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Congressional Countdown: One Week Out, Top Races in Flux

Congressional Countdown

A Key Race Scorecard -- Oct. 31, 2006

House (35 contested races)

Leans GOP
5
Toss-Up
17
Leans Dem
13

Senate (9 contested races)

Leans GOP
0
Toss-Up
3
Leans Dem
6

» Full Analysis

One week remains in the 2006 midterm election and change is the operative word on the Countdown.

In today's edition we re-rank four House races -- two to benefit Democrats (North Carolina 11 & Kentucky 3), two to benefit Republicans (Texas 22 & New York 26). We also move the New Jersey Senate race toward the Democrats.

Read the full analysis...

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  October 31, 2006; 8:47 AM ET
Categories:  House , Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Duncan Hunter for President?
Next: The Expanding House Playing Field

Comments

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Posted by: Frad | November 2, 2006 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Lots of discussion about the prospects of a Dem takeover in the House and what that might mean. Here's what I want:

I expect oversight investigations into any and all indications of large amounts of missing money, missing/unaccounted for weapons, and no-bid contracts. Not witchhunts but ACTUAL oversight.

I expect some form of investigation into what the rules ought to be regarding what constitutes a "national security" issue when releasing documents. That one has been WAY misused recently.

I expect immediate action on what has happened to money for New Orleans and sideways from that how every single whiff of a slightly possible miniscule interruption of gas production causes HUGE spikes in the cost of gas.

I expect a clearly defined procedure that allows for minority opinions and positions to be adequately addressed in legislation.

I expect immediate action to increase the minimum wage with NO caveats concerning other non-germane attached language.

I expect ACTION on illegal immigration. Comprehensive is best but stop the flow in NOW.

I expect negotiation on the price of drugs in the Medicare system in addition to a reasonable policy regarding imported drugs from Canada.

This will be controversial but... I expect some kind of inquiry into what led us down the road to war in Iraq. Don't soften the results. If there is evidence that specific people manipulated info, timing, etc... We should be told the truth about who that was. No unfounded accusations though.

Finally, I kinda hope that all of the above can be done in a bi-partisan manner or at least with an eye to how destructive partisanship can be.

In the past few years, I've gone from a decent guy who thought Republicans were just confused to a raging partisan ready to tear off heads and well...you get it. I want sanity again in politics.

Posted by: DKinUT | November 1, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Wanna see the landslide? Forget CT, look at NY. John Hall is going to wipe Kelly out. When you get those returns in say bye-bye Rove and the NeoCons at the Fix and elsewhere in the Post.

Posted by: GOP Street Against Bush Mafia | November 1, 2006 6:12 AM | Report abuse

What Dems need to do is stay principled. Be cleaner than Ceaser's wife as my boss use to say.

Staying principled should not be construed as staying the course or corse. For example, the BiPartisan Ethic Panel should be Bi-Partisan. Dems and GOP should be investigated without changing the rules when a top official is believed to have done something wrong. The GOP sowed the seeds of this years election by believe and acting as if they A: were above the law and rules and B: Falsly believing they had a mandate to govern as a neocon government and C: shutting out the DEMS and Moderate GOP ideas.

In short, the real lesson is the GOP does not know how to govern. They know how to win elections but dont have a clue on how to goven or lead this country.

Dems will be making a big mistake if they think they will be getting a mandate to lead. What they get is a chance to prove they can govern more effectively and with better integrity than the GOP.

That IMO is what the underlying decision next week is about.

Posted by: Stick A Fork In it. | October 31, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Not a single conservative here.

I suppose that begs the question, what is a conservative? One that supports the president or one that supports conservative principles?

I consider myself a fiscal conservative but a social liberal. I am pro-business/free-market but abhor the hypocrisy of the righteous right. I support a strong military but favor a plan to "cut and run" (kinda like General Odom). I will vote for Ehrlich but not Steele.

Hmnf. Dang labels.


Posted by: Moderate Mike | October 31, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"It also alleviates you from engaging your brain - obviously from the dumb ideas contained above."

So once again you arrive and save us all, by contributing such important things to the conversation. I begin to wonder if more than one person posts under the kingofzouk name. A couple of days ago you did present ideas worth reading. Now you are back to empty insults.

As for supporting the troops, check out (iava.org/index.php). All by soldiers who care about other soldiers, not politics. Kerry only earned a B. How do your favorite politicians rate? If you find out that they actually do NOT support American soldiers in a time of war, will that make any dent in your support for them? I suspect that you will make excuses, or refuse to comment.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | October 31, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Kerry, who is considering another run for the White House in 2008, angrily fired back.

His statement called Republicans "assorted right-wing nut jobs."

At least we know where you get all your ideas for your blog postings. This must be a Dem standard practice.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't you get stuck in Iraq." Flip-flop Johnny

I guess this is what you Dems call supporting the troops. Jim Webb's kid must be a real dumbass. and this guy wanted to be president? and you baboons voted for him? what were you thinking?

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

the mutual admiration society is at it today. Not a single conservative here. I guess you are exercising your first amendment rights - not to be confronted with ideas you don't like. sounds like the Dem dream world. It also alleviates you from engaging your brain - obviously from the dumb ideas contained above.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

JimD, While on active duty I remember chuckling when the Air Force first started saying they were an "air and space force." I laughed only because I knew they were simply trying to get "dibs" on future space missions (and budget) before the other services could lay their claims.

There does seem to be a shortage of white knights in politics today. There just needs to be more civil discourse and both sides need to know that you can have different views on policy but still love America. I disagree with the policies many of the posters mention here, just as they would disagree with some of mine. But we have to stop saying that all liberals are wusses who want to sell out to the terrorists or all conservatives are Nazis.

I know that people like Drindl and JimD love America as much as I do and I know that Bhoomes and KOZ want to keep America safe from a very dangerous enemy. It is actually a good thing that so many people on this blog are passionate about improving America. I wish the majority of our electorate was so involved. An ignorant electorate is how governments get off track. If the government knows the people have no interest in what they do, they will get away with whatever they can until the people stop them. A little revolution is a good thing once in a while, even if your side is on the losing end.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | October 31, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Mikepcfl, thanks. You remind me of my Christian roots and why they need not be repudiated lest they clash with my social beliefs. You sum up the heart of the issue so well. If only other like-minded Christians (and I know there are many more than the radicals) would stand up and speak as reasonably as you. Hope your work stays slow so you can keep up the posts.

And wow, but Pelosi's plan made me grin. I cannot wait for the reaction of Republican lawmakers to THAT one.

And wow part two: the negative campaigning article in the paper today? Nauseating. I know we live in a society with open debate encouraged, but I almost wish we could force a truth accounting in this advertising. Geez.

Posted by: dc voter | October 31, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

TG "The dems are not the white knights."

You got that right! I agree with you completely. I am expressing a hope that the investigations that are coming are conducted the correct way. It was overstatement on my part to suggest that Dems are now living up to my hopes. I guess that makes me crazy to hold my breath.

I would argue that voting records are a difficult standard of virtue. We need compromises, which means strange bedfellows and apparent inconsistency. But ... damn their yellow hides for rolling over on the constitutional authority to declare war! What an infamous day.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | October 31, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Mor'easter and Mikepcfl

I am a retired naval officer. I remember hearing a story early in my career about a young AF officer briefing the Chief of Staff of the AF. The briefer kept referring to "the enemy". Finally the general asked, "Son, who are you referring to as the enemy?". "Why, the Russians, sir." was the response. "Hell, son, the Russians are the ADVERSARY, the Navy is the ENEMY." There were some very fierce battles between the Air Force and the Navy over control of certain missions in the years after WWII - particularly nuclear deterrence. In the earliest days of the nuclear age, carrier aircraft armed with nuclear bombs were the prime deterrent force. The AF (which was only established as a separate service in 1947 or 48) campaigned for the mission for their land based bombers. The AF had the upper hand for a while and the Secretary of Defense decided to cancel construction of a new class of aircraft carriers, relying on land based air instead. This prompted a "Revolt of the Admirals" with admirals openly questioning the Secretary's judgement in congressional hearings. Eventually, the AF got the nuclear bombers and missiles, while the Navy got the ballistic missile submarines. New aircraft carriers were also authorized.

I also studied organizational behavior in grad school. I was taught that you can determine an organization's mission by its behavior. I had a flash of insight in that class - the mission of the peace time military is to preserve and expand the budget. That is a little too glib but it does contain a good amount of truth. Not only do the services compete against each other for resources, within the Navy the aviators, submariners and surface warfare communities compete for their share of the Navy's budget.

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 31, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"The biggest problem for the Democrats, may actually putting forth a positive agenda while at the same time exercising their oversight responsibility."

What Pelosi plans to do:
Lobbyists Won't Like What Pelosi Has in Mind
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/29/AR2006102900628.html?nav=hcmoduletmv

You'll never hear about that on Faux News

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 31, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Adam,

"we will all be better off if at least one side stays true to America."

Let's not overstate things here. The dems are not the white knights. While I will be the first to admit the republican congress has been a disappointment, as has the executive, I don't think change for change's sake is necessarily the answer either. To me, this is like would I rather be drowned or hanged. Agree with you that the divisive political climate needs to be changed but we need to recognize that both sides have been abysmal and true leadership has been lacking all around. In terms of divisiveness, the dem rhetoric has been pretty out there. This needs to be repudiated as well. I know you might view this as right vs. wrong but it isn't. It is a conflict of philosophies (perverted on each side by power and the need to be elected)that are supposedly aimed at obtaining the same goal - a safe, strong, prosperous America. We need to focus on the goal and where our interests are common. When either side thinks that their position is akin to the moral imperative than I think we have bigger problems than we think.

These same dems that you now want to sweep into power, voted for the war in Iraq when their convictions told them not to. Why, because they pocketed their convictions in favor of political expedience. Sure, Bush painted them into a corner but they didn't stand up. We need leaders on all sides that will.

Posted by: TG | October 31, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Grand Old Party

Posted by: Adam Hammond | October 31, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I've never made this many posts before (slow day at work).

Nor'Easter-You're right. In practice my idea of fiscal and military conservatives doesnt always work. (Trying not to say the wrong thing on this computer. haha) But as you may know, the Pentagon is full of little fiefdoms. Unfortunately, all the services have their pet projects and are forced to fight for money at the expense of other branches. As a former Air Force officer, I know the AF has fighter myopia when fighter-bombers and transports are a more urgent need.

What you suggest in a commission SHOULD already be done. But no one wants to rock the boat. They make deals so the AF gets their F-22, and the Army gets their super artillery. No one seems to worry that there is no enemy to use the new systems on, yet the troops have no armor and the young enlisted troops have to use food stamps. I will have to stop there, because nothing made me angrier when i was on active duty than these young families who sacrifice so much, yet have to be on WIC and food stamps. This has gone on for years and should be a crime.

Sorry to ramble. Maybe fiscal and military conservatives would have some conflict, but I would take that over the neo-cons running the party any day.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | October 31, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"... it may be difficult to distinguish that from legitimate oversight."

You're right, of course. If the admistration sets its heels and claims "executive privilage in a time of war" on every issue, then things will get ugly. I can easily imagine Tony Snow looking hurt that the nasty Democrats would want to risk American lives by looking into the accounting of Halliburton contracts.

My reply is boring. Just plod along. Stop trying to seize the news cycle. Avoid harsh rhetoric. Never overstate the case. In otherwords, play to history. Fight the good fight without losing the long perspective. Truth is the daughter of time.

Sure I want the criminals punished, whoever they turn out to be. But more important to me is the repudiation of the divisive political climate that is consuming us. Let them defend themselves with rhetoric and tricks. Even if some bad guys get away with it, we will all be better off if at least one side stays true to America.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | October 31, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I know Mikepfc, what they are actually doing is endangering religious freedom. How long before we get a state relgion imposed on us? This kind of thing is a lot like the Taliban.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, as a "lifelong Christian" and conservative, the program you described is not conservative, nor is it even Christian. I read the story this morning in disbelief. They are trying to force their idea of morality on the country. As a conservative, I believe that government should leave me alone, especially if it is not harming anyone else. Consenting adults (whatever gender) should have all the sex they want.

As a Christian, I believe in free will. And I dont want the government telling me how to worship or live my life in a Godly manner. That is what the bible is for. People can choose to believe and follow what it says or not. Free will is God's gift to us. I would much rather listen to God than my government on how to live a righteous life.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | October 31, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I am Russian guy, first election in states. Can tell me please, why parties don't pay attention to issues what are important, but they pay attention to sex issues and call names. and tell me also please, what stands for "G.O.P" One my friends say it mean "Greedy Old Plutocrats," but i know, he is kidding.

Posted by: borat | October 31, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Mikepcfl - Unfortunatley, Fiscal and Military Conservatives work at cross purposes. The military conservatives are so enamored of and push for the spending of so much money on technology that they ignore The Ultimate Weapon - The Grunt.

The Air Force has never seen a plane which it didn't want, in spite of the absurdly low effectiveness rate of their systems.

Air Force planes look great with contrails against a blue sky and flying over the World Series and Super Bowl, but have a bombing effectiveness rates that was below 25% in the Gulf War. Remember Bush 41 at Raytheon praising the Patriot missle before we found out that most of them didn't work as advertised. And on, and on, and on...

We need a mix of responsible military conservatives and liberals on a super advisory commission to provide guidance for the Congress abnd the Pentagon on what the threats to our country are short and long term, and how best to approach mitigating them.

Starting the planning and systems with the ground troops, and then moving on from there. Instead of always having the grunts as an afterthought, with equipment that is not up to their needs.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | October 31, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I've stayed out of this for months. With the President out predicting the "End of Days" occurring on Novemebr 8 if the Democrats take one or both houses, let's cut to the chase. I offer this question for this group's consideration.

"In a Lame Duck Session after the election, will the conservative republicans try to force through every cockeyed piece of legislation they were too disorganized/distracted to push through during the past 6 years?"

Go Tammy! Onward Melissa! Defeat the Evil Twins Roskam and MacSweeney!

Posted by: Chi-town Hustler | October 31, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"Let's demonstrate what 'coalition' and 'power-sharing' and 'peaceful transition of power' actually mean!"

Adam, agree. Seems like a long time since there has been a coalition or any power sharing. Isn't that the real issue. There are real problems facing this country that need real solutions that are in the best interest of america. Maybe if the dems won the house and the repubs kept the senate, or vice versa, there would be a real opportunity to build a coalition and to look at common ground and common interests in order to fashion pragmatic solutions to some serious problems. Let's hope so.

If you believe the prognosticators, there are some difficult economic times on the horizon. It is now, that the country has to get its house in order (no double entendre intended), not in its typical reactionary way that has become the default posture of our leaders.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey Judge, you may see some stoning for adultery soon if 'conservatives' stay in power. Now they want to spend our tax dollars for abstinence programs for ALL unmarried adults--not joking, wish I was:

'As the GOP asked recently, what are the stakes in the Nov. 7 election? Well, one complaint you hear a lot about the current Republican regime is that they want to regulate what people do in the bedroom. Sometimes that sounds like political hyberbole, until you read something like this: The Bush administration is spending millions in an effort to stop unmarried people in their 20s from, well, doing the wild thing:

The federal government's "no sex without marriage" message isn't just for kids anymore.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it's a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.

"They've stepped over the line of common sense," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. "To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It's an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health."

As the article notes, "well over" 90 percent of people in their 20s have already done the dirty deed. And experts say that if the issue is reducing out-of-wedlock births in this age group is the goal, a successful program should involve contraception -- not surprising, considering the above statistic. And you really have to wonder how much of this is really concern about the potential social consequences of unwanted pregnancy, and how much is the latest offensive from the American Taliban?

Here's a question for the conservatives that like to populate the comment section here. In what way or sense is this Bush-backed government program truly "conservative." You've got Big Government telling adults what to do in the privacy of their own home, and wasting millions of your tax dollars to do it.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

here's more from chris' 'moderate' pal, drudge buddy mark [The Rodent] Halperin;

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Mark Halperin, the Political Director of ABC News. By any measure, Halperin's disclosures are interesting: a) "having [political] views and expressing them is a dangerous thing" and "talking about them is only bad for America"; b) Criticisms of news organizations from the left "don't diminish the liberal bias, but they do make weak organizations, already under siege, more under siege, taking fire from a different direction"; c) The media "hates the military" and has biases on "gays, guns [and] abortion"; d) "[T]he Mary Mapes' of the world are ruining it for the rest of us, and they are the dominant majority"; e) David Gregory is not a "buffoon"; and f) he has interns from Bob Jones University.

The media 'hates the militaary' -- do you, chris? I don't think that was a very nice thing for your friend to say about you.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"How much hate can you people possibly have in your hearts and call yourself Christians?"

Apparently the answer is: an infinite amount, Bobby. It's abundantly clear that many self-described "life long Christians" are applying a completely undeserved label to themselves. Part of the dumbing down of America includes a dumbing down of religion: being a 'Christian' is like watching TV, it's easy and free of any obligation to change/modify your behavior.

I am reminded of Pirates of the Caribbean II: for these people the Bible is "more a set of guidelines." They definitely aren't stoning people for adultery, for one (unfortunately).

Heck, the US Constitution is "more a set of guidelines" for them as well. Take what you like and hyperemphasize it; ignore the rest. Repeat as needed to achieve the a totalitarian theocratic state in "A Handmaid's Tale"

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 31, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing how Osama does just pop up right before an election, therefore swinging it to R's. And he follows the news, and he knows that's what happens. You spose he wants R's to win, because G W bush is his best recruiter?

'Let's quietly investigate the past crimes, but mainly look to the future.'

That's what I'm talking about. We don't need to shut down the government like the R's did over Clinton, we need to get down to business. But we can't be a nation of laws unless we enforce them--and those that defrauded and stole from the taxpayers should be punished.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I fear that is what happened to the leaders of my party. But change is possible. The fiscal and military conservatives need to take over the party when the neo-cons and religious right are voted out of power.

We need to cut all this wasteful spending and get the budget back in order.

I was initially for the Iraq invasion and from what I knew at the time, still think it was the right move. But the whole thing has been botched. I do not want to "cut and run" or leave Iraq to become a terrorist state. But sometimes there is no right choice. We may just have to live with our mistake. If the choices are leave the troops and let them die for a people who dont want them or withdraw and let Iraq turn into what it may. I almost believe the second choice is the lesser of two evils. The saddest part of the Vietnam War was that they left the troops there even after the Pentagon knew the war was unwinnable. Too many good Americans were sacrificed for a lost cause. I do not want that to happen again.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | October 31, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"...if the comming Democratic congressional majority abuses its power in senseless persecution, I will join in voting them back out..."

No problem with that, except it may be difficult to distinguish that from legitimate oversight.

Assuming that the Democrats achieve a majority in at least one of the chambers, the first investigation announced by a Democrat Chairman will be labeled as political and as retribution by the Republicans members and the RNC.

There's been so much finagling with respect to just procurement for the war, that it might take two or three Congresses to do proper legitimate investigations of just that; but the first thing you will hear is "RETRIBUTION !"

And what about other things, such as public corruption, constitutional issues, etc.

The biggest problem for the Democrats, may actually putting forth a positive agenda while at the same time exercising their oversight responsibility.

Good luck in sorting it out.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | October 31, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

All the shows are talking about the 'November Surprise' - will we hear from Osama before the elections - and if so - how will it affect the results? In the last two elections, it has been bad news for the Dems when Osama shows up just before an election - and while I think it would be the same this time around, I don't think the effect would be as great - maybe this is just wishful thinking. I know the Republicans are 'hoping' for a BIG thing before next Tues - what utter chaos that would be!

Posted by: star11 | October 31, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Adam, hopefully the Democrats will learn from the Republican mistakes when they harassed Clinton. Oversight is needed and some investigations are needed from time to time, but it is a bad move politically to make that your entire agenda. I didnt like what Clinton did, but it was stupid to try and impeach him. But with the fighting and bickering in Washington, nothing would surprise me.

TG, the Republican catering to the religious right has had several bad consequences. First, it has created rancor and caused the Democrats to react by moving to the left (every action has an equal reaction), thus stranding the middle with nowhere to go. Second, they run the risk of making "conservative" a bad word as someone noted recently that "liberal" has become (which is shouldnt). The religious right needs the Republican party more than we need them.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | October 31, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

What the Republicans did to Clinton was not oversight. While I am thrilled about a Dem take over, it is because I believe that the D leaders are actually better for the country. This will be an important moment for our nation. Will the Dems correct the course, or will they disppoint me and squander their opportunity with revenge-minded politics.

Critics keep citing Dems for not having a plan. Well, 'COMPETENT GOVERNANCE' doesn't quicken the heart, but it sounds like a breath of fresh air these days.

Let's quietly investigate the past crimes, but mainly look to the future. Let's demonstrate what 'coalition' and 'power-sharing' and 'peaceful transition of power' actually mean! Let's be so firmly on the side of right that we never have to defend ourselves by using a tu quoque. I soundly reject the argument that we should get down in the gutter with the current crop of Republican leaders. The ends do NOT justify the means. If we keep grubbing deeper in the dirt for power then power itself will be all we can ever achieve.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | October 31, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

MikeB and Mikepcfl... well spoken.

I'm a life-long Dem and don't support giving anything except the door to illegal alien lawbreakers. I firmly believe the Dem party is not listening to their electorate, they better reconsider their stance because they've only got two years to get it right.

Not voting for George Allen is a principled stand.... we need to restore ethics in Congress, not seed it with bigoted blowhards.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | October 31, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I am exhausted by the negative ads playing in the 8th district, Wisconsin. A doctor, running for the House, sued someone who didn't pay his bill. The collection agency that the doctor used hired an attorney. This attorney once defended a serial rapist/murderer. Therefore, the doctor supports rapists and murderers. All paid for by the National Republican Party.

I wish I was kidding.

Posted by: Merry | October 31, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

From today's Post: "The United States on Tuesday disbanded a five-day-old military blockade of...Sadr City...meeting a deadline set by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki under pressure from the anti-U.S. cleric whose militia controls the sprawling Shiite slum.

"Maliki ordered that the security cordon be lifted hours after cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a civil disobedience campaign in Sadr City to protest the blockade, which the U.S. launched Wednesday in an effort to find an abducted U.S. soldier and capture a purported Iraqi death squad leader."

Putting al-Maliki's other recent comments together with this, it's obvious that the Iraqi's are now "Standing up." And we have been promised for quite some time now that when the "Iraqis stand up, we will stand down!"

We're now officially waiting; they're sure "standing up."

Oh, and about that report that General Casey will be requesting more "n" thousand more troops today...

Posted by: Nor'Easter | October 31, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Mikepcfl,

Agree largely although not completely on Iraq. One issue I have had with my party, besides spending (which is not insignificant), has been the catering to the religious right. This used to be a fringe element that Rove has brought into the fold as more and more of a mainstream element. The republican party should be a party of tolerance, not religious hegemony. Also, we need to get back to the principles of federalism that the party once espoused too. An anti-gay marriage amendment is an abomination to these federalist principles. While I don't think courts should legislate, the fed has to recognize that this is a state issue plain and simple.

Anyway, I suppose my point is that perhaps you are right. Much like the dems seem to struggle for an identity amidst their varying interests, perhaps some soul searching on the R side is in order. I still look at races one by one and let the best candidate win in each, not based on pure will to party power.

Posted by: TG | October 31, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Where is the evidence that the Repubs are coming back? The polls haven't changed...
How can all of these hundreds of disparate Dem candidates across the country be collectively responsible for the terrorists winning, as the administration last desperate Hail Mary alleges?

Posted by: Pdoggie | October 31, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Ok - CNN just had the Webb-Allen poll on - Webb - 50% - Allen 46% - Yippee! (scared the dogs when I did that out loud!)

BUT we need to watch the MD Senate race - last night the Black Democrats endorsed Steele as did the Prince George's County Council (5 of the 9 - all of the African-American members). (I posted about this last night on the previous entry by Chris.) While Webb may pull it out, it doesn't mean anything unless Cardin wins - until two weeks ago, I was feeling pretty good about Cardin winning, but with the PG County Council endorsement, Steele just picked up a huge number of votes - the African-American community is not happy that Mfume lost the primary. I think Steele wins this by a sliver - it is a shame the African-American community will cross party lines against their best interests - after all we have seen in this Republican controlled government, it astounds me - that is exactly how we got to this point anyway, as we have all seen in Kansas and elsewhere. I can't believe Chris is not making a bigger deal out of this - CNN with Bill Bennett is giving a lot of air time to this story RIGHT NOW - we cannot ignore this! Do not discount how important this is - I said it two weeks ago and I hope I am being paranoid but I think Steele will pull this out!

Obama is in Prince George's County on Friday campaigning for Cardin - get the word out - I will be there!

Posted by: star11 | October 31, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

'if the comming Democratic congressional majority abuses its power in senseless persecution,'

No, that would be what the republicans did to Bill Clinton. But I will be very disappointed if Congress does not do its job -- which is OVERSIGHT. Do you people not know that?

Do you really want taxpayer monney to keep disappearing down a rabbit hole? Or do you want your government to be accountable for the way they are blowing through YOUR tax dollars?

Why do republicans whine so much about paying taxes, then not care whether the money is wasted and stolen?

Posted by: drndl | October 31, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Ten months into a year-long effort to transfer control of Iraq's reconstruction to the Iraqis, federal auditors say, the government there is spending very little of its own money on projects, while the process for handing off U.S.-funded work "appears to have broken down," according to findings released yesterday.

The fledgling Iraqi government, in power since May, has about $6 billion this year to devote to major rebuilding projects, representing about 20 percent of its overall budget. But auditors with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that beyond paying employee salaries and administrative expenses, only a small amount of money is being spent on actual work. Auditors blamed "bureaucratic resistance within the Ministry of Finance, which traditionally has been slow to provide funds."

Auditors also found fault with the way the Finance Ministry is keeping track of U.S.-built projects as they are handed over to the Iraqis and said some of the U.S. data on the subject are "incomplete or inaccurate."

At the beginning of the year, Inspector General Stuart W. Bowen Jr. labeled 2006 "the year of transition" as the U.S. winds up its dominant role in the reconstruction. But in yesterday's report, his office said the year is already into its fourth quarter and the transition remains "fraught with challenge."

Among the obstacles: a "deteriorating security situation across Iraq," pervasive corruption in Iraqi ministries, and possible problems raising funds from international donors unless the Iraqi government can prove it is willing to spend the money it already has on roads, health clinics, power plants and other much-needed infrastructure.

"I don't think the Iraqi government is prepared to take over the reconstruction," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has been overseeing the U.S.-led effort as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "But I don't know that continuing to pour our money and manpower into these projects is the answer, either."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/30/AR2006103000202.html

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Mikepcfl, thanks for sharing that. As someone who only rarely votes for a Republican, I promise that if the comming Democratic congressional majority abuses its power in senseless persecution, I will join you in voting them back out of power. When your employees misbehave, you fire them!

Posted by: Adam Hammond | October 31, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

'In a letter sent today, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is asking the Virginia State Bar to release the application materials Allen submitted when he applied for a license to practice law in the Commonwealth in the 1970s. "Mr. Allen's bar application was submitted less than five years after two arrest warrants were issued in his name in Albemarle County, Virginia," DSCC Executive Director J.B. Poersch writes in the letter. "Since the official arrest records have been purged, your organization may be one of a handful with official documentation regarding these arrests."

Any reporters want to cover this? Anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

MIKEB-- That was a quote. I would never call a republican pro-military, because they aren't. They despise the troops and make them suffer at every opportunity, I think because they are jealous of men and women with real courage, in contrast to their craven cowardice. They send them into unneccessary wars without protective equipment, they feed them crap food so halliburton can make a bigger profit, the refuse to pay for proper medical care when they are injured. Military families now have to take food donations to feed their children.

'Pro-military' is yet another republican Big Lie...

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Mikepcfl-

Hallelujah, you and me both.

Posted by: DCA2CMH | October 31, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Good post Mikepcfl, very well said.

If what you describe happens I might be able to vote Republican again. It's been a while.

Posted by: Zathras | October 31, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

'Oh, dear. Rep. Christopher "Abu Ghraib was a sex ring" Shays (R-CT) took a luxurious 10-day trip to Qatar in 2003, organized by Grover Norquist's islamo-Republican outfit, the Islamic Institute. And, it appears, it was likely paid for by the government of Qatar, according to Garance Franke-Ruta in the New Republic (sub. req.)

Somehow the trip was never publicly disclosed, as required by House rules. But he was more than happy to share with CNN and others the intimate details of his one-day jaunt into newly-liberated Iraq, which he tacked on to the end, reports Franke-Ruta:

. . . Shays's privately sponsored trip to Qatar was notably absent from his own annual federal financial disclosure form, filed in May 2004, in violation of House rules. Nor did he submit an amendment disclosing the sponsor of his Qatar trip until confronted in mid-October 2006 by The New Republic with internal Islamic Institute receipts for his plane tickets, which were provided by an Arab American source upset with Shays's foreign policy positions.
Franke-Ruta notes that Shays has boasted, "every expense of my office is a matter of public record." No doubt.

Qatar doled out over $140,000 to Norquist's group to fund the trip for Shays and about a dozen other lawmakers; by comparison, it paid $150 million to found Al Jazeera television (which had a very different take on the Abu Ghraib debacle than Shays did). Like K Street, I guess it likes to hedge its bets.

http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/001895.php

Posted by: DRINDL | October 31, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

For the first time in my life, I will be voting for a Democrat. My friends are shocked that I am voting for Webb over Allen. But I just cant in good conscience vote for that man. I am hoping many of the neo-cons get voted out of office. I think it will make the Republican Party stronger in the long run.

A previous poster joked about watching a Republican Civil War in 2008. It has already started. Many of us truly are "compassionate conservatives." We believe in a government that: allows us to live and worship as we wish; does not interfere with our lives; does not tax us to death nor spends money faster than it can be printed. As a Christian, I believe in government that doesnt have open hostility toward homosexuals or advocate torture as policy no matter how noble the goal.

You can not have a strong military if it is being slowly bled to death defending a people who do not even want us around. Saddam is out of power and we made sure there are no WMDs. If Maliki doesnt want us, then F him. The troops should be in Afghanistan/Pakistan looking for Osama. If terrorists gain a stronghold in Iraq, then that's what B-2's and cruise missiles are for.

The Republican party needs to get back to our core values. It might be best to start from scratch even if it means losing an election.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | October 31, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

drindl - "...another pro-military, anti-illegal immigration rightwing conservative..."

You need to be a bit more cautious about your wording here. I am very much a liberal and I am very much for rounding up and shipping home all of the illegals, for ending any guester program that takes jobs from American's, and for punishing American based comopanies that offshore their manufacturing - use the tax laws and hit their goods with punative duties and excise taxes when they bring the produced goods in! Illegals, time and again, have been shown to take jobs from American workers and, further, they depress wages and benefits as they are played by employers against Amercian workers. Ship 'em home, every single one of them. I don't care how much it costs or how many sob stpries are featured on the nightly news, ship 'em all home. Revisit the 14th Amendment and purposefully restrike it from applying to the children of illegals, also. This is the U.S. and I am pro-labor. That is the traditional stance of MY PARTY. If you want to be pro-illegal, you are by definition anti-labor. ANd, if you are anti-labor, you are a Republican or (worse) a Naderite in my book.

As for the military, you have to differentiate between the Pentagone brass ad the ordinary soldier. I support and honor ordinary soldiers and even field commanders. I loathe the Pentagon brass and will ask out loud why they are being permitted to fund and run an entire PR agency. This is illegal and certainly not traditional and is even liekly unconstitutional. Once we get rid of Bush, these swine need to be investigated and not just retired, the leaders of this frightening development need to be imprisoned and stripped of their rank and benefits.

Posted by: MikeB | October 31, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse


News on these polls are sure indication that GOP sleaze campaign has fallen flat with the American people....the only people I actually trust to do the right thing.

Also, I think the DEMS strategy of firing back on some of these like Webb did last week, like Harold Ford did has been effective. The Dems have not been shrill in their reponses and accusation but have found the right balance that I think has helped them withstand this on-slaught of lies and distortions.

As the week progresses, look for more positive news out of polls and more substance on DEM ads. Their strategy is working folks. It is time for the neocons to go....stick a fork in them.

Posted by: Stick A Fork In It | October 31, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday ordered the lifting of joint U.S.-Iraqi military checkpoints around the Shiite militant stronghold of Sadr City another apparent move to assert his authority with the Americans.

All barricades and checkpoints around Sadr City and elsewhere in Baghdad must be lifted by 5:00 p.m., al-Maliki said in an order issued in his capacity both as prime minister and commander of the Iraqi armed forces.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Fundraiser I just got from Newt Geinrich...

'In just a few short days, these values will be put to the test like never before. The choice we make on November 7th will write the history books for generations to come. Will everything you've worked so hard to accomplish be lost to the San Francisco values of would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi?'

I wonder which republican values he's talking about? Greed? Gluttony? Lust? Sloth? Envy? Hubris?

And I have to say, al-Maliki is sure cheeky, isn't he? I wonder how the wingnuts like the fact that our troops are under the control of the Shia?

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Fundraiser I just got from Newt Geinrich...

'In just a few short days, these values will be put to the test like never before. The choice we make on November 7th will write the history books for generations to come. Will everything you've worked so hard to accomplish be lost to the San Francisco values of would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi?'

I wonder which republican values he's talking about? Greed? Gluttony? Lust? Sloth? Envy? Hubris?

And I have to say, al-Maliki is sure cheeky, isn't he? I wonder how the wingnuts like the fact that our troops are under the control of the Shites?

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Henly

Thanks for the info - something just occurred to me based on your writings - if they have the ballot in front of them wherein Gibbs is running for the remainder of Delay's term will that not make it easier for them to spell her name correctly - and that maybe that is why Gov. Perry called for the special election?

Just asking

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | October 31, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"The district attorney said Monday that authorities have reopened their investigation into a cocktail waitress' claim that a Republican congressman running for governor assaulted her in a parking garage after a night of drinking.

"District Attorney David Roger said the case involving Rep. Jim Gibbons [R-NV] -- which had been closed after the woman, Chrissy Mazzeo, dropped her complaint -- is under investigation again." (AP)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Let's get real in the Texas 22nd. This is a plurality contest. There are TWO names on the ballot, the Democrat and a Libertarian. There are THREE write-in candidates, all representing themselves to be Republicans. The Republican "annointed" write-in candidate has a first name that is commonly spelled two different ways and a double last name, the first portion of which is unusual ("Sekula") and is seen both hyphenated and unhyphenated. All of this has to be "dialed" in (like text messaging on a cell phone, but harder) on a voting machine designed SPECIFICALLY to discourage write-in voting. To make matters worse for the write-ins, Texas law requires the voter to spell the write-in's name EXACTLY as it is registered with the election clerk; otherwise no vote is counted. How 'bout it folks, can you spell "Shelly (or is it Shelley?) Sekula-Gibbs" on your dial telephone?

Let's review now. One major party candidate. One Libertarian. Three R write-ins. In a year of a Democratic wave. On voting machines that are next to impossible to successfully cast a vote for a write-in. Wonder who's going to get the most votes?

Bush only went to the 22nd because it's one of the few places he can go where it is impossible to do harm. Ms. Sekula Gibbs, or Sekula-Gibbs, is a 2008 candidate. By the way, she WILL be elected Congresswoman in the simultaneous special election for the remainder of the Delay term (until 1-1-07) since the Dem chose not to put his name on that ballot.

Posted by: Henly, Tx | October 31, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Bush again, and that anti-family man Cheney (unwilling to stand-up for his daughter) seek to tell the American people if you vote democrat homosexuals will be allowed to marry -

The marriage debate is more about the use of the word marriage than marriage - if George W wants to define marriage by his genitalia so be it - that is his wife's problem for marrying such a man

but I must ask the diehard antihomosexual Americans out there - are you so filled with hate and bigotry that you are prepared to allow for out of control spending to continue(at the expense of your children) and a war which now appears to be lost

Iraq's prime minister orders our troops out of Sadr (our troops who are looking for a kidnapped American soldier) the same PM says that no nation has the right to set a time table on Iraq -

You see this Iraqi PM seems to think he can treat Americans with contempt by demanding we pay for the war, give up our children to die in the war, not be allowed to search for our children when they are kidnapped in Iraq, and expect nothing in return

This is what you antihomosexuals are prepared to live with over whether or not I can officially call my relationship with a man a marriage - you are going to have to put me in jail b4 I stop calling the relationship a marriage, and then you are going to have to sew my lips shut, and then tie my hands so that I cannot sign.

How much hate can you people possibly have in your hearts and call yourself Christians?

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | October 31, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Bad News for Burns: Montana Paper Set to Publish Letter from Abramoff Pal
"A Republican media consultant and friend of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff recently wrote a letter to a Montana newspaper saying Burns' staff ate so many free meals at Abramoff's restaurant, people joked they would have 'starved to death' without the lobbyist.

"'Frankly, it was widely viewed in D.C. that Mr. Abramoff effectively exerted implicit control over Mr. Burns whenever he and his team needed to get something accomplished,' reads the letter, which was sent to the Whitefish Pilot last week.

"The letter is expected to run in the Pilot's Thursday edition.

"The author, Monty Warner, a GOP media consultant, told the Gazette State Bureau last week that he came across an article in the Pilot recently in which Burns is quoted as saying he only got $5,000 from Abramoff. That, combined with Burns' other statements in which he says he hardly knew Abramoff and, at one point, he wished Abramoff had never been born, compelled him to write the letter, Warner said."

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The Republican primary is gonna be funner to watch than is the Democrats, because on their side, you're gonna have a civil war (well, we might too, but whatever). I found this note interesting: Ken Mehlman, after his lame job at the RNC, is going to Rudy Guliani's campaign after the election:

The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker told NBC's Chris Matthews on Sunday that RNC Chair Ken Mehlman "is going to be leaving the National Republican Committee, possibly heading over to the Giuliani camp." That would be big news.
I bet Ralph Reed winds up there too. Anti-Homosexuality and Anti-Corruption ought to be interesting issues for McCain to persue in wooing the theocons. With only Mitt Romney to the right (and given his lack of heft in MA and the debated baggage of Mormanism in the GOP), I'm not surprised to see another pro-military, anti-illegal immigration rightwing conservative (besides New Gingrich) emerge in Duncan Hunter.

http://www.mydd.com/

hmm... interesting development. would mehlman be leaving if he'd done a good job? or is he just tried of the closet? a guiliani candidacy would be interesting to watch, least as far as which direction the R's will be going...

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

blew the punch line

'In your Face GW'

Posted by: zippy | October 31, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if Chris wrote this before the latest wave of polls came out, but the VA Senate race just completely shifted. 4 consecutive, seperate polls showing Webb with a 4 or 5 point lead over Allen. Rassmussen and Zogby both have Webb over the victory line at 51%.

Going into the final week of the race, it's hard to imagine how Jim Webb could possibly be in a stronger position than he is right now. He has never polled this well ever in the race thus far - meaning that he's peaking at exactly the right time. All the momentum is with the Democrats right now in Virginia and this now has to be considered a probable pickup for them. Will this be the magic #6 for a Senate take-over?

Posted by: Jackson Landers | October 31, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if the political battle Dubya and the Republicans are losing may be the Iraqi elephant under the coffee table that turns into a November surprise?

Al-Maliki, the Shiite Prime Minister thumbing his nose at Junior. Last week. He's not the US's man. Timetable...what timetable?

Today giving the US a deadline to stop the Blockade on Sadr City so some Shiite bad guys have some breathing room. 9AM EST.

Has this guy figured out that he's holding all of the cards. He's got more potential soldiers, in an environment where the US is increasingly unpopular-basically the Home team on Home turf.

I you face GW.

If the Shiites turn on our troops before the election it could be a bloody mess. But will Fox, CNN and the rest of the wimpy US press report it?

Posted by: zippy | October 31, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This thing just keeps getting more and more interesting as the election nears. Chris, you do need to expand the list a little more... this will be a fun election day.

http://www.faithfullyliberal.com

Posted by: Aaron | October 31, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Bush Says 'America Loses' Under Democrats"

So America is 'winning' under Bush and the pedophilia-enabler Hastert? These guys just don't get it.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 31, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Folks, check out the following websites. They give the latest polls. In the last two days, four polls have shown Webb with a lead!! Go Webb!

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/latestpolls/

and

http://www.pollster.com/

Posted by: Poltical Junkie | October 31, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Chris, when are you going to talk about George Allen's sealed divorce records and arrest warrants?

Hey, did you see the shredder parked out in front of Cheney's residence? There goes the notes from all those meetings with Ken Lay...

http://www.wonkette.com/politics/dick-cheney/shreddin-with-dick-211028.phps

I saw Big Dog Clinton last night at a rally for D John Hall [NY 19]--who is now running even with 5 term incumbent R Sue Kelly.Hall was an underdog nobody and this is a huge upset.

Clinton was brilliant as always and made me remember how inspring it was to have a strong leader who is brilliant and funny and fearless, rather than than the stumbling stuttering cowardly fraudulent drunk we have now.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

How the Texans in Sugarland can choose to elect another Republican this time around is a mytery to me.

Are they all just gluttons for shame and disgrace?

They all seem to have forgotten that old west-texas localism, "Cheat me once, shame on you, cheat me twice, shame on me."

These Texans' disgraced ideological ties are stronger than thier own party survival instincts.

The younger generation is watching them, and they SEE these "R" icons and role models ignorantly and defiantly enable the persistent and pernicious degradation of democracy and good government.

Hopefully, this new generation of Texans won't be so willing to make themselves into perpetual political victims, like the Evangelical Republicans in Sugarland.

Posted by: JEP | October 31, 2006 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Intrepid Liberal-

Hate to correct you but it's not a fat lady singing...it's a thin lady in California. Music to thine ears.

Georgie Boy and Closet Denny better get ready for some truth-revealing light to be shined their way.

Posted by: DKinUT | October 31, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Zathras,

Cool observation about voting str8 ticket -how many of the diehards will not understand this - also I am curious does anyone know how much spelling counts in a write-in vote - do they have to have her complete name - half of her last name - what?

I realize that CC has to keep this interesting but moving Texas 22 into leaning Republican under the totality of the facts is a bit of a stretch -

I do not know about the rest of the country but here on the border with Mexico, a democratic stronghold - people are tired - we have two weeks of early voting - people who I know vote early every time have yet to vote and have not yet decided if they intend to vote

there is an election exhaustion - if this is happening nationwide how ill it impact the election?

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | October 31, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The fat lady is singing as far as the House concerned. Turn out the lights the party is over.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | October 31, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

You guys need to DOUBLE your contested races chart. This is summation of the House races is not even CLOSE to complete. Jerry McNerney (a renewable energy executive and expert) in CA-11 is my sleeper to beat Pombo.

Constituent Dynamics yesterday released the poll:

McNerney (D) 48%, Pombo (R) 46%

Posted by: F&B | October 31, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

This is still a very conservative listing of the races. Constituent Dynamics, which came out with a pile of polls yesterday, is looking at over 50 races, and has many more in the Democratic column:

Safe Democratic: 198
Strongly Democratic: 24 (Safe+Strong=222, already enough)
Weak Democratic: 18 (up to 240 now, a swing of 37 seats)
Tossups: 2
http://constituentdynamics.com/mw/2006/index2.php

As for Texas-22, you are seeing the peak of S-G's numbers. This 35 percent polling for her are the completely committed Republicans who would have been willing to go through waterboarding to vote GOP for every race. Others who are not so committed won't bother. For example, even if somebody checks the straight ticket-Republican box (straight ticket is an option in Texas), this will not vote for S-G.

Posted by: Zathras | October 31, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

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