Eve Fairbanks

A fun voting anecdote, via Ben Smith: I voted today. I'm a 33 year old, white criminal defense lawyer in southwest Kansas. The early voting is at the courthouse. I arrive to find 12 old white people occupying all the voting machines. I wait. A machine opens up. The 80 something white male who had been using the machine is now up at the front table asking if he can vote again. The lady running the table says "no, one person, one vote." He replies, "well, I just want to make sure we don't have some terrorist running the country." This obviously catches my attention so I look at the old man.

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Even North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Carl Mumpower, who is so right-wing he did his own extra-judicial crack busts and wants to impeach George W. Bush for being too moderate, thinks this electoral season's negative campaigning is getting out of hand. So he announced he would do no more "sound-bite" advertising and released this statement: Most commercial advertising is devoted to manipulating voters with small slices of truth flavored with fantasy sprinkles.

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What are they putting in the water at the freshman GOP caucus meetings? First, Minnesota freshman congresswoman Michele Bachmann told Chris Matthews that Obama probably had "anti-American views" and called for a broad investigation into anti-Americanism in both chambers of Congress, triggering a denunciation from none other than Colin Powell and enabling the lamest defense of a politician by her flack ever: "Michele Bachmann, people either love her or they hate her," her spokeswoman told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

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Just a taste of the way the political wind's blowing just about now: CQ Politics, the go-to source for House and Senate horserace obsessives, changed its authoritative ratings on two dozen House races across the country. Not one of its rating changes benefits the Republican. --Eve Fairbanks

A new call for video submissions from the McCain campaign, flagged by reader DW: How are you Joe the Plumber?   Tell us in 30 seconds ... In these tough economic times, there is no doubt that John McCain and Sarah Palin stand firmly on the side of hardworking "everyday Joes" who understand the value of honest work and the American Dream. That's why we want to hear from you and share your story with the American public. It's simple ... make an ad telling us why you are "Joe the Plumber" in 30 seconds and your video could end up on the air as a TV ad.... Ideas and Suggestions: Be creative!

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Roll Call yesterday suggested, for the first time that I've seen, that GOP Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona could lose to his Democratic challenger, tax lawyer Bob Lord. That would be just so many varieties of bitter for House Republicans. First of all, it hurts to lose seats in your presidential nominee's state (they're already likely to lose one, the disgraced Rick Renzi's seat). Second, that should have been a safe seat (the district went 58% for Bush in 2004).

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Mike, I wonder how that Romney counterfactual, gloomy for conservatives, improves Mitt's chances in 2012? Ever since he lost the GOP primary, Romney's practically redefined the word "obsequious" vis-a-vis McCain.

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Palin Comparison

To try and place the amazing Sarah Palin phenomenon, gurus have been reaching for historical analogues: she "embodies the most basic American myth-- Jefferson's yeoman farmer" (Joe Klein); no, she's "the next Ronald Reagan" (Richard Viguerie); no, "she's our Obama" (Jay Nordlinger). But what about Bill Clinton?The fitness-obsessed, policy-lite, skirt-wearing conservative from Alaska would not, on the face of it, seem to have much in common with the Big Mac- scarfing, policy-relishing, skirt-chasing Democrat from Arkansas.

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So this is what happens when you accede to adding $150 billion of pork to a bailout bill your constituents disliked in the first place: WEST CHESTER, Ohio -- One of Rep. John Boehner’s local offices was evacuated Monday afternoon after a suspicious package arrived in the mail. Staffers received the letter from Georgia by U.S. mail. After noticing it was leaking an oily substance, they called the Capitol police in Washington, who advised them to evacuate as a precaution and call in local authorities.

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Some commenters asked what the Democratic prospects are in the House in November.  Well, just a month ago downticket Republicans were gleeful that Sarah Palin's reanimation of the GOP would boost their prospects. (One USA Today poll in early September, during the GOP convention, even showed Republicans with a generic-ballot lead of +5.) It hasn't turned out that way at all. Democrats have rebounded right back to around +10 in the generic ballot.

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