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Closing Fast: How Linda McMahon’s Millions Have Made A Real Race In Connecticut

“So what exactly is going on in Connecticut, the seat where 30-year incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd is retiring? It was widely believed since Dodd’s retirement that this would be an easy hold for Dem state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. But the latest polls show Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon making up ground — and conventional wisdom has been moving accordingly.

When Dodd announced his retirement back in January, the first survey numbers from Public Policy Polling (D) showed Blumenthal way ahead of McMahon by a margin of 60%-28%, compared to Dodd only tying her at 43%-43%. A Quinnipiac poll taken soon after gave Blumenthal a similar lead of 64%-23%. But now a Quinnipiac poll from last week had McMahon narrowing the gap to just 51%-45%.”

Jim DeMint: Picking Horses Is About More Than Primaries

“Sen. Jim DeMint says he’d rather be in the minority with a bunch of rock-ribbed conservatives than be part of a ruling group of RINOs. He might just get his chance.

Some Senate Republicans have been privately trashing DeMint, whose track record with his Senate Conservatives Fund endorsing long-shot conservatives in this year’s tough GOP primaries has been better than leadership’s. The argument among some — in very quiet whispers — is that DeMint is not their kind of Republican and his candidates might have blown the GOP’s chances at retaking the Senate this fall.

It only bubbled to the surface in news reports after this week’s stunning Delaware race in which Christine O’Donnell shellacked Rep. Mike Castle, prompting analysts to shift the state back into the Democratic column from the likely Republican pickup it would have been with the far more moderate Castle as the nominee.”

Steve King Demands ‘Blood Oath’ From Boehner To Shut Down The Government

“Earlier this year, radical right-wing congressman Steve King (R-IA) introduced a discharge petition in the House to repeal health reform. Thus far, his measure has attracted 173 signatures. Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) became the first Democrat last week to sign the petition. King told conservative blogger Ed Morrissey he’s “likely to get more Democrats.”

But King seems more worried that the leadership of his Republican caucus — some of whom have said they won’t campaign for a full health care repeal — won’t carry through with a pledge to repeal ObamaCare. Roll Call reports that King is now demanding a “blood oath” from House Minority Leader John Boehner to include a repeal of health care reform in every appropriations bill next year, even if a government shutdown results:

“We must not blink,” he said, noting that money cannot be spent without the House voting to pass it. “If the House says no, it’s no.”

Their new tea party backers won’t tolerate anything less than a full repeal of the health care law, he said.

“They will leave us if we go wobbly,” he said. “I am worried about that, but that’s why I think it’s got to be a blood oath.””

Powell Criticizes Right-Wing’s Attacks Against Obama: ‘Let’s Attack Him On Policy, Not Nonsense’

“Retired General and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell criticized the Tea Party movement’s inflammatory attacks against President Obama this morning during an appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press, singling out the rhetoric of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Powell said that while “there’s nothing wrong” with people like Sarah Palin “going out there, presenting her views and animating American political life,” “one of the problems that I’m having with all of this right now is that there is a certain undercurrent of thought that is not helpful.” “When people want to attack the President, attack him. Presidents are used to being attacked. But let’s not go down low,” Powell said. “

Pressed On New Poverty Numbers, Miller Won’t Say How He’ll Help 43.6 Million Poor

“This morning, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Alaska Republican senatorial candidate Joe Miller about recent data from the Census Bureau which found that a stagering one in seven or 43.6 million Americans are living in poverty, the highest level since 1994. Noting that Miller had previously claimed that unemployment benefits were unconstitutional Wallace asked, “without unemployment benefits, a lot more, millions more would be living in poverty — what would you do for them?” Miller initially ducked the question, but when Wallace persisted, Miller accused Americans of suffering from an “entitlement mentality” and argued that providing unemployment benefits was not among Congress’ enumerated powers. “

Angelides brings financial crisis probe ‘field hearing’ to California

“So far this year, Phil Angelides has made Alan Greenspan squirm. He’s rattled the head of Goldman Sachs and put the nation’s chief money men, Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner, on the spot about the stock market crash. As chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, he will preside over a hearing in Sacramento on Thursday to delve into the details of the housing bubble.”

That freight train you’re waiting for may be good economic sign

“Turn on the television news of late or scan the front pages of a newspaper and you may come away with the impression that the U.S. economy is either stuck in the mud or sliding downhill toward a cliff. But one early indicator of economic activity, freight carried by U.S. railroads, offers signs that business is picking up overall and particularly in some key industries.”

Social Conservatives and the 2012 Hopefuls

“Luke Johnson’s piece on the Values Voters Summit, which took place in Washington this weekend, provides a nice look into the ongoing war over the importance of social issues for GOP voters — as well as a window into why it will be hard for Republicans to nominate a candidate in 2012 with broad enough appeal to pose a legitimate challenge to President Obama.

Socially conservative voters, who have at times felt marginalized by the strong libertarian streak within the tea party movement, came out in force to the conference, and many of them implicitly criticized fiscally minded conservatives like Indiana governor and 2012 presidential hopeful Mitch Daniels (R):

Though no speaker mentioned him…Mitch Daniels is a source of this consternation. The next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues,” he told The Weekly Standard. Even so, the vast majority of the GOP — including Daniels himself, who is still pro-life and favors reinstating [the] “Mexico City Policy” — remains conservative on social issues.”

‘Green Bank’ Proposal Gaining Traction on the Hill

“Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, penned an op-ed in Politico today in which he called for passage of legislation setting up a so-called “green bank” that would finance the development of clean energy technology.

Provisions setting up the so-called Clean Energy Deployment Administration, or CEDA, were included in the broad energy legislation passed by Bingaman’s committee last summer. But, Bingaman acknowledged in the op-ed, it is highly unlikely that the bill can pass this year. Instead, Bingaman calls for passage of legislation establishing CEDA.

According to Bingaman:

This bipartisan proposal for a Clean Energy Deployment Administration was designed to accelerate the technology revolution we need. CEDA would help move a wide range of clean energy technologies from laboratory to marketplace, combining the technological expertise of the Department of Energy with a new, independently overseen cadre of business professionals who can craft the financial support that entrepreneurs need to negotiate the “valley of death” where new technologies languish for lack of investment support.

CEDA would have a broad mandate to identify, on a continuing basis, technologies with the best potential to deliver sustainable energy with the most efficient use of federal dollars.”

Global Spotlight on Helping World’s Poor

“UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a summit Monday with a plea to the assembled presidents, prime ministers and kings to use their power to meet U.N. goals to help the world’s poorest by 2015.”

Politicus: A New Shift in Candor on Immigrants

“The base line in Europe for what politicians say and do about immigration and the role of Islamic communities in their countries is moving.”

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