamacare Has Helped

A new CNN/ORC poll finds that more than half of Americans say Obamacare "has helped either their families or others across the country, although less than one in five Americans say they have personally benefited from the health care law."

The survey "also indicates that a majority of Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act, but that some of that opposition is from people who don't think the measure goes far enough."

Tight Race for Wisconsin Governor

A new Marquette Law School Poll in Wisconsin finds that the governor's race is still a dead heat, with Gov. Scott Walker (R) barely edging challenger Mary Burke (D), 46% to 45%.

Can Huge War Chests Save Senate Democrats?

Roll Call: "If Senate Democrats lose the majority, it won't be for lack of cash-flush campaigns. Facing a daunting map, Democrats turned in solid -- sometimes eye-popping -- second-quarter fundraising totals for the midterms."

"Even with incumbents such as Sens. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska already spending significantly on the airwaves, Democrats running for the party's most endangered seats also continued to sit on significant war chests primed for a post-Labor Day advertising assault."

Nikki Haley in Trouble?

A new Palmetto Politics poll in South Carolina finds Gov. Nikki Haley (R) leading Vincent Sheheen (D) by just four points, 46% to 42% in a race that includes independent and libertarian candidates.

In a head-to-head matchup, Haley leads Sheheen, 53% to 40%.

So Many Bad Polls

First Read: "One more point on the Georgia contest: Yes, Perdue's win contradicted the existing polls, but they weren't good polls -- which is why, for instance, you never saw us make note of them. We do try and only highlight pollsters who have good methodology and decent track records. In Georgia during this runoff campaign, that didn't exist. Folks, we're living in a political age where so much of the data is coming from surveys with either questionable methodology (like not reaching those with cell phones) or with partisan manipulation. And so it's a reminder to take them with a grain of salt, especially in a low-turnout runoff."

"And it also means: Be very careful of these aggregation polling sites. They don't always make the data better... there are actually polling firms out there who seem to have been created for the sole goal of influencing or balancing out these aggregation sites. To the folks who run these aggregation sites, realize that when you mix crap with sirloin, it makes the sirloin taste like &$#% too. "

How Much Does Presidential Approval Matter in a Midterm?

Morning Line: "Overall, midterms are not kind to presidents and their parties. And when a president's approval rating is below 50 percent, like President Obama's is now, the president's party loses an average of about three more seats in the Senate than if his approval were above 50 percent. Overall, since World War II, the president's party has lost an average of 3.7 Senate seats in midterm elections. When the president's approval is above 50 percent, the average loss is 2.6 seats. But when the president's approval rating is below 50 percent, his party has seen an average loss of 5.5 seats in midterms -- ironic, considering Republicans need to gain a net of six seats this year to win control of the Senate."

"The wildcard here, though, is the continued unpopularity of the Republican brand. The party's favorability hovers in the 30s, slightly worse than Democrats and the president."

Crist Holds Lead in Florida

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the race for governor, 45% to 40%.

However, when Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is added to the mix, the race is too close to call, with 39% for Crist, 37% for Scott and 9% for Wyllie

Bachman Might Make Another Presidential Bid

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) hinted at another run for president in 2016 in an interview with Real Clear Politics, saying "there's a chance I could run" for president again.

Clever Legal Strategy Against Obamacare But Politically Risky

First Read: "Make no mistake: The conservative legal strategy against the law (whether it was targeting the Commerce Clause or now this wording of the subsidies) has been very clever and almost effective. Politically, it's also been VERY effective. But this legal strategy also creates a difficult longer-term political strategy for Republicans: Do they end up paying a price for wanting to take away benefits Americans are getting under the law? Yesterday, we saw Republican after Republican praise the D.C. Circuit ruling (even after the the 4th Circuit ruling came out), but it also raised a tricky follow-up question. Does that mean they support these Americans having to pay MORE for health care? All along, Republicans have charged that the law will hurt Americans' pocketbooks. But then how do you cheer for a court ruling that would effectively increase health costs for Americans living in states that didn't set up their own exchanges?"

Perdue Wins Georgia Runoff

David Perdue (R) stunned Georgia's Republican political establishment Tuesday by capturing the party's U.S. Senate nomination in his first run for office, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Perdue "toppled 11-term Rep. Jack Kingston (R) by a narrow margin, setting up a battle of political newcomers with famous kin in the fall... In addition to his famous last name and lingering political network from his cousin, Perdue deployed $3 million of his own money to back his bid. Still, he was outspent by Kingston and allied Super PACs - including the deep pocketed U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

Jim Galloway: 5 reasons Perdue shocked Georgia's political world

Peach Pundit: Does anyone know how to poll this state?

Quote of the Day

"Now I don't assert where he was born, I will just tell you that we are all certain that he was not raised with an American experience. So these things that beat in our hearts when we hear the National Anthem and when we say the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't beat the same for him."

-- Rep. Steve King (R-IA), quoted by BuzzFeed, on President Obama.

Crist Retakes Lead in Florida

A new SurveyUSA poll in Florida shows Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the governor's race by six points, 46% to 40%.

The previous poll had Scott leading by two points.

Perry Comes Roaring Back Into Presidential Politics

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) "is back in the game," the Washington Post reports.

"What he lacks in sizzle from 2011 he's making up for with newfound substance on issues such as the economy and turmoil in the Middle East. And with tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant children streaming into Texas, the border crisis gives Perry an animating issue placing him at the forefront of Republican politics... Perry's two days of campaigning across rural northern Iowa garnered rave reviews from local conservatives."

Astorino Slams Christie Over Remarks

New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino (R) slammed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) after Christie contended as head of the Republican Governor's Association that Astorino has little chance in his race against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), the Poughkeepsie Journal reports.

Said Astorino: "Clearly, he could come across the bridge and not just raise money for himself but raise money for the Republican candidate here - unless he is unable or unwilling because he has an issue that we don't know about with Andrew Cuomo and the Bridgegate scandal. And if that's the case and he feels he can't do it, then maybe he should step down as chairman because his role is to raise money for Republican candidates."

Warner Holds Big Lead in Virginia

A new Roanoke College poll in Virginia shows Sen. Mark Warner (D) with a 25-point lead over challenger Ed Gillespie (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 22%, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis at 5%.

Tight GOP Race for Arizona Governor

A new Harper Polling survey in Arizona shows a tightening Republican primary contest for governor with Doug Ducey (R) just ahead of Christine Jones (R), 23% to 21%, with another 22% undecided.

July 22, 2014

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"There is no wiggle room. I am not running for president. No means no."

-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), quoted by the Boston Globe.

TV Show Would Feature Candidates Who Can't Win

Longshot New York congressional candidate Nick Di Iorio (R) "has been signed to star in a proposed reality show about candidates running in 'unwinnable' races. In a draft opinion released Monday, the Federal Election Commission said Di Iorio can appear on the series -- as long as he doesn't get paid," the New York Daily News reports.

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