Battle for New Hampshire: Why Democrats Are Obsessing Over ‘Sullivan County’

Again, the stakes for tonight’s debate were high. According to a brand new WMUR/UNH poll released just before the curtains opened (showing Sen. Jeanne Shaheen statistically ahead), 25 percent of likely voters said they do not yet know who they will vote for. In a race this tight, that’s a huge plurality of voters to still be openly noncommittal. Any misstep, or gaffe, could tip the scales just enough to influence the outcome of the election.

And if you ask Democrats, there was one tonight. More on that later.

For what it’s worth, the rapid response section of the debate was utterly useless. The moderators actually asked the candidates what they thought about the Washington Redskins’ team mascot, and if our popular culture was too “politically correct.” Towards the end of the debate, however, sparks flew during the Obamacare kerfuffle. Brown relentlessly attacked Sen. Shaheen for voting for it. At the same time, he didn’t just explain why the bill was disastrous for New Hampshire; he called her out for never addressing or apologizing for lying to her constituents. This perhaps struck a chord. When she later tried to argue in her rebuttal that she had pledged to repeal the medical device tax, Brown reminded her that that very provision was in the original bill, which she voted for. She also had no real answer when Brown directly confronted her about the fact she votes with the president 99 percent of the time.

On the other hand, Shaheen was quick on her feet all night. Every time Brown accused her of something, she didn’t just deflect, she deflected and attacked his record. She certainly had the upper hand on some exchanges tonight. Also, unlike the last debate, she didn’t have any noticeable missteps or stumbles.

Brown, however, sort of did. For example, many spectators on Twitter were accusing him of not understanding the geography of New Hampshire. The clip below was, quite honestly, an awkward exchange. Brown was asked about Sullivan County in Western New Hampshire, and how he planned, as a US Senator, to improve the quality of life there. As he was responding, the moderator interrupted him:

Oof. In fairness to Brown, the clip cuts him off right before he's given a chance to respond; plus, this was totally a “gotcha” question. It is a well known fact that the "carpet bagger" charge is alive and well in New Hampshire, and therefore for one of the moderators to specifically ask about a random region of the state, and ask Brown to answer first, made it seem as if he was purposefully trying to trip him up. Was he?

Brown handled the question just fine. But I suspect that won't stop Democrats from screaming Scott Brown doesn’t understand New Hampshire’s geography!

I’ll leave you with this:

And this:

A new poll provided exclusively to the New Hampshire Journal today shows a continued tight U.S. Senate race in the Granite State, but with Republican Scott Brown ahead of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen by four percentage points.

The poll by the Republican pollster Vox Populi Polling has Brown up 49 to 45 percent, with 6 percent undecided. When “leaners” are excluded, Brown leads, 42 to 36 percent.

UPDATE: From tonight's moderator:

Kansas Republicans Take Strong Lead in Early Voting

It was a sad day last night in Kansas when the Kansas City Royals lost the World Series in Game 7. Today, the GOP in "The Sunflower State" have something to celebrate as early voting results show positive turnout from Republicans. 

Of the 153,436 early votes cast so far this election 82,739 or 54% were cast by Republicans. In comparison only 47,468, or 31% were cast by Democrats. The remaining votes were cast by unaffiliated or libertarian voters.

The blood red state of Kansas has the Republican incumbents for governor and U.S. Senate trailing in the polls. Governor Sam Brownback and Senator Pat Roberts have been in the spotlight of one of the most competitive races this season. 

Read more from Townhall on how Kansas has the GOP scrambling here.

Clay Barker, Kansas Republican Party Executive Director said this in an email:

"Early voting is turning out as our voter data models predicted and is consistent with early voting patterns in 2010 and 2012. Republican voters are building a substantial lead over Democrats that is increasing with each passing day. There were no October surprises."

Unlike the Royals, Kansas Republicans think they can pull it off in their own Game 7 this Tuesday. Momentum is building as big names stump for Senator Roberts including Senator Mike Lee (R-AZ) who made a speech at a rally in Topeka, Kansas, and former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who was in Overland Park, Kansas, earlier this week. 

Gardner Responds to Ludicrous NARAL Attack Ad

In case you missed it, NARAL aired an attack against Colorado GOP Senate hopeful Cory Gardner this week with the pressing question: ‘why are the condoms always gone?

As ridiculous as it sounds, this futuristic scenario supposedly reveals what life might be like for Coloradans under Gardner’s leadership. Here is an excerpt (listen to the entire ad here):

“Cory Gardner banned birth control, and now, it’s all on us guys. And you can’t find a condom anywhere. And the pill was just the start…”

Not only does Gardner cause a shortage of condoms, according to the ad, he also kills Pell Grants and ignores the threat of climate change. This type of argument is known by critical thinkers as a ‘slippery slope,’ and it is, in fact, a logical fallacy.

In a radio interview yesterday with our own Guy Benson, Gardner explained that the groups promoting these ads aren’t expecting their audience to be critical thinkers:

“These are the same people who, during the healthcare roll-out, tried to portray young people across the United States as interested in nothing more than doing keg stands.

And again, I think it minimizes the intelligence, and the work ethic of people across this country. Young voters, millennials, are people who are interested in far more than what this extreme group would like them to be interested in.”

Gardner is referring, of course, to the demeaning ‘Brosurance’ ads which began circulating in Colorado in 2013.

 photo brosurance_zpse1b02bed.png

Millennials care about more than just drinking, sex, and dodging responsibility.

Perhaps the Democratic party’s misunderstanding of this important fact is what is driving young voters away from their party this election cycle. According to a recent Harvard poll, 51 percent of millennials plan on voting for Republicans

Also, just to set the record straight, Rep. Cory Gardner said the idea of banning birth control is 'simply outrageous.'

Report: Dozens of Former Gitmo Detainees Now Fighting With ISIS

Of course they are. The Guantanamo recidivism problem has been very real for years at this point, with at least one former Gitmo guest reportedly participating in the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks.  We also know that of the 'Taliban Five' the Obama White House horse-traded for an alleged deserter, at least one has already made his intentions to rejoin the jihad explicitly clear.  Some of the detainees released over the last two administrations genuinely posed little threat, and had been caught up at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Many others, however, were dangerous Islamist radicals.  It stands to reason, then, that a number of them would inevitably link up with the ISIS death squads.  As you read this, keep in mind that these figures are limited to ISIS' Syrian fighting force alone:

As many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees -- some of whom were released within the last three years -- are suspected by intelligence and Defense officials of having joined forces with the Islamic State and other militant groups inside Syria, Fox News has learned. The development has cemented fears that the U.S. military would once again encounter militants taken off the battlefield. The intelligence offers a mixed picture, and officials say the figures are not exact. But they are certain at least some of the released detainees are fighting with the Islamic State, or ISIS, on the ground inside Syria. Others are believed to be supporting Al Qaeda or the affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria. A number of former detainees also have chosen to help these groups from outside the country, financing operations and supporting their propaganda campaigns...Of the 620 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, 180 have returned or are suspected to have returned to the battlefield.

Those who remain at Gitmo are the worst of the worst, which is likely one of the reasons why Congress has repeatedly blocked funding to close the facility and move the detainees onto US soil -- a move overwhelmingly opposed by the American people.  The Obama administration, naturally, is working on a scheme to bypass Congress and shutter the place anyway:

The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said. Such a move would be the latest and potentially most dramatic use of executive power by the president in his second term. It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers, who have repeatedly barred the transfer of detainees to the U.S...The discussions underscore the president’s determination to follow through on an early campaign promise before he leaves the White House, officials said, despite the formidable domestic and international obstacles in the way. Administration officials say Mr. Obama strongly prefers a legislative solution over going around Congress. At the same time, a senior administration official said Mr. Obama is “unwavering in his commitment” to closing the prison—which currently has 149 inmates detained in connection with the nation’s post-9/11 war on terrorism—and wants to have all potential options available on an issue he sees as part of his legacy.

His preference is to follow the law, you see.  But he'll do whatever it takes to get his way.  Here's Sen. Kelly Ayotte calling on Obama to suspend all Gitmo detainees, in light of the ISIS revelation.  I'm sure he'll get right on that.  Be sure to read Allahpundit's post on this, especially the bit about two Al Qaeda leaders we targeted early in our anti-ISIS air campaign in Syria.  US intelligence now believes both escaped, and may be "actively plotting" attacks.  I'll leave you with a few clips on what ISIS has been up to lately, now that the American public's attention has wandered elsewhere:


Citizens, Sheriffs Up Against Billionaires in Fight for Gun Rights in Washington State

In less than one week, voters in Washington state will decide on two competing gun measures: I-594, the Washington Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases Initiative, and I-591, the Washington Gun Rights Measure.

Via National Journal

[I-594] would mandate background checks as a condition of most gun purchases and transfers in the state (with exceptions for weapon transfers within families and purchases involving antique guns). Its main goal is "closing the gun-show loophole," says Geoff Potter, communications director for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the group spearheading the effort. 

Via Townhall columnist Rachel Alexander:

Washington’s Second Amendment Foundation came up with I-591, the Washington Gun Rights Measure, a pro-gun rights initiative on the ballot. [...] I-591 would prohibit the government from confiscating guns or firearms from citizens without due process, protecting against illegal search and seizure, something that happened after Hurricane Katrina. It would also prevent the government from requiring background checks, in order to prevent the creation of a universal gun registry - unless a uniform national standard is required. 

While supporters of I-594 have successfully made the initiative sound innocuous enough, the reality is far from it. The 18-page measure is just the “latest and most comprehensive attempt to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners in the Evergreen State,” according to the NRA. “Initiative 594 is in reality a universal handgun registration scheme. Under I-594, every time a handgun is transferred, the person receiving the handgun will have their name added to the government database being maintained by the state Department of Licensing.”

It comes as no surprise, then, that the campaign has been bankrolled by a handful of ultra-rich gun control advocates, including Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Paul Allen, Nick Hanauer, and, you guessed it, Michael Bloomberg. I-594’s war chest has now surpassed the $10 million mark, compared to I-591’s $1.3 million. To say that the gun rights measure has been outspent would be an understatement.

Not content with the cash advantage, supporters of the gun control measure have resorted to stealing I-591 signs and sarcastically posted on Facebook that “We need more school shootings!!!” just hours after the school shooting in Marysville last week. And now, after sheriffs have backed I-591 and publicly opposed I-594—a serious blow to those behind the effort—I-594 supporters are reportedly pushing emails and robo-calls attacking them, and are urging their supporters to contact them as well.

I-594 won’t make Washington residents safer, it won’t stop criminals or the mentally-ill from obtaining firearms, and it won’t be a good use of the law enforcement community’s time and limited resources. What it will do, however, is erode Second Amendment rights, waste law enforcement resources, and turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. 

The fight over gun rights may be in Washington state this election, but don’t think for a second that if it’s successful a similar measure won’t make its way on your state’s ballot in 2016 and beyond.

Taxpayers Funded Housing For Illegal Unaccompanied Minors Complete With Petting Farm, Guitar Lessons, Organic Vegetables

When a wave of unaccompanied illegal minors came across the U.S. southern border with Mexico over the summer, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell argued in front of Congress that her Department needed more taxpayer funding to handle the crisis due to a lack of beds and "sufficient resources to add beds" to existing government shelter facilities.  

But according to a federal HHS grant detailed in a letter sent to Burwell from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley Thursday, an enormous amount of taxpayer money was used to house a number of unaccompanied illegal minors at  a California resort that included guitar lessons, a petting farm, sunset views and many other amenities.

"On August 22, 2014, I wrote to your Department regarding concerns related to a Texas-based non-profit; Southwest Key Programs. Southwest Key has been the recipient of $368 million in government grants in the past six years and over $122 million alone from the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement in 2014," Grassley wrote. "The documents provided in response to my letter raise serious concerns regarding the Department and Southwest Key’s stewardship of taxpayer dollars. For example, on April 23, 2014, Southwest Key proposed to charge the government a “daily rate” of $316 to house unaccompanied alien children in a facility in El Cajon, California. There is no further detail as to whether this request was accepted. However, according to documents, HHS did approve a grant for Southwest Key to fund the El Cajon facility."

According to the information provided by Grassley, it can cost taxpayers up to $1000 per day to house each individual unaccompanied minor at these kinds of facilities. The El Cajon facility used by HHS included the following amenities:

“An organic orchard of orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees. As well as an Organic (sic) garden that supplements our kitchen with a wide variety of organic vegetables throughout the year. We have a small petting farm with ducks, chickens, and miniature ponies. We have also established an Acuaponics system where we are cultivating over 1000 Tilapia.”

Burwell has been asked to answer a series of questions about the use of taxpayer money for these purposes, especially after making claims Health and Human Services is underfunded.

"It is disturbing that HHS is funding such expensive facilities despite claiming to be unable to meet basic needs for UACs," Grassley wrote.

Walker Opponent: I Was Downsized, Not 'Fired,' From My Own Family's Company

In my Hot Air item on Marquette Law School's favorable final poll for Scott Walker yesterday (summarized by Conn here), I touched briefly upon a story alleging that Democrat Mary Burke had been fired from her family's bicycle company in the 1990's.  Matt visited the brewing controversy in a post last evening. Burke has touted her business acumen and 'job creation' experience at Trek as a centerpiece of her gubernatorial campaign.  I expressed some degree of skepticism over the Wisconsin Reporter's scoop, as the top named source in the piece is a Republican county chairman, and other quotes were mined from anonymous sources.  Burke initially denied the allegations outright, calling them "ridiculous" and "completely false."  But upon further review, there seems to be more 'there there' than she's let on:

Uh oh.  That former president and CEO, incidentally, is a separate (named) source from the aforementioned local GOP operative.  Two former executives are now on the record. Here's the latter's account:

In 1993, Tom Albers learned about big problems with Trek Bicycle Corporation’s European division.  Sales numbers were down, and employees were in a near mutiny against the young woman Trek founder Richard Burke had put in charge. Albers, Trek’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, served as Burke’s second-in-command and suddenly had to navigate a very difficult situation. The head of Trek’s European division was his boss’ daughter, Mary... “Her performance in Europe was not good,” he says.  “We were losing a lot of money for us at the time.  I don’t remember the amount, but it was considered significant based on where we were [as a company] at that particular point in time.”  “And also, we were encountering personnel/people problems over there.  The people were threatening to leave the company.  Many of them were.” Primarily, Albers contends, because of the managerial style of their supervisor, Mary Burke. “Her way of managing was kind of a ‘her way or the highway’ kind of approach to things,” Albers explains...

“So because of all that—which had gone on for a while, obviously—John Burke went to his father basically saying, ‘We need to make a change over here.’  Obviously, being a family situation, this was extremely sensitive and very difficult to pursue.  So Dick Burke came to me and said, ‘Before anything is done here, would you go over there and give me your thoughts on what the situation is like?’” Albers flew to Trek’s European headquarters and quickly discovered that John Burke wasn’t exaggerating. “I pretty much came back with the same conclusions that John Burke had made; and that was that we had major people problems over there and were in a situation where we could lose a lot of people.  We were losing a lot of money and I couldn’t see where Mary Burke was going to turn this thing around.” Albers reported his findings to Richard Burke, who listened intently and then, Albers says, acted decisively. “The family—and by that I mean Dick and John Burke—finally agreed to bring her back.  And so, to say it bluntly, she was fired.”

And there's your money quote. Albers says he left Trek on good terms, with the "utmost respect" for the Burke family, but that their relationship turned "frosty" after he accepted an offer from a competitor.  He's donated $50 to Scott Walker's campaign, but insists his decision to speak out isn't politically-motivated:

I had made the decision a couple of months ago that I would not come forward on my own with information about Mary Burke,” he explains.  “The only thing that’s brought this to a head is the article [in The Wisconsin Reporter] in which [former Trek executive] Gary Ellerman threw my name out there as someone who had conducted a review of Mary Burke’s performance in Europe...I decided that instead of saying ‘no comment,’ I wasn’t going to lie.  I would tell the truth.” Albers says that Ellerman’s account is truthful, and it has been corroborated in the Wisconsin Reporter by a number of other Trek sources.

Burke's family disputes all of this as "character assassination," praising her leadership at Trek.  The mainstream media, playing frantic catch-up on a story they evidently didn't bother to investigate for months -- even as Burke routinely cited her Trek experience as a raison d'etre of her campaign -- is finally asking questions.  Burke has shifted from categorical denials to a slightly different explanation: "We decided to restructure and there was no need for my position and two of the people reporting to me could directly report to people in the United States," she told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  She wasn't "fired;" she was downsized in a "restructuring."  Hmm.  Two additional nuggets from the Journal-Sentinel story:

She left the company in June 1993, taking a two-year break to snowboard, travel and work for a bicycle trade group. John Burke said he asked his sister to return to Trek in 1995...Mary Burke also served as commerce secretary under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle from 2005 to 2007. Her [Democratic] predecessor in that role, Cory Nettles, has said that Burke's no-nonsense style upset some in the business community. "She was very, very tough," Nettles said recently. "People take umbrage at that." In a September 2006 email that first surfaced two weeks ago, Nettles expressed a far harsher opinion of Burke. "She's a disaster," Nettles wrote at the time to another political appointee who was still working under Burke at the state Department of Commerce.

Is partisan Democrat Cory Nettles party to the "smear" conspiracy, as well?  If you read through the whole piece, Burke's staunchest defender against all of these charges is, um, her brother.  The Wisconsin GOP has released this video round-up of news coverage surrounding the 'October surprise'-style bombshell:

"We reorganized and eliminated the position that I had."

Multiple former executives at Trek Bicycle now say Burke was forced out of her position by her own family as a consequence of her terrible management, and a fellow member of a Democratic administration referred to her leadership as "a disaster" in a contemporaneous assessment.  And now she wants to be governor.  Even as GOP-aligned pollsters are privately warning that Marquette's Walker +7 projection is more bullish than their internal findings, this can't be the front page coverage Team Burke was hoping to see five days out from the election:

Editor's note: A version of this item is cross-posted at

For North Carolina Voters, It's A Choice Between The 'Sins Of Raleigh' Or Washington

The latest Elon University poll shows what most have been saying about the U.S. Senate Race in North Carolina; it’s very close. Nonetheless, Elon found that 44.7 percent of voters are breaking for Sen. Kay Hagan, while 40.7 percent are going for Tillis. The sample size consisted of 1084 residents of which 996 were registered to vote. Out of 996, 687 identified themselves as likely voters. There was a D+5 skew in the sample for those who identified their political affiliation.

Additionally, it's the same story with Obama, the state legislature, and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory; no one really thinks they’re doing a good job. It also suggests that despite millions of dollars being poured into the state, the needle hasn’t moved all that much. Then again, the latest Marist poll shows Tillis has closed his 4-point deficit he had with Hagan in the polls.

Lastly, Roll Call’s Stuart Rothenberg, who labeled this race as leaning towards the Democrats, said this race is a pure toss up:

Voters in the Tar Heel State don’t seem to like Hagan or GOP challenger Thom Tillis, but one of them will win on Nov. 4. Hagan’s lead seems to have all but vanished, and Republicans who a month or two ago were quite pessimistic about the race have grown cautiously optimistic. This race now looks too close to call.

As a result, both sides have prominent national figures heading down to stump for them. Bill Clinton will be in Raleigh tomorrow, while Gov. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Sen. John McCain have campaigned for Tillis.

Both sides have a healthy-and almost equal–amount of support amongst their respective bases. It’s whether who can maximize turnout that will decide the victor next week. Also, which narrative resonated more; the “sins of Raleigh” or the fiasco in Washington (via RCP):

Republicans have even used Hagan’s own words from 2008 against her in 2014. An ad sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee features a clip of Hagan campaigning against Dole: “Voting 92 percent of the time with the president, whether you support him or not, doesn't work here in North Carolina.”

But nearly each time these charges are lobbed at Hagan, she punches back with an attack on Tillis’ record in the state legislature, particularly the recent budget that resulted in cuts to education funding and teacher layoffs.

For his part, Tillis welcomes the legislature vs. Obama/Democrats paradigm. “If the senator is referring to historic tax cuts, historic reductions on unemployment, historic reductions on burdensome regulations, the things that I’ve done as speaker of the House, I agree -- that’s exactly what we’re running on,” he told RCP.

Tillis argued that the state’s education budget has increased since 2011, and pointed to fact-checkers as validation. (Politifact rated Hagan’s claim that he cut $500 million in education half-true.)

In these final days, the emphasis is on the ground game. Democrats credit the president’s campaign organization for having a built the infrastructure to locate and activate volunteers. But the party notes that it has expanded beyond that over the past two years, with 40 offices across the state and a volunteer base of over 10,000 people. Democratic operatives here say they have seen increases in early voting. “It’s an incredibly high-stakes election for North Carolina because there could not be a clearer contrast between the two candidates,” says Ben Ray, a spokesman for the coordinated effort. “Voters are confronted with a values statement.”

Making that values statement is a pricey undertaking. This contest could become the most expensive in Senate race in history, with the two sides spending an estimated $100 million combined. Not surprisingly, voters here are exhausted by wall-to-wall campaign ads, most of them negative.

Americans for Prosperity’s North Carolina chapter has also been aggressive in GOTV efforts. Their deputy state director, Donald Bryson, said that the race will come down to this question: “When you sit down and think about it and try to figure it out, are the good policies that are affecting my life coming out of D.C. or are they coming out of [the] state house in Raleigh?”

Also, immigration groups have fired off shots inside the ship, criticizing Hagan for her stances on immigration; she called on Obama to avoid halting deportations this past summer via executive order and was one of five Democrats who joined Republicans voting to kill the DREAM ACT’s advance in the Senate back in 2010. If immigration becomes an issue in the waning days of the 2014 cycle, it will surely play into Republican hands, as it’s a topic that hasn’t played well with Democrats.

Regardless, this is shaping up to be a very exciting election night.

On a final note, I’ll leave you with this video from James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas showing North Carolina campaign workers doing nothing to stop a non-citizen from voting in next week’s elections. It dovetails off a Washington Post article that discussed the possible impact of non-citizens voting in American elections.

I’m not saying voter fraud will occur, but it’s something to ponder–even if Think Progress doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal.

ARG Poll: Brown: 49; Shaheen: 49

Serious question: Is there a closer Senate contest in the country than the one in New Hampshire?

Bear with me for a second. There have been three separate polls published in recent days. New England College gave Brown the edge (48/47); CNN/Opinion Research did not (49/47); and now, of course, the ARG survey has the race all tied up:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The race is so close that Brown and Shaheen are essentially splitting the vote among every single demographic: 18 to 44-year olds (50/49), 45-year olds and older (48/48), and independents (47/51). To make matters even more complicated, the gender gap is evenly split (Brown has an 11 point advantage among men, Shaheen an 11 point advantage among women) and both candidates are showing strong support among the party faithful.

Tellingly, however, 51 percent of respondents believe Shaheen will ultimately win; 41 percent disagree and claim Brown will. The safe bet, then, is supposedly on the Democrat.

But this race hasn't broke either way yet -- although it could tonight. After all, tonight is the third and final debate between the candidates this month. And while the moderator is probably the worst choice ever, it is what it is.

Republicans are used to "impartial" moderators. And so is Brown.

UPDATE: Oh my. This just dropped this evening:

A new poll shows that U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is maintaining a lead over Republican challenger Scott Brown.

The WMUR Granite State Poll shows Shaheen leading Brown 50-42 percent among likely voters. That's a 2-point increase over earlier this month, but the difference is still within the poll's margin of error.

Final WBUR Poll: MA Gov Race = Dead Heat

Fresh off two big debates this past week that turned some heads, WBUR’s last tracking survey of the cycle has the candidates neck-and-neck. Baker is earning 43 percent of the vote; his opponent 42 percent.

But check out this graph:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

At first blush, one would assume Baker is finished. The poll shows him down by double digits in the city of Boston -- a deficit of 24 percentage points. But in fact he’s actually slightly ahead, in part because Coakley hasn't locked up the Democratic base as winning progressive candidates for governor have done in the past. Also interesting, as the pollsters note, in 2002 Mitt Romney lost Beantown two points shy of 30 percentage points (see above). So if, according to this offering, Baker is only expected to lose urban voters by 24 points, he's in good shape.

The following is also good news for Baker supporters.

“As we reported in a previous post on Poll Vault, Coakley needs to turn the gender gap into 'a gender gulf' to win,” the pollsters explained in their analysis of the survey. “In the last few weeks, she’s done the opposite. The WBUR surveys shows Coakley’s support with women is deteriorating. Six weeks ago, she led Baker by 20 points; now, her lead has shrunk to 9 in this group."

A nine point advantage is hardly “a gender gulf”; Coakley's not even leading by double digits anymore.

Finally, and for what it’s worth, there was a much-talked-about moment during Tuesday evening's debate. Baker actually broke down in tears as he described the plight of a fisherman in New Bedford who stopped his children from accepting football scholarships to follow his own, near moribund, career path:

Emotional stuff. And yet, the Boston Globe reports that the conversation between Baker and the fisherman in question happened roughly five years ago, not recently. Nevertheless, Baker fired back yesterday, brushing off criticisms that his tears were disingenuous or that he made up the anecdote:

Eight percent of respondents are still undecided. This race could go either way.

Begich More Inclined to Align Himself With Republican Senator Than Obama

It’s kind of like “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” In that classic chick flick, Julia Roberts is chasing after Dermot Mulroney, and Dermot Mulroney is chasing after Cameron Diaz. No one is chasing after Roberts. Well, swap out Roberts for President Obama, Mulroney for Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and Diaz for Senator Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK) and you’ve got the 2014 Senate race in Alaska.

Earlier this month, Obama said that, like it or not, his policies are ‘on the ballot’ this November. However, vulnerable Democrats are outright ignoring him.

In the Last Frontier’s tight campaign, incumbent Senator Mark Begich is doing his darnedest to distance himself from President Obama, perhaps not surprising considering only a third of Alaskans give him a positive approval rating. First, Begich said the president’s ‘not relevant’ in this election, and now he’s refusing to even name him by name.

The LA Times reported on Begich's diss:

The simple question is at the top of many minds this grumpy election season, even among the 1,000 or so high school students gathered for a televised debate: "How will you work to reach across partisan lines to accomplish real goals?"

Incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat in a tight race, started his answer by shoving his party's president gently under the campaign bus, talking about the need to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, anathema to the Obama administration.

One person Begich isn’t shying away from, is Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. Begich has used Murkowski in his campaign ads, touting their bipartisan partnership:

"Lisa Murkowski and I, Republican and Democrat, this last year voted 80% together," Begich boasted, a claim he makes at campaign stops from Barrow to Ketchikan. "No other senators in a split delegation in the country have that kind of voting record."

Murkowski, however, was unimpressed with the ad, asking Begich to remove her picture, considering she has already endorsed his GOP opponent Dan Sullivan. Begich doubled down with a ridiculous argument that she simply ‘didn’t like the photo’ they used.

This sticky situation doesn’t only prove Begich needs to work on his manners, it also highlights the fact that Begich is more interested in touting his relationship with a Republican senator than with the president.


Other vulnerable Democrats are trying to convince voters they’re not so chummy with the president as their records might suggest. Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Ky.) wouldn’t admit she voted for him, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) couldn’t say whether or not he was a good leader, and my personal favorite, when Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) claimed the White House would be frightened to see him walking across the lawn. In other words, by keeping the president at bay, Begich is in good company.

One of the most iconic scenes in "My Best Friend's Wedding" is when the whole cast joins in a rendition of Aretha Franklin's "I Say a Little Prayer." The way this election is shaping up, it seems like Democrats might need to join in the chorus.

CBS Poll: Obama Approval 39 Percent, GOP Up Big on Congressional Ballot

The final pre-election poll from CBS News bears good news for Republicans. We'll get to the data in a moment; first, let's revisit something we mentioned earlier in the week in reporting the WaPo/ABC News poll, which gave Republicans a sizable lead. Pollster' final generic ballot numbers have bounced all over the place.  The NBC/WSJ poll showed the GOP ahead by a whopping 11 points.  Then both CNN and Fox News gave Democrats a one-point edge, causing liberals to briefly cease whining about Fox News.  WaPo/ABC News measured a six-point Republican lead, and now this from CBS News:

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Republicans hit 50 and lead by eight percentage points when so-called 'leaners' are included.  In addition to a 13-point enthusiasm advantage over Democrats, the GOP enjoys leads among registered voters on a host of key issues -- meaning that these gaps are larger with likely voters:

The eight-point Congressional ballot margin for Republicans is wider than CBS News' last pre-election survey in 2010, which seems newsworthy, yet CBS News doesn't seem very excited about reporting their own results. As you note this headline juxtaposition, remember that 2006 was a similar midterm environment to this year, just with the roles reversed:

Why, it's almost as if the straight-down-the-middle truth seekers at CBS News are feeling a bit mopey over Republicans polling well.  Speaking of which a new Quinnipiac poll out of Colorado shows Cory Gardner in the lead by seven points, with incumbent Mark Udall stuck at 39 percent.  The survey result precisely mirrors a Suffolk/USA Today poll of the race released last week.  In an interview with me on last night's Hugh Hewitt Show, Gardner derided the Left's ludicrous attacks against him as "obnoxious" (quoting the Denver Post  editorial endorsing him), and said his team "feels good" about their position and ground game heading down the final stretch.  Meanwhile, Tom Cotton has opened up a massive 13-point lead on incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor among Arkansas' likeliest voters, according to a University of Arkansas survey.  Cotton also leads fairly comfortably among all adults.  If these data points even remotely reflect reality, Pryor is toast.  Democrats got some good news in North Carolina, where an Elon poll shows Kay Hagan maintaining a four-point lead on Thom Tillis, unchanged from the previous result in the series.  I'll leave you with a positive sign in Iowa:

Turnout, turnout, turnout.

Sen. King: Haha Just Kidding Guys, I Now Support Mike Michaud For Governor

Yesterday evening Sen. Angus King (I-ME) switched things up and endorsed Rep. Mike Michaud (D) for Governor of Maine, despite having endorsed independent candidate Eliot Cutler earlier this year. Cutler was also endorsed by the major newspaper the Bangor Daily News, who called him the best man for the job despite the two-party system.

The switch came after Cutler hosted a downright weird press conference where he didn't drop out of the race, but he essentially told his supporters that it's perfectly fine to vote for someone else. Cutler has been at a distant third in most polls.

Maine's other senator, Olympia Snowe (R) endorsed incumbent Paul LePage (R).

Eric Holder Regrets Not Using Better Language to Target Fox News' James Rosen

Attorney General Eric Holder officially submitted his resignation to President Obama last month after six years at the Department of Justice. Although a replacement for Holder will not be nominated until after the 2014 midterm elections, the attorney general is opening up about his worst decision during his tenure.  I can't imagine it was easy for him to choose only one. 

Speaking yesterday at a forum held in Washington D.C., Holder said he should have taken a "closer look at the language" used in subpoena naming Fox News' James Rosen as a criminal co-conspirator. 

Asked what decision he wishes he could do over, Holder said: "I think about the subpoena to the Fox reporter, Rosen."

Holder was referring to a 2010 search warrant application seeking Rosen's emails. The Justice Department at the time was investigating who leaked information contained in a series of reports by Rosen in 2009 about North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

In the course of seeking Rosen's emails, an FBI agent submitted an affidavit claiming there was evidence that Rosen broke the law, "at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator." The affidavit went so far as to invoke the Espionage Act -- pertaining to the unauthorized gathering and transmitting of defense information.

On Wednesday, Holder said that application could have been done "differently" and "better."

"I think that I could have been a little more careful looking at the language that was contained in the filing that we made with the court -- that he was labeled as a co-conspirator," Holder said, while claiming they did that "as a result of the statute."

Holder doesn't seem to actually regret targeting Rosen, but instead regrets the kind of language that was used in his case. Notice how he doesn't mention anything about the importance of non-interference from government in the work of journalists. In his statement Holder justifies the action and says it was necessary under a statute, while at the same attempts to portray that the way things happened "could have been done differently." 

As a reminder, the Department of Justice didn't simply monitor the phone calls and emails of Rosen, but monitored the phone lines running to his parent's house and tracked his movements.

When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.

They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.
UPDATE: James Rosen has issued a statement in response to Holder's comments.
Throughout this ordeal for my family and me, I have tried to keep my head down and continue covering – and breaking – the news. I consider myself blessed to have an employer in Fox News, and a boss in Roger Ailes, who have stood by me and enabled me to remain focused on what matters most to me in professional terms: first-rate journalism. At some later point, I may have more to say about this entire controversy, which – as commentators from across the ideological spectrum have noted – does indeed raise serious concerns about the state of press freedoms under the present administration. Suffice to say for now that the attorney general’s latest comments about my case, like his previous remarks, scarcely address the relevant facts of his conduct.

U.S. Special Operations Vets Launch Crowdfunding Campaign to Help Kurds Fight Against ISIS 'Genocidal Caliphate'

A group of former U.S. Special Operations Veterans have launched a crowdfunding campaign, Operation Limitless Compassion, to help the Kurds fight off ISIS terrorists in Iraq. Castle International, a world-wide air ambulance company founded and operated by former special operations volunteers, is leading the way to provide pro-U.S. Kurdish fighters with desperately needed humanitarian aid, medical training, medical supplies, and combat training. Recon teams from Castle International have already deployed to northern Iraq to offer direct assistance to Kurdish fighters and more will head to the region in November. Castle International has launched two crowdfunding sites to gather donations, GoFundMe and, with a goal of raising $100,000 for the operation.

"Castle International LLC Special Projects Group (SPG) is spearheading a volunteer humanitarian effort to assist the peoples of Kurdistan. The volunteer group is made up of former British and American Special Operations Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are passionate about serving oppressed people around the world. The current level of assistance to the Kurdish peoples from the west is woefully inadequate. Assistance that is currently provided only serves to stem the tide of ISIS's gains that they have achieved during their steam roller advance across Syria and Iraq to reestablish a genocidal Caliphate," Castle International COO and former Army Ranger Jesse Johnson, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in a statement. "The volunteers of SPG feel like they can no longer sit idly by while the enemies of free societies try to eradicate us. The situation is simply unacceptable to anyone who calls themselves a supporter of human rights and freedom. Utilizing our unique medical and Special Operations backgrounds we can take action to create positive results that protect our way of life."

"Kurdish fighters are known for their élan and willingness to close the distance with the enemy but they lack the basic individual soldier skills to increase their lethality as well as their own survivability. Castle International LLC SPG will provide the foundation of skills that will ensure the defeat of militant Islam and the reestablishment of the Caliphate by empowering the only people in the region who are willing to fight for what they believe in," Johnson further states. "The Castle International LLC SPG mission to Northern Iraq will focus on caring for Kurdish Fighters Wounded in Action (WIA) on the frontlines, training individual fighters in the facets of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) to increase their own survivability and lastly create sustainable logistical lines to provide Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) to the Kurdish fighters. Castle International LLC SPG will be running the project from donations through two crowd funding sites. Donations will go towards equipment, travel, and logistical support for the mission."

Castle International was recently featured by local Phoenix television news station ABC 15 where Johnson discussed the project. The group has also sent veterans to help with the Ebola crisis in West Africa. 

Soon their skills will also be headed to Iraq as the company volunteers to provide humanitarian aid and training for the Kurdish people.

“Train, equip and advise these guys to go in and them survive against ISIS,” said Castle’s COO Jesse.

Several people are already doing reconnaissance in the region with plans to send an entire team over next month.

“We are those people that can go make that positive impact,” Jesse said. “So instead of sitting on a bar stool and saying ‘I wish someone would do something about it,’ we're going to get it done.”

If you want to donate to Operation Limitless Compassion, you can do so here and here.

Brewing in GA: Perdue Leads in Latest Polls

The race for the Georgia U.S. Senate seat is one of the closest in the country. Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue are expected to each procure less than 50 percent of the vote, forcing the candidates into a run-off in January. That being said, two of the latest polls reveal a bright forecast for GOP supporters.

According to a SurveyUSA poll, Perdue leads Nunn by three points. This comes as a direct reversal from last week’s results, which showed Nunn up by two. Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford is skimming just enough votes (3 percent) to keep either mainstream candidate from securing a majority vote.

An additional poll conducted by Monmouth University (which sampled only 436 likely voters) has Perdue leading by a whopping 8 points.

It also claimed Georgian voters would “prefer to see the Republicans (45%) rather than the Democrats (33%) in control of the U.S. Senate, while 21% say party control makes no difference to them.”

Perdue has been accusing Nunn of being a "rubber stamp" for the Obama Administration, something that doesn't sit well with the 56 percent of Georgians who disapprove of the president's work. 

Oh Geez: Mary Burke's Family Reportedly Terminated Her For 'Incompetence'

Family businesses can be tough. They can be incredibly rewarding, but disagreements have a way of creating very tense–and sometimes awkward–family gatherings. In Wisconsin, Democrat Mary Burke is trying to get enough votes to hand incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker a pink slip come Election Day. Burke is trying to run as a moderate, business oriented Democrat that will work in a bipartisan way to get Wisconsin back on track. Politico did an interesting profile on her this past August:

The 55-year-old Burke could hardly be more different than Walker. She’s a Harvard-educated multimillionaire who rarely goes to church; he’s a middle-class son of a preacher who is just now trying to complete his college degree. She’s spent her career in the family business and philanthropy; he’s been in government for two decades. She’s spent much of her campaign trying to win over progressives wary of her background in finance; he became a conservative icon after beating back the unions in an epic clash two years ago.

“I knew I probably didn’t fit the typical mold,” Burke said during an interview, as her campaign bus rolled from a hops farm in Mazomanie to a brewery in Potosi. “While I have the business background, I really — how should I say this? — I prefer the work in the public sector.”

Burke is pitching herself as a nonideological antidote to the rancor and polarization of the Walker years. She introduces herself as “a fiscal conservative” and promises to work with the Republican-controlled Legislature. Though she talks around it on the trail, she would not, for instance, work to fully repeal the union-weakening law that has defined Walker’s tenure.

Burke’s bet is twofold: First, that liberals despise Walker enough to mobilize for her in spite of her pro-business profile. Second, that her corporate bona fides will attract a critical mass of moderates worried about Wisconsin’s lagging economy.

There’s only one problem: her own family reportedly fired her for incompetence.

Burke’s family co-founded the Trek Bicycle Corporation, with Mary becoming their director for European Operations. Let’s just say it was sort of a disaster. She was called “Attila the Hun” and a “pit bull on crack” (via Watchdog):

It wasn’t a pretty picture. The European operations were in disarray, [Gary] Ellerman[ Trek’s human resources for 21 years] said.

Full disclosure: Ellerman is chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party. As to the possibility that his accounts are politically colored, Ellerman said, “I was there. This is what went down.”

A former employee with the company told Wisconsin Reporter that John Burke, Mary’s brother and current Trek president, had to let his sister go.

In her campaign against Republican incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, Mary Burke has bragged that European sales climbed to $50 million on her watch. She originally said the increase was closer to $60 million in a 2004 resume to officials in Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration, the Democrat who in 2005 tapped Burke to be his secretary of the now-defunct state Commerce Department.

Ellerman and the other employees tell Wisconsin Reporter that Burke’s sales boasts are lies, that the European division did significantly lower numbers — at least $10 million lower — during her tenure as director. Most of the sales increases, they said, were in Trek’s United Kingdom market, which was well established before Burke arrived, and in the Japan operations, which Burke had nothing to do with. Any growth in sales was well offset by the losses sustained in Germany and other European countries, according to the former executives.

Trek is a privately held company and does not disclose its sales or earnings figures. Mary Burke, too, has refused to provide documentation of the numbers.

When asked to apologize to staff before her departure from the company in 1993, Mary Burke struggled and stammered through the apology much as she appears to do in a video clip of the gubernatorial candidate trying to define the word “plagiarism,” according to one former Trek employee. The Democrat has been dogged throughout her campaign by revelations she lifted large sections of her policy plans from other sources.

Yes, Ellerman is a Republican operative and unnamed sources could lead to disaster when it comes to getting a story straight, but as Guy wrote over at Hot Air, “given how unfairly Walker’s been treated by the local and national media throughout this campaign, I guess Burke is due for some negative press of possibly dubious provenance.”

It is just food for thought.

In other news, Walker is surging, up 7 points over Burke 50/43 in the latest Marquette Law School poll. It was taken out of a sample of 1,164 likely voters. With women voters, the poll found Walker competing nicely with Burke, only trailing by 6 points 49/43. Independent voters are splitting overwhelmingly for Walker 52/37 over Burke–and more Walker supporters say they will vote next week than Burke’s.

Sounds like he’s in good shape.

VIDEO: Wife of Cuomo’s GOP Opponent Skewers the Governor for Suggesting Her Husband Wants Guns in Classrooms

When New York's Democratic Committee, led by Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), released an ad suggesting that his GOP challenger Rob Astorino wanted guns in classrooms, Mrs. Astorino had had enough.

In a new online video, Sheila Astorino skewers Cuomo for the misleading attacks on her husband:

“You’ve really gone too far for this mom and schoolteacher. Telling people my husband wants guns in classrooms. Guns in classrooms? You can’t be serious,” she says. “You used an extra curriculum rifle-safety program in a rural upstate county to make it sound like Rob would threaten the safety of school children. How dare you.”

Powerful stuff from Astorino, who is a schoolteacher herself. She said her children can’t even watch TV anymore without seeing their father attacked by the governor.

In the misleading Cuomo ad in question, it is likely referring Astorino’s support of school marksmanship programs in upstate New York. But, Astorino is adamant about using guns responsibly and he insisted that the Second Amendment is not something that should be threatened by those few who use firearms for the wrong reasons:

"Fishing and hunting has always been a part of our culture in America and very strongly here in New York. And because some bad people do some very bad things with guns doesn't mean we should change our whole society and way of life," said Astorino.

Cuomo may still have a 22-point lead in the polls overall, but a recent survey revealed that Astorino has come within 4 points of the governor in Central New York. This is largely due to Cuomo’s unpopular “SAFE Act” gun control bill, which banned the sale of AR-15s and changed former gun possession misdemeanors into felonies.

Cuomo has also lost some support thanks to his disbanding of the ethics committee the Moreland Commission when it seemed to get too close to his campaign. This is a scandal the New York Times did not shy away from reporting. What’s more, this Monday the New York Postheartily endorsed” Astorino.

Oh yeah, and joking that people under Ebola quarantine should “read his book” certainly won’t win him any votes.

With six days to go, however, perhaps Cuomo can afford to make a few gaffes.

Walker Takes Firm Lead in Final Marquette Law School Poll

If there is a gold standard for polling in Wisconsin it is the Marquette Law School Poll, which showed Gov. Scott Walker winning his recall election by 6 points before Walker ended up winning by 7.

Today, Marquette released their final poll for Walker's re-election campaign and the news is not good for Democrats. Among likely voters Walker is beating Democrat Mary Burke 50 percent to 43 percent.

Among all registered voters, Walker holds a much narrower 46 percent to 45 percent lead, but Burke's supporters simply are not motivated to turn out. "In the current poll, 93 percent of Republicans say that they are certain to vote," a Marquette Law School press release explains, "while 82 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents say the same."

Walker also leads among those who have already voted 43 percent to 42 percent. 

The bitter campaign has taken a heavy toll on Burke's favorability in the state. In the last poll, she was still above water among all voters, 36 percent to 35 percent. But now she is firmly underwater among registered voters at 38 percent to 45 percent, and among likely voters she's an abysmal 39 percent to 49 percent.

Walker, meanwhile, has improved his image throughout the election, moving from dead even favorability months age to a 51 percent to 46 percent advantage among likely voters in the most recent poll.

Overall, both registered voters and likely voters believe the state is "on the right track," although likely voters (54 percent) are slightly more likely to believe so than registered voters (52 percent). 

Kansas Has The GOP Breaking a Sweat

The fight to withhold a Republican Kansas has puzzled political pundits since the campaign started. Republican Senator Pat Roberts has been struggling against Independent Greg Orman, a candidate who doesn't even give an opinion on big issues

The gubernatorial race has also been a long-winded fight for the GOP. Republican Governor Sam Brownback hasn't been able to take the lead against Democrat Paul Davis.

Townhall's Poll Tracker shows the average of several polls taken since July. The continued "close but no cigar" numbers to take an averaged lead has been especially frustrating for Republicans. Tuesday's election is a toss-up. 

Same goes for the Senate race. Poll Tracker shows the difficulty for Senator Roberts since August and how he could not take a lead. This coveted Senate seat could go either way.

The most current polls are from SurveyUSA who have Governor Brownback trailing again, 43-46 percent and Senator Roberts behind, 42-44. percent. Though the GOP candidates have closed their margins in the last month, their momentum might be a little too late. 

Shark Jumped: NARAL's Hilariously Bad 'Condom Shortage' Attack Ad

Sen. Mark "Uterus" Udall of Colorado is in trouble, according to the polls. His party, which has thrived recently in early voting, is struggling down the stretch:

Udall's birth control-obsessed campaign has been savaged as "obnoxious" and "insulting" by the left-leaning Denver Post editorial board, and his relentless negativity have driven down his own favorability ratings, while Republican Cory Gardner's numbers are above water. The Left's acidic attacks and off-the-wall demagoguery have boomeranged. So with the clock winding down, what have Democrats and their allies decided to do in this race?  Triple down on birth control ads.  This radio offering from the abortion zealots at NARAL is quite literally beyond parody.  Don't believe me?  Listen for yourself, sweet pea:

"Cory Gardner banned birth can't find a condom anywhere, and the pill was just the start...sweet pea, Cory denies science!"

Amazing stuff.  I think the idea here is that Cory Gardner's fictional crusade would result in outright bans on so many forms of contraception that there would be a run on condoms. NARAL doesn't quite paint a picture of Gardner banning those, too -- but he'd surely try, right?  If he fails in outlawing condoms, perhaps he'd personally trek from one drug store to the next buying every Trojan in sight with dirty Koch brothers money.  I also enjoyed the super-scientific term "weirding our weather" to attack Gardner's stance on climate change, which is a far cry from the "denialist" caricature.  Back in reality, the Gardner campaign's latest television ad reminds voters that Mark Udall and friends are lying about birth control, which Gardner has repeatedly advocated making available over-the-counter, without a prescription:

Quinnipiac will publish its final poll of the Gardner/Udall race this week. Their fresh numbers in the governor's race show Republican Bob Beauprez leading embattled incumbent John Hickenlooper by five points, which is a noticeably favorable result for the GOP nominee, if not an outlier. Gardner has been running ahead of Beauprez for months, so don't be surprised to see a statistically-significant lead for the challenger when the data is released.

New Ads: In Final Days, Team Cotton Makes The Race All About Obama

Team Cotton has a solid new ad out digging Sen. Mark Pryor for his liberal voting record. It attempts to show how ludicrous it is to agree with someone on virtually everything, which is essentially what Sen. Pryor has done since President Obama was swept into office:

“I don’t agree with my husband 90 percent of the time…”

Meanwhile, the new ad below strikes a similar chord, although it claims Pryor votes with President Obama “93 percent of the time”:

"Sen. Pryor voted for the Obama policies almost every time..."

“It’s a pretty good scam isn’t it?” former President Bill Clinton said at a campaign stop earlier this month. “Give me a six-year job for a two-year protest. That’s Mark Pryor’s opponent’s message.”

It sure is, and it might work, too. Mitt Romney carried Arkansas by roughly 24 percentage points back in 2012. Meanwhile, the incumbent president’s approval ratings now hover around the low 30s, according to two recently conducted polls. But unlike New Hampshire and North Carolina, Arkansas is a crimson state. So while Pryor’s voting record isn’t nearly as ideological as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) or Kay Hagan’s (D-NC) – he actually agrees with Cotton on several key issues – voters in Arkansas are predisposed to be more receptive to it.

For many voters, regardless of what the percentage actually is, both ads imply Sen. Pryor’s voting record in Washington is contributing to the partisanship and gridlock that is ruining the country. And for that, Cotton argues, voters should unseat him on Election Day.

Tearjerker: No One Is Buying Wendy Davis' Book

Just because you filibuster a bill against late-term abortion doesn’t make you an icon, nor does it make you a bestseller. Wendy Davis' book, Forgetting to Be Afraid, is performing miserably–and it’s not like it experienced a shortage of news coverage (via Slate):

Wendy Davis’ book is having a tough time of it. Despite enormous levels of media buzz, Nielsen BookScan numbers provided to Slate by a publishing source show only 4,317 copies of the memoir, called Forgetting to Be Afraid, have been sold since its Sept. 9 publication.

Nielsen BookScan doesn’t include all book sales, notably sales at many independent retailers, so the actual number of copies sold is probably higher, although still likely below 6,000. As a point of comparison, Elizabeth Warren’s memoir, A Fighting Chance, sold more than 70,000 copies in its first few months on shelves. And David Limbaugh’s book Jesus on Trial, which was published the day before Davis’, has sold about 65,000 copies, including 6,778 just last week, according to BookScan.

Since filibustering a new round of abortion regulations in the Texas senate last summer, the Democrats’ long-shot Texas gubernatorial candidate has become a near household name and a hero for pro-choice activists. She appeared on the Daily Show Monday night—which probably will give her book sales a little bump—starred in fawning Vogue and New York Times Magazine profiles, and has become an MSNBC favorite.

Her book’s anemic sales aren’t due to any dearth of coverage. Just about every major media outlet—including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, and many others—covered the book’s revelation that Davis has had two abortions, both for medical reasons. But that buzz hasn’t translated into sales. The book’s publisher, Penguin imprint Blue Rider Press, didn’t respond to an email about the lackluster numbers.

Right now, the Texas Democrat is losing to her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, by double-digits in the Lone Star State's gubernatorial contest; she’s also losing women voters by double-digits.  

Then again, Davis’s campaign was already dead on arrival–and this view wasn’t exclusive to conservatives. Over at the New Republic, Nate Cohn, who’s now with the New York Times, wrote last August that she couldn’t win. The Washington Post even said she wasn’t a “top-tier challenger.”

Over at Ace of Spades, the folks there compiled graphs that showed why Davis won’t win in this year’s gubernatorial contest: the Democratic votes aren’t there.

Texas Democrats haven’t been able to win a statewide election since 1994 and that tradition will most likely continue after next week.

Netanyahu on White House Comments: 'Attack On Me Comes Only Because I am Defending Israel'

As you've probably read by now, high level officials at the White House refer to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "chicksh*it" among other childish things according to reporting from The Atlantic's Jeffery Goldberg. Although President Obama hasn't addressed the alleged comments yet (and Press Secretary Josh Earnest dodged questions during the daily briefing today), Netanyahu has issued a response with indirect references to unacceptable White House foreign policy positions regarding Israel over the years.

"When Israel is pressured to make concessions on its security it is very easy to give in. There are ovations and ceremonies on lawns and afterwards come the missiles and the tunnels. As Prime Minister I am responsible for Israel's security. I care about the lives of every civilian and soldier. I have been on the battlefield many times. I have risked my life for the country and I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger our state," Netanyahu said. "It must be understood that our supreme interests with security and the unity of Jerusalem first and foremost are not among the top concerns of those anonymous elements that are attacking us and me personally, because the attack on me comes only because I am defending the State of Israel."

Meanwhile, a top Jewish leader is calling for President Obama to directly denounce comments about the Prime Minister and to punish the person who made them (which of course can only happen it wasn't Obama himself who made the comments first). 

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has called on President Obama to "name, apologize for, and repudiate" the anonymous official quoted in an Atlantic Magazine article describing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "chickenshit," The Algemeiner reports.

In a telephone call with The Algemeiner from his Los Angeles office, an incensed Rabbi Hier declared: "It is rather ironic that a senior American official is prepared to curse his friends, yet when it comes to the mortal enemies of the United States -- as the Iranians discovered during the recent nuclear negotiation -- praise is heaped on them."

Harvard Millennial Poll Spells Doom for Democrats

If Harvard's Fall 2014 Survey of Young Americans is as accurate as it's 2010 poll, next Tuesday will be a disaster for Democrats.

According to Harvard's poll of more than 2,000 18-29 year olds, 51 percent of definite millennial voters plan to pull the lever for Republicans Tuesday, compared to just 47 percent who said they were planning to vote for Democrats. That is even worse than in 2010 when 55 percent of definite millennial voters said they were voting Democrat compared to 43 percent who planned to vote Republican.

Among all millennials, Democrats still edge out Republicans 50 percent to 43 percent. But not only is that the smallest margin for Democrats among millennials since 2008, when they preferred Democrats by a 56 percent to 30 percent margin, but fewer millennials than ever say they plan to vote.

Just 26 percent of millennials say they are definitely voting this year, compared to 63 percent in 2008 and 48 percent in 20012.

Even worse for Democrats, for the first time ever in the Harvard millennial survey, more millennials now identify as "conservatives" 35 percent, then identify as "liberals" 33 percent. Just two year ago, in the Fall 2012 Harvard Survey of Young Americans, 37 percent of millennials identified as "liberal" compared to just 33 percent who said they were "conservative."