9:28 AM PT: CT-Sen: Linda McMahon didn't just shoot herself in the foot on Monday. She set an AK-47 on full auto and emptied the whole clip into her Pradas. It all starts here, at an interview with the Hartford Courant's editorial board:
Courant: So a rape victim, in a hospital. And it's a hospital that is run by a Catholic institution. Emergency contraception, should that be—should she be sent to another hospital in the middle of the night when she's in dire distress?In other words, exactly the kind of thing McMahon should have the brains not to say in an overwhelmingly pro-choice state like Connecticut. Of course, the damage was instant. But then... wow did she ever dig her hole even deeper in attempting to un-screw herself at last night's debate with Chris Murphy:
McMahon: I don't think that the government should overreach. I mean it's a separation of church and state in my view, and I think that a religious institution has the right to decide what its policies would be in that, in that case.
Courant: Yeah and I respect that, I just wonder if that institution, gets a certain, a majority of it's money from the government, if it's mostly federally funded, does that play a role in your thinking?
McMahon: Well I just think again, that it is an issue of separation of church and state, and that institution should decide what its role would be, and what it's comfortable with doing in that instance.
I do want to clarify one thing that Congressman Murphy had said about this, um, the rape issue and contraception. That was asking the Hartford Courant review board, and it was really an issue about a Catholic church being forced to offer those pills if the person came in in an emergency rape... that was my response to it. I absolutely think that we should avail women who come in with rape victims the opportunity to have those morning after pills or that treatment that they should get."Whoda thunk that Linda McMahon would join the Todd Akin brigades? I'll have to refer to my Daily Kos colleague Kaili Joy Gray for the exact count (she's an expert at this kind of thing), but the number of different flavors of rape according to Republicans has really reached epic proportions: forcible rape, honest rape, legitimate rape (of course), easy rape, and now emergency rape. For a candidate who has insisted so hard that she's actually pro-choice, this is an extraordinary disaster. As local columnist David Collins opined:
I think Linda McMahon might have done better at Monday night's Senate debate with Chris Murphy if she had simply taken out a cigarette lighter and set hundred-dollar bills on fire.Indeed.
9:45 AM PT: Here's a new batch of Senate polling. The most troubling numbers come in Pennsylvania, where Quinnipiac sees Dem Sen. Bob Casey's lead shrinking to just three points over the free-spending Tom Smith, and Barack Obama's 12-point lead collapsing to just four following the fallout over his debate performance.
• FL-Sen (UNF): Bill Nelson (D-inc): 50, Connie Mack (R): 40
• MT-Sen (Rasmussen): Jon Tester (D-inc): 48 (43), Denny Rehberg (R): 48 (47)
• NJ-Sen (Quinnipiac): Bob Menendez (D-inc): 55 (50), Joe Kyrillos (R): 37 (40); Obama 51-43 (51-44)
• PA-Sen (Quinnipiac): Bob Casey (D-inc): 48 (49), Tom Smith: 45 (43); Obama 50-46 (54-42)
10:01 AM PT: TN-04: I don't usually pay a lot of attentions when people file various sorts of complaints in the political world—FEC complaints, ethics committee complaints, what have you. After all, anyone can file a grievance, and it doesn't have to be substantiated, so usually I prefer to wait until there's some actual action or corroboration that suggests "this thing is real." But a medical ethics complaint? That's not something you see every day, so I'll guess the folks at CREW had to do some research a little outside their usual scope in order to submit a complaint to the Tennessee Dept. of Health against GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais.
Of course, you know that DesJarlais, a physician, admitted to having an affair with a patient (and rather infamously tried to pressure her to have an abortion). That's an extraordinary breach of medical ethics, and one which other doctors in the state have been sanctioned for in the recent past. The health board is declining to comment (and complaints remain confidential unless disciplinary action is taken), so there's no word on if or when DesJarlais might be called to account. But the facts speak for themselves, and DesJarlais has denied nothing.
"Tammy Baldwin, her whole record is anti-Israel," Thompson said at a press conference in Wauwatosa. "She voted for the first time for the sanctions three months ago because she knew she was running for the U.S. Senate. That is the lamest excuse I've ever heard.I mean, in the uglier corners of the Republican Party, insinuations that Democratic politicians are somehow "anti-Israel" are distressingly common. But "anti-Jewish"? Thompson just called Baldwin a full-blown antisemite! All the more extraordinary since Baldwin "had just spoken Sunday morning at the Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay."
"She's anti-Israel, she's anti-Jewish and she's trying to now somehow obfuscate her views and her intentions," the former governor added.
10:44 AM PT (David Jarman): WA-Gov: The latest installment in SurveyUSA's never-ending polling of the Washington gubernatorial race has the spread a little closer; Dem Jay Inslee leads Republican Rob McKenna 47-44. That's down from a 48-42 Inslee lead six weeks ago. I'd ordinarily chalk that up to mundane float within the margin of error (remember that we have a very reliable benchmark here in the form of August's Top 2 primary, which Inslee "won" 47-43), but the spread in the presidential race is down to "only" 14 instead of 20 like last poll, so maybe there's also a little downward pressure from the presidential race.
10:45 AM PT: CA-36: Well hmm. GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack's out with an internal of her own, from Arthur Finkelstein & Associates, that purports to show her up 55-38 over Democrat Raul Ruiz. Those results come in response to a new Ruiz survey that had him up 46-43, but there are a few odd things about Bono Mack's poll. For one, it has a bare-minimum sample size of 300 (Ruiz's had 406 respondents). More importantly, this is far from the first Democratic internal that's shown a close race: Democracy for America previously released two polls (one on August, one in September) that had the race at 2-3 points each.
So if Bono Mack really had such gaudy leads, why didn't she try to squash Ruiz's momentum back then with numbers like the ones she's publicizing now? What's more, the amount of third-party money being spent here doesn't comport with this being a 17-point race. And the fact that Bono Mack's campaign is trying to discredit Ruiz's poll by pointing out that Lake Research got the Wisconsin recall wrong is weak, weak, weak.
10:49 AM PT (David Jarman): San Diego mayor: SurveyUSA's latest poll of the San Diego mayoral race continues to show that retiring Democratic Rep. Bob Filner is still the favorite here, leading Republican city councilor Carl DeMaio 47-40 in the ostensibly nonpartisan race. That's a bit tighter than last month's poll, where Filner led 50-38. Considering that he's one of the most progressive members of the House, Filner is doing surprisingly well among moderate Republicans, as seen in that he's up by 13 points among people who voted for Nathan Fletcher and by 14 among those who voted for Bonnie Dumanis.
11:20 AM PT: CA-30: It's not clear to me why Kimball Political Consulting, a Republican firm from Massachusetts, is polling an all-Democrat race in California, but I guess they wanted to capitalize on the recent Berman-Sherman debate smackdown and garner a little attention for themselves. In any event, despite Brad Sherman's intemperate arm-around-the-shoulders act of aggression at the debate, Kimball finds him leading Howard Berman 32-26. That's a ton of undecideds, though, so I'm not sure this poll tells us a lot about where this race is headed. Of course, I'd have said Sherman had the clear advantage in this race unless he did something crazy like physically assault Berman, so...
Still, though, it seems like Sherman's the man to beat. As Nathan Gonzalez points out, Berman's campaign emailed this poll around—and when you're touting a survey that has you at 26%, things can't look good. More importantly, Sherman's responded with his own internal from the Feldman Group, and he also finds Berman at 26. The problem is that Sherman's obliterating him, taking 51 percent of the vote. And in a stark admission that what happened at the debate was potentially very damaging, the memo actually notes that the poll was largely conducted after the forum.
11:48 AM PT: FL-26: It looks like Benenson Strategy Group is doing double duty in South Florida. They previously polled for Democrat Joe Garcia, but their latest survey is for the DCCC. Regardless of client, they still find Garcia maintaining a serious lead over GOP Rep. David Rivera, 46-35. Most notable is that the memo says Obama "only leads Romney by 1%" (no actual toplines are provided), a much tighter spread in the presidential race than previous polls have seen. Indeed, in Benenson's August survey, when Garcia led 49-40, Obama was up 50-40. So it's good to see that the president's post-debate collapse apparently hasn't affected candidates downballot, at least in this race.
12:05 PM PT: Ohio: Big (and positive) news out of Ohio on the voter suppression front: The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Secretary of State Jon Husted's request for an emergency stay of a lower court ruling that required the state to restore early voting hours on the weekend before election day. As a result of the unanimous, unsigned, one-sentence decision, voters throughout the Buckeye State will be able to cast their ballots early on the following dates and times:
Saturday, November 3, 2012 – 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 4, 2012 – 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday, November 5, 2012 – 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.