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The Plum Line: August 15, 2010 - August 21, 2010

Open Thread

I hereby declare this blog a Mosque Exclusion Zone. What else is happening? UPDATE, 1:46 p.m.: The sudden dropping of the charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is quite an interesting story, isn't it?...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 21, 2010; 10:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (159)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* The Post's Jonathan Capehart hammers Charles Krauthammer over his opposition to Cordoba House. * Charlie Cook predicts the GOP will retake the House. * First responders blast GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio for that anti-mosque video politicizing 9/11 imagery....

By Greg Sargent  |  August 20, 2010; 6:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
Categories:  2010 elections , Happy Hour Roundup , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Dem candidates balk at ending tax cuts for rich

Sam Stein digs through the internals of the new CNN poll and finds that support for letting the tax cuts for the rich expire has strong support among virtually all voting blocs. Strikingly, only 50 percent of Republicans support keeping...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 20, 2010; 4:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
Categories:  Senate Dems , economy  
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VIDEO surfaces of Ron Johnson blaming climate change on "sunspot activity"

Ron Johnson, the Tea Party-backed candidate challenging Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, took some flak and generated cable chatter when word surfaced earlier this week that he'd blamed climate change on "sunspot activity." Johnson originally made the claim to the Milwaukee...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 20, 2010; 1:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change  
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People who hate Obama are more apt to think he's Muslim

A number of people suggested yesterday that the rise in people who think Obama is a Muslim reflects the fact that people may simply be describing him this way to express general disapproval or anger over his performance. Today, Post...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 20, 2010; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (104)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Charles Krauthammer's transparent dodge

It must be tough being Charles Krauthammer these days. Here's his difficulty, in a nutshell: How do you insinuate that all of Islam should be viewed through the lens of 9/11 while disguising the fact that you're insinuating that all...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 20, 2010; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (312)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* Blue Dog Dem uses "Nancy Pelosi" as a negative: How far will the most panicky Dems be willing to go in defending themselves against GOP efforts to link them to the Obama/Dem agenda? Rep. Joe Donnelly, last seen blasting...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 20, 2010; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , Morning Plum , economy  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has now joined those urging GOPers to drop their 14th amendment crazy talk. * Relatedly, former Bushies are pleading with today's Republicans and conservatives to stop demagoguing on the "mosque." At this rate,...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 19, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , economy  
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Will controversy make it impossible to raise cash to build Cordoba House?

What if all the attacks on Cordoba House can actually stop the project from being built? It's widely accepted that the question of whether the Islamic center gets built is completely separate from the national political war that's erupted over...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 19, 2010; 3:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Poll: Most of those who think Obama is Muslim learned it from media

Everyone is obsessing over that new Pew poll finding that the number who think Obama is a Muslim has risen to nearly one-fifth of Americans. But here's an amazing nugget buried in the poll's internals: A solid majority of those...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 19, 2010; 1:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security , Political media  
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GOP Senate candidate yanks video showing smoldering 9/11 site

This one is ugly. GOP Senate candidate Roy Blunt's campaign has pulled down a Web video displaying the smoldering remains of the 9/11 attacks alongside audio of his Democratic opponent saying the location of the Islamic center should be up...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 19, 2010; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security  
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How politically catastrophic were Obama's "mosque" comments?

Putting aside the substantive merits of Obama's comments about Cordoba House, it's been widely accepted as an article of faith that his decision to weigh in at all, and the manner in which he did it, are certain to be...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 19, 2010; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

*America agrees -- the "mosque" is sacrilege: A New Time magazine poll offers this striking finding: "More than 70% concur with the premise that proceeding with the plan would be an insult to the victims of the attacks on the...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 19, 2010; 8:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Tea Party  
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Open Thread

All, I'm taking the afternoon off, because I've got some important stuff to do. So I hope you'll keep the conversation going in my absence, and let me know what I'm missing. I'll try to check in later. Enjoy....

By Greg Sargent  |  August 18, 2010; 1:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (160)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Pelosi clarifies call for look at funding of anti-mosque critics

Nancy Pelosi kicked off a bit of controversy on the right this morning when the news broke that she had told a local San Francisco radio station that she agreed with those calling for a look at how the...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 18, 2010; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (144)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The White House's case to voters on the economy

So how will the White House make the case to individual voters that Obama's economic policies are working for them? How tough a sell is it? President Obama met with an Ohio family at their kitchen table today to talk...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 18, 2010; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  economy  
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"Ground Zero mosque" war shows battle over legacy of 9/11 remains unsettled

Please watch this new Web video from New York gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio on the "Ground Zero mosque," and note the use of footage of 9/11 for political purposes: The ad, not surprisingly, falsely says the "mosque" will be built...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 18, 2010; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* Big Senate races come into focus: With Obama set to discuss the economy in Ohio today, don't miss Dan Balz's overview of the matchup between former Bush budget director Rob Portman and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, a key test...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 18, 2010; 8:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Fun while it lasted: Rod Blagojevich found guilty of just one count of lying to investigators. * Interesting take on the Blagojevich verdict from the Campaign for Fair Elections' David Donnelly: "You can try to tell a Senate seat,...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 17, 2010; 6:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , Senate Dems  
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Breaking: Two Dems back "mosque," sky remains in place

Others have noted this already. But I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that two Dem Senate candidates today unequivocally did the right thing on Cordoba House. Both stood up strongly for the group's Constitutional rights and for religious...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 17, 2010; 5:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security  
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Right wing's latest falsehood: Obama "voted present" on Cordoba House

Conservatives opposed to the Islamic center near Ground Zero have hatched what they think is a clever little formulation to describe Obama's position on the project: He voted "present." This claim has been made by, among others, two writers who...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 17, 2010; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Rand Paul stands by claim on unemployment and drugs

The Rand Paul campaign sends over a statement responding to my post below, essentially sticking by his claim that a good solution to the drug problem may be to reduce government interference in investment by the rich. But the campaign...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 17, 2010; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Rand Paul's solution to unemployment and drugs: Rich people?

The other day, Rand Paul got into a bit of trouble for saying that the drug problem in Eastern Kentucky is "not a real pressing issue." Paul's Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, blasted Paul for being out of touch with the...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 17, 2010; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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House Democrat now politicizing mosque issue

This is genuinely sad. But we now have a House Democrat who has come out against the planned Islamic center -- and is using the issue politically against his Republican opponent, who had previous supported it. The Democrat in question...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 17, 2010; 10:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* More pushback against the "professional left": President Obama says he's delivered "the most progressive legislative agenda" in up to "three generations." * Another setback: A Federal court rules that California's ban on gay marriage will remain in place until...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 17, 2010; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Sharron Angle responds on Twitter to Harry Reid's opposition to the Islamic center near Ground Zero: Nice of you to join us, @HarryReid. In other words, all coming out against the project accomplished was to allow Angle and Republicans...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (80)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , House GOPers , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Breaking: Reid calls for mosque to be built "someplace else"

UPDATE, 3:34 p.m. Why Reid's position is indefensible: Some are pointing out that Harry Reid, by citing the First Amendment and religious freedom, is reaffirming the group's right to build the project. That's true. But it's not terribly relevant in...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 3:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (221)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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More GOPers bash state aid as Dem "money laundering" scheme

Last week I noted here that Michele Bachmann and Sharron Angle had rolled out a new argument against the $26 billion state aid package passed by Dems: It's all a money-laundering scheme to funnel cash via public employee unions to...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  2010 elections , economy  
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Breaking: Halal food carts spotted ON Ground Zero!

A reader writes in to sound the alarm about another sacrilege that we've all somehow overlooked: One thing I haven't seen anyone write about is the presence of Muslim food carts MUCH closer to Ground Zero. There are at least...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 1:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
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GOP Senate candidates drag Obama's mosque speech into their races

More and more GOP Senate candidates are doing it now. Here's Senator David Vitter's email to supporters, calling on Obama to "reverse" his "support" for the Islamic center, and demanding that his Dem opponent, Charlie Melancon, break his silence on...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security  
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How many commentators will denounce GOP mosque strategy?

Mark Halperin has a great piece today in which he calls on Republicans to "do the right thing" and not make Obama's support for the Islamic center an issue in the midterm elections. Which gives rise to a question: If...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 11:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security  
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Breaking: Hamas sides with Obama, endorses mosque!

In case you were wondering where the right is headed today... The angle here is that one of the criticisms of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Islamic center, is that he refused to call Hamas a terrorist...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
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Will "Ground Zero mosque" be key issue in midterms?

So will Obama's controversial defense of the right to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero be a key issue in the midterms? Republicans are vowing that it will be, and many Democrats are nervous, but a senior White House...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 8:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (207)
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Sunday Open Thread

For any regulars who haven't been driven into the desert. What's happening?...

By Greg Sargent  |  August 15, 2010; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (160)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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