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September 20, 2014

Afghan Candidate Will Concede Only if Vote Total is Kept Secret

Abdullah Abdullah will concede defeat in Afghanistan's elections and "agree on the formation of a national unity government only if election authorities do not publicly disclose their now-completed final tally," the New York Times reports.

"Mr. Abdullah contends that the recent audit of the fraud-ridden election could not possibly detect all the fake ballots, so the final result should not be announced despite the legal requirement to do so."

Intruder Gets Inside White House

"A man climbed over the White House fence and raced across the lawn and through the north portico doors Friday night, apparently only minutes after President Obama went out the south entrance on his way to Camp David... The man, who was not armed, was arrested just inside the doors," the Washington Post reports.

Focus Turns to Kansas

New York Times: "At the beginning of the year, no one thought that Kansas -- which has sent only Republicans to the Senate since 1938 -- would be critical in determining the balance of the Senate. But a Kansas Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that allowed the Democratic nominee to withdraw his name from the ballot made that prospect real."

"Democrats are celebrating the ruling. Their candidate may be off the ballot, but his departure benefits the investor, Greg Orman, who is running as an independent, and hurts the longtime Republican incumbent, Senator Pat Roberts, who had already been tripped up in his expected waltz to re-election."

Two Wild Cards in the Battle for the Senate

Nate Cohn: "If all of the candidates currently leading in the polls go on to win, which is not at all assured with so many close races and still 45 days to go, then the party that wins two from the list of Iowa, Alaska and Kansas will win the Senate. But Alaska and Kansas pose unusual challenges for election analysts and forecasters. It's possible that one party has a clear advantage in the fight for the Senate, and that we just don't know it yet."

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Lawmaker Claims ISIS Fighters are in the United States

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) "warned during a recent speech that up to 40 radicalized U.S. citizens who have fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have already returned to the United States, where they could pose a terrorist threat," the Washington Free Beacon reports.

Super PACs Keep Democrats Competitive in Key Senate Races

"Strong fundraising by Democrats and their allies--including a formidable super PAC run by people close to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid --is helping the party remain competitive in Senate races where many other factors favor Republican candidates," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The Democratic fundraising has allowed the party and its allies to run more TV advertisements than Republicans in the first two weeks of September in nine of the 10 top Senate races this fall... The Democrats' edge in TV ads of late is due partly to a string of super PACs that have ramped up their efforts in the past two months."

Christie Not in the Clear Yet

NBC News "says a report by Brian Williams on the network's Nightly News program that federal charges have been ruled out for Gov. Chris Christie in the George Washington Bridge scandal was incorrect," USA Today reports.

"Federal prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing and haven't made any announcement on Christie's status."

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GOP Hones Message on National Security

"Republicans are again seeing national security as a winning issue for their campaigns, eight years after the party was swept from power in Congress over President George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq war," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The assertive tone comes as polls show that voters view Republicans as better able than Democrats to handle national security, by margins that rival the party's large advantage in the post-9/11 period. Also recently, public approval of President Barack Obama's handling of foreign policy has fallen sharply."

Greg Sargent: "Do Republicans really want to go here, given that many GOP lawmakers' position is to send in ground troops, a course of action that is broadly opposed by the American mainstream?"

Will 'Crazy' be the October Surprise?

Dean Obeidallah: "I have to give the Republicans credit for one thing in this election cycle. They've been able to keep their crazies quiet. But the big question is: Will some GOP crazy talk seep out between now November 4? In the words of Sarah Palin, I'd have to say, 'You betcha.'"

September 19, 2014

Rowland Found Guilty Again

Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland (R), "a political rising star who crashed a decade ago in a corruption scandal, fell again Friday when a jury in federal court found him guilty in a low-rent scheme to collect secret pay checks from rich Republican congressional candidates," the Hartford Courant reports.

Is Christie the GOP Frontrunner Again?

"Influential Republicans in early presidential primary states believe New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is poised to once again become a frontrunner for the party's 2016 nomination, following a news report that he is no longer a target of federal scrutiny for his role in a bridge-closing scandal," the Washington Post reports.

"Christie's wealthy friends in Republican finance circles also expressed confidence that the governor has escaped what has been seen as the leading obstacle to his potential candidacy."

Bernie Sanders Recorded a Folk Album

Seven Days has unearthed a folk album recorded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 1987, while he was the mayor of Burlington, VT.

Daily Beast: "While savoring these songs, the listener might wonder, you know, how the hell something like this ever happened... The senator's office, sadly, doesn't have much to say about their boss's old record making the rounds this week."

See more...

Orman Lead in Kansas

A new Rasmussen survey in Kansas finds Greg Orman (I) leading Sen. Pat Roberts (R) for U.S. Senate, 45% to 40%.

The survey shows the head-to-head match up now possible when Chad Taylor (D) is kept off the ballot.

Toss Up in Iowa

A new Rasmussen survey in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) and Bruce Braley (D) deadlocked in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 43%.

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

Republicans May Change Rules to Save Boehner

"House Republicans are quietly discussing a proposal that could fundamentally alter the way future speakers of the House are chosen, according to multiple GOP sources, with the objective of avoiding a repeat of John Boehner's embarrassing reelection vote in 2013," National Journal reports.

"Under the proposed tweak, any Republican who votes on the House floor in January against the conference's nominee for House speaker - that is, the candidate chosen by a majority of the House GOP during its closed-door leadership elections in November - would be severely punished. Specifically, sources say, any dissenters would be stripped of all committee assignments for that Congress."

A Candidate Who Says Nothing

Molly Ball: "That Clinton is a risk-averse, pragmatic politician has been her hallmark for years, of course--it's just another way in which her current persona offers nothing new or surprising. Has America ever been so thoroughly tired of a candidate before the campaign even began?"

Biden Praises Packwood at Women's Event

In the middle of a speech championing women's issues and condemning sexual harassment, Vice President Joe Biden offered warm words for former Sen. Bob Packwood (R-OR) who resigned after 10 women accused him of sexual harassment, Business Insider reports.

GOP Candidate Suggests War with Mexico

North Carolina congressional candidate Mark Walker (R) suggested war with Mexico might be a way to stop immigrants coming across the border, TPM reports.

Said Walker: "I will tell you if you have foreigners who are sneaking in with drug cartels to me that is a national threat. And if we got to go laser or blitz somebody with a couple of fighter jets for a little while to make our point, I don't have a problem with that either. So yeah, whatever we need to do."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"The battleground for control of the Senate is now Kansas."

-- Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS), quoted by ABC News, on news the Democratic candidate will be allowed to drop off the ballot to force a two-way race.

Many Want Their State to Secede

A new Reuters poll found that almost a quarter -- 23.9% -- of those surveyed said they were strongly or provisionally inclined to have their states secede from the United States.

"Secession got more support from Republicans than Democrats, more from right- than left-leaning independents, more from younger than older people, more from lower- than higher-income brackets, more from high school than college grads. But there was a surprising amount of support in every group and region, especially the Rocky Mountain states, the Southwest and the old Confederacy, but also in places like Illinois and Kansas. And of the people who said they identified with the Tea Party, supporters of secession were actually in the majority, with 53 percent."

Paul Rips GOP on Minority Voters

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) slammed the Republican party for not reaching out to minorities, Politico reports.

Said Paul: "So many times, Republicans are seen as this party of, 'We don't want black people to vote because they're voting Democrat, we don't want Hispanic people to vote because they're voting Democrat.' We wonder why the Republican Party is so small. Why don't we be the party that's for people voting, for voting rights?"

Quote of the Day

"Let's see if you can write this whole story without mentioning how fat I've gotten."

-- North Carolina congressional candidate Clay Aiken (D), quoted by the Washington Post.

Burke Plagiarized Jobs Plan

Large portions of Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke's (D) jobs plan "appear to be copied directly from the plans of three Democratic candidates who ran for governor in previous election cycles," BuzzFeed reports.

"Burke's economic plan Invest for Success copies nearly-verbatim sections from the jobs plans of Ward Cammack, who ran for Tennessee governor in 2009 before withdrawing from the race, a 2008 plan from Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and John Gregg who ran for governor of Indiana in 2012 and lost to Mike Pence."

If Republicans Win the Senate

"Senate Republicans are planning aggressive action to intensify oversight of the Obama administration and move conservative legislation long stymied by the Democrats if they win control of the upper chamber in the midterm elections," the Washington Examiner reports.

"Republican leaders are promising a complete makeover of the chamber that goes beyond changes in legislative priorities... Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, expected to become the next majority leader as long as he wins re-election on Nov. 4, plans to return power to the committees and promote a freewheeling debate process that allows members to shape legislation through a vigorous amendment process."

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