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7:45 AM PT: TN-04: Oh. My.

A pro-life, family-values congressman who worked as a doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by The Huffington Post.

The congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September of 2000. And, according to three independent sources familiar with the call and the recording, he made the tape himself.

In addition, DesJarlais did not deny the contents of the call, excerpts of which are produced in the HuffPo's article, such as this:
"You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one," DesJarlais tells the woman at one point in the call while negotiating with her over whether he'll reveal her identity to his wife. They then discuss whether he will accompany her to a procedure to end the sort of life the congressman now describes as "sacred."

"You told me you would have time to go with me and everything," the woman complains.

"I said, if I could, I would, didn't I? And I will try," DesJarlais says. "If I can [find] time, you're saying you still will?"

"Yeah," the woman answers.

Wow. Much more at the link.

8:05 AM PT: TX-23: It's been a while since we've heard much from the Blue Dog Coalition PAC, but they've gone and named their tenth endorsement of the cycle: state Rep. Pete Gallego, who is challenging GOP freshman Quico Canseco. The move seems a bit surprising to me: This is a swingish district, sure, but Gallego never struck me as particularly conservative, and he's been supported to the hilt by environmental organizations, who often don't see eye-to-eye with Blue Dogs. And Canseco's predecessor, Ciro Rodriguez, was never a member of the BDs... though he did compile a kind of wankerish voting record that might make you think he was, in fact, a member. For a full list of all Blue Dog endorsements for 2012, click here.

8:43 AM PT: MI-06: Though GOP Rep. Fred Upton occupies a district that went for Obama by eight points in 2008, the race in MI-06 hasn't gotten a lot of attention this year. Despite facing down an unsuccessful Club for Growth-fueled primary challenge, Upton still has a huge campaign warchest, while his opponent, Marine vet Mike O'Brien, had only raised about $100K as of mid-July. But sometimes background factors matter more than candidate dynamics, and that appears to be what O'Brien's trying to demonstrate with a new internal from Myers Research that shows Upton leading by just a 47-42 margin, with Libertarian Christie Gelineau taking 7 percent. That's still quite a climb for O'Brien, but what's most notable is how unfriendly this sample is: Obama actually trails Mitt Romney 48-47. The generic congressional ballot is also tight, with a 47-46 GOP edge. O'Brien, however, isn't even on the DCCC's "Emerging Races" list and would need outside help to overcome Upton's advantages.

8:59 AM PT: Campaign Finance: As Rick Hasen predicted, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked a lower judge's ruling from a week ago  that eliminated all limits on campaign contributions in Montana. The judge had failed to provide a full decision explaining his ruling (something Hasen identified as a serious no-no), and so the appeals court has ordered him to provide one. In the meantime, the campaign finance limits have been reinstated. However, for a week, those limits didn't exist, so it's possible some candidates went hog wild during that period, taking in unlimited donations. We won't know, though, until fundraising reports are filed.

9:20 AM PT: Polltopia: This week's Daily Kos poll shows similar excitement levels for both Obama voters and Romney voters—essentially no change in the excitement levels of Obama voters, despite the debate, and a 7-point increase in the percent of Romney voters saying they're Very Excited. Excitement levels have, in general, increased since the spring, as is to be expected, including excitement levels of minority Obama voters. Daily Kos Elections featured writer dreaminonempty takes a closer look at the data, so click through for d's analysis.

9:38 AM PT: NV-Sen: Rasmussen: Shelley Berkley (D): 45 (41), Dean Heller (R-inc): 48 (42).

9:48 AM PT: ME-Sen: It's been pretty hard to get a clean read on the Senate race in Maine, with several polls showing independent Angus King's position looking precarious, and others finding him with still-comfortable leads. Slot the latest, the so-called "Omnibus Poll" from local consulting from Pan Atlantic Group SMS Group, in the latter category: They show King leading Republican Charlie Summers 50-24, with Democrat Cynthia Dill back at 12. There are also numbers for the state's two House districts, but since the total sample size on the poll is just 400, that means that Pan Atlantic only canvassed about 200 respondents in each seat, which is well below acceptable standards.

10:20 AM PT: OH-Sen: SurveyUSA's first poll of Ohio all cycle finds Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown up 42-38 over Republican Josh Mandel—a smaller lead than he's seen in most recent polling, and also a spread with far more undecideds than any public poll has ever found. (Indeed, Brown's never clocked in at 42.) Andrew Sullivan will also love the presidential numbers, which show Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by just a hair's-breadth 45-44 margin. But our old buddy Taniel makes a good point: Among the 11% of respondents who say they have already voted, both Obama and Brown have twenty-point leads. Yeah, that sub-sample is small, but would you rather be the guy +20 or -20?

10:37 AM PT: MO-Gov: The bronies down at the RGA are providing another hot cash infusion for Dave Spence, sending him $950K for his uphill fight against Dem Gov. Jay Nixon. That's on top of a $1.1 million gift last month. Some time ago, the DGA gave $2.5 million to its Missouri affiliate, which in turn forked over a mil to Nixon, but it's been a while since they've felt the need to get directly involved here.

11:16 AM PT (David Jarman): PA-Sen: Susquehanna has produced most of the polls that have shown the Pennsylvania Senate race to be close (meaning low-single-digits; a number of other pollsters have seen it move to within the high-single-digits), and now they're doing it again. The Republican-friendly pollster (who have done polling both on behalf of GOP candidates and the notoriously right-leaning Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- though this poll doesn't seem to be on anyone's behalf) finds Dem Bob Casey Jr. leading GOPer Tom Smith 46-44, not much different from their previous 45-42 in September. Suspicious crosstab du jour: Smith leads 54-44 in decidedly blue Allegheny County.

11:22 AM PT (David Jarman): WA-Gov: I guess I'll give GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna -- perhaps the least funky person to have ever walked the earth -- some goofy good-sport credit for dancing along with "Gangnam Style" at a local Korean cultural celebration... the ensuing video has a vaguely Dukakis-in-a-tank whiff to it, though.

11:24 AM PT: OH-06: The NRCC and GOP Rep. Bill Johnson are dusting off this two-week-old internal poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies showing that the incumbent is up 48-39 over Democrat Charlie Wilson. But the presidential toplines paint what seem to be an overly optimistic picture for Johnson: Romney leads Obama 53-39, which is six points better than John McCain's 53-45 victory here in 2008. What's more, this survey was in the field before the debate debacle, at a point when Obama looked poised to do better in the Buckeye State than he did four years ago, so this sample might well be too favorable for Republicans. (A Wilson internal last month had the race tied at 46.)

11:33 AM PT: MO-Sen: Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill lowers the boom on Todd Akin with three new ads, all of which feature sexual assault survivors (two of whom identify as "pro-life) castigating Akin for his beliefs. In particular, they hammer Akin for opposing emergency contraception—something one woman even says she declined while in the hospital following her assault, but she adds that she doesn't want that choice taken from others.

12:17 PM PT: The Live Digest continues here.

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