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:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 10.04.14 AM

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."

“I Am Unbroken” Campaign Highlights Inspiring Stories in Lead Up to Film About WWII Hero Louis Zamperini

There’s a little “Louie” in all of us.

That’s the message the producers behind the new “I Am Unbroken” campaign want to get across.

There aren’t many people who can say they competed in the Olympics, fought in World War II, survived 47 days stranded on a raft in the ocean and made it out of a Japanese POW camp alive. Yet, that is the incredible story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, who died earlier this year. Dan wrote a moving piece about him, sharing how affected he was by Zamperini's stirring book. Academy Award winner-turned-director-and-producer Angelina Jolie decided to make his story into a movie.

Now, ahead of the film’s release, Universal Pictures is asking others to share their own personal survival stories in their new “I Am Unbroken” campaign. By submitting videos about their inspiring tales, participants can share in Zamperini’s legacy. More from the campaign:

We’re inviting people from all walks of life to share an inspiring story of resilience for the chance to have a professional team create a video segment about it. Selected stories may also be featured on NBC’s Today, and those who submit have the opportunity to receive an invitation to the film’s world premiere.

“By submitting your video, you can show everyone that, like Louie, we are all capable of being extraordinary.”

Here is just one of the extraordinary people who's story is featured on the site: Mankin suffered severe facial injuries after his amphibious assault vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device in Iraq. Yet, he insists, “Beauty is who you are.” You can read more of his story here.

If anything else, this campaign is a chance for us to better understand why veterans deserve our praise. How often do we reflect on how selflessly soldiers put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day and perhaps take for granted?

Those who have their own amazing stories to tell can submit their videos via the campaign website, or using the hashtag #IAmUnbroken.

After reading even a few of the “unbroken” submissions, it’s clear that any of these stories are worthy of the silver screen.

The “I Am Unbroken” campaign begins on November 11 and select stories will be featured on NBC’s Today show.

“Unbroken” comes out in theaters on Christmas Day. You can watch the trailer here (I’ve watched it like five times already.)

Rand Paul Throws PAC Money Into Kansas Senate Race

In the 2014 election cycle, Sen. Rand Paul's political action committee RAND PAC has emerged as a major player in campaigns to get Republicans elected nationwide. The PAC has apparently raised over $300,000 in the last two weeks, and has begun to flex that money muscle.

In the incredibly close Kansas Senate race, RAND PAC has just gone on the air with an ad in favor of Republican Pat Roberts, who is down a few points on Greg Orman. The ads support Roberts' votes against sending American tax money overseas:

As the Washington Times reported:

The PAC for Mr. Paul, a likely 2016 GOP presidential contender, also plans to air ads in other states with competitive U.S. Senate races — and a few with early presidential nominating contests — like Kentucky, New Hampshire, Iowa and North Carolina.

Mr. Paul has also appeared in Chamber of Commerce ads in both Alaska and North Carolina and has barnstormed more than 30 states this cycle on behalf of candidates as he lays the groundwork for a possible 2016 run.

Sen. Paul's support of Pat Roberts is notable because they come from disparate branches of the Republican coalition. Paul is a firebrand outsider, while Roberts has been a mainstream Republican for most of his (considerable) tenure in Washington. It's a close race, and a key one for the GOP's takeover of the Senate, but Roberts' base demographic looks a lot different than Paul's.

Report: House Dems Fear 'Debilitating Losses' Next Week

With much of the national media attention (such as it exists) focused on this year's Senate races, the battle for the House of Representatives is frequently overlooked.  Sure, it's been a foregone conclusion for months that Democrats would fail to win back Congress' lower chamber, but an emerging story line is that Nancy Pelosi's team increasingly worried about sustaining damaging losses on November 4th. Politico reports:

The political environment continues to deteriorate for House Democrats ahead of a midterm election that’s certain to diminish their ranks. With President Barack Obama’s unpopularity hindering their candidates and Republican cash flooding into races across the country, Democrats are increasingly worried that the election will push them deep into the minority and diminish their hopes of winning back the majority in 2016 or beyond. Looking to contain the damage, Democrats are pumping money into liberal congressional districts that were long thought to be safely in their column. Over the last several days, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has directed resources to maintain seats in Hawaii and Nevada, both of which broke sharply for the president in 2012 — an indication of just how much the terrain has shifted against the party over the past two years. Other unexpected races are suddenly in play...Operatives from both parties expect Republicans to net five to 10 seats, which would give them some cushion heading into what’s expected to be a much more challenging 2016. Some Republicans, trying to tamp down rising expectations of even bigger gains, point out that a recently-redistricted congressional map has dramatically narrowed the playing field of competitive districts and limited potential pick-ups. They also caution that they have yet to put away Democrats in many races that remain close. Still, as the election heads into the final week, it’s clear that the landscape is tilting against Democrats. Of the 30 House races seen as most likely to change hands, 23 are held by Democrats.

It's wise for Republicans to downplay expectations, just as Democrats' cause for alarm is absolutely real.  Their dire predicament at least partially explains the increasingly apocalyptic fundraising emails for which the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee (DCCC) been roundly lampooned:

As your parting gift, here's yet another piece in which Democrats snipe at each other over what they expect to be an ugly Tuesday night:

Democrats are casting blame on the White House as their sense of foreboding rises with the midterm elections just a week away. The core of the detractors’ argument is simple: President Obama could be doing more to keep the Senate in his party’s hands. But the president’s defenders say he is boxed in by political realities. Even as some Democrats call for him to be more vocal and prominent, candidates in battleground states are paddling furiously to put as much clear blue water as possible between themselves and the man in the White House. Still, the chorus of complaint is growing. Some Democrats assert that the administration’s flubs on healthcare and Ebola have been electorally costly. Others allege a failure to excite the base. Still others say that at times the White House just hasn’t seemed unduly bothered whether or not control of the Senate flips to the GOP.

When the president has waded into the cycle, he's instantly minted turn-key GOP ads. The latest:

AGAIN: Voting Machines Swap Votes For Republicans to Votes for Democrats

In the past week we've see votes cast on machines in Illinois' Cook County and in Maryland switch from Republican to Democrat due to "calibration errors." has done phenomenal work in documenting changed votes. Now, a new report from The Weekly Standard shows that votes cast in Illinois for Republicans are being changed yet again in favor of Democrats.

Two Illinois voters say their attempts to vote early for Republicans on an electronic voting machine were registered as votes for Democrats—and they say have the video evidence to prove it.

The voters are 18- and 19-year-old Moline residents who asked to remain anonymous. They say they went to their polling station on Monday, October 28, at the Moline Public Library. Both say they were aware of recent news stories that other early voters in their area had experienced difficulties voting on electronic machines. The complaints have been widespread.

So what do we do about this? If machines in different states repeatedly changed votes from Democrat to Republican, Eric Holder would have launched a federal investigation under suspicions of fraud and I doubt "calibration error" would be accepted as an excuse for widespread problems. For a third time:

These machine errors were visible, what about the changes these machines are making to votes cast for Republicans that aren't visible? How many registered voters have had their votes and participation in the process stolen as a result of "faulty" machines?

Keep in mind that the Illinois governor's race is a close one with a Real Clear Politics average showing Republican Bruce Rauner neck-and-neck with incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn. 

An Endorsement That Kay Hagan Should Probably Hide

With Election Day less than a week away, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan picked up an endorsement from the Charlotte Observer, but she might want to keep it hidden from public view; it wasn’t a shining profile. The editorial board labeled her a “disappointment,” but that’s not all (via WaPo):

The Charlotte Observer endorsed incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) for the second time on Sunday. They didn't seem too pleased about it, though.

Here is a sample of the glowing things they had to say about her:

· "Kay Hagan has been a disappointment"

· "She has done about the minimum you'd expect from a U.S. senator, with few if any notable legislative achievements."

· "She has a chronic reluctance to take firm positions on controversial issues"

· "...She needs to accept that while North Carolina is a difficult, divided state to represent, it deserves a senator who is not perpetually fearful of upsetting half the state’s voting population."

Yet, Tillis was excoriated for opposing things like Medicaid expansion, and pushing policies that hurt North Carolinians. Nevertheless, it gives credence to the GOP talking point that Hagan has not deserved re-election.

On top of this lackluster endorsement, Hagan has been somewhat painfully awkward in her recent string of television interviews. Yesterday, for WSOC, a Charlotte-based television station, Hagan could not say how many Armed Services hearing she’s missed–and she prevaricated when questioned if she regretted repeating the “if you like your plan, you can keep it,” which was left-leaning PolitiFact’s Lie Of The Year.

And speaking of Obamacre, Guy wrote last week about North Carolina residents bracing themselves for a double-digit premium shock from the state’s largest health insurer.

In the Tillis camp, Texas Gov. Rick Perry stumped for the GOP hopeful last week, and Mitt Romney was featured in this ad for the Chamber of Commerce touting Tillis’ humble upbringing, and as someone who will fight for North Carolina in Washington.

As for the nasty, racially charged ads that have surfaced against Tillis in the final weeks, they have not gone unanswered. Our America PAC has this ad featuring Louisiana State Sen. Elbert Guillory, calling Hagan a “limousine liberal,” who has done nothing to help the black community in North Carolina. He urged his fellow African-Americans to reject Hagan on Election Day.

Additionally, American Commitment has this radio spot slamming the Senate Majority PAC’s absurd race-baiting radio ad linking Tillis to the 2012 Trayvon Martin shooting.

In the meantime, Hagan is still staying consistent with her narrative by sticking to state issues.

Report: White House Refers to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "Chickensh*t"

For years in typical diplomatic fashion officials inside the governments of Israel and the United States have insisted the relationship between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is civil, workable and solid. We've been told that the special relationship between the two countries can never be broken. But despite the rhetoric, evidence to the contrary throughout the past six years has often put the friendly nature of the Obama/Netanyahu relationship into question. Both leaders firmly disagree on a number of issues, including where Israel should draw its borders, how to handle Iran, settlements and most recently, the threat of ISIS and how to defend innocent Israeli civilians from Hamas terrorists launching rockets into the country. 

Now, a new piece in The Atlantic shows that not only do Obama and Netanyahu disagree on how to handle national security interests and threats from hostile countries willing to take Israel off the face of the map, but that officials have quite a few names for the Prime Minister, including "chickensh*t." 

Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.) But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

There is plenty of debate among Israelis about whether Netanyahu has gone far enough in addressing threats to the Jewish State's security and existence, but the idea Barack Community-Organizer-Lead-From-Behind Obama would call Netanyahu "chickensh*it" is really quite incredible.

Earlier today, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman appeared on Fox News to discuss the name calling.

"If indeed these quotes are true and were said either by the President or his administration I think it is shameful, it's abusive and it's very very counterproductive," Gillerman said. "This is not the way you speak about your only ally, the only Democracy in the Middle East and especially not when the Middle East is so volatile. When we're seeing in a very big way the foreign policy of this administration and especially of the President has created a situation where its allies feel they cannot rely on it and its enemies feel that it can get away with murder, literally. You do not use such abusive language against your only ally, the only Democracy in the region, the only one you can count on and the only one with which the U.S. has a truly, very special special relationship."

Has Prime Minister Netanyahu ever gone golfing eight minutes after giving a statement about the beheading of a citizen by terrorists? Didn't think so.

Marco Rubio: Scott Brown is "One of a Kind"

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has penned an op-ed in the New Hampshire Union-Leader (the biggest newspaper in the state that endorsed Newt Gingrich for president in 2012) making the case for why voters should elect Scott Brown to the United States Senate in six days.

The editorial is likely to be read widely — and openly discussed — but perhaps it has one intended audience: conservatives in the state who are leery of voting for a candidate who is both pro-choice and unreliable on Second Amendment rights.

But in a race this close, he needs conservatives to turn out. And because Rubio’s reliably conservative on many important issues other than immigration, his endorsement could tip the scales for some voters.

“Throughout my time in public service, I have worked closely with hundreds of legislators at the city, state and federal levels,” he began. “But Scott Brown has been one of a kind.”

Rubio touted Brown’s independent record, his devotion to “free enterprise, limited government, and conservative solutions to today’s challenges,” and his decades of service in the Massachusetts National Guard. And while he had some kind things to say about incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), he was emphatic that her partisan record just doesn’t wash.

“I have also worked with Jeanne Shaheen,” he wrote. “She too is a decent person with whom I’ve had a cordial relationship and worked on some issues. But 99 percent of the time, she has voted for President Obama’s agenda — an agenda that has saddled us with more debt, more uncertainty about the future at home and abroad, but not enough jobs. In this race, Scott Brown is simply a better choice for those like me who are tired of the direction America is headed and are fighting to make sure the American Dream doesn’t slip away forever.”

The argument is clear: If Granite Staters are happy with the status quo, and an incumbent Senator who carries water for the president, they know who to vote for. If, however, they’re looking for a change, and a chance to take the country in a new direction, they should vote for Scott Brown.

It remains to be seen if this line of argument will ultimately carry him over the finish line. But there’s no denying that Brown’s message has resonated; the race is now a dead heat.

Maine Independent Gubernatorial Candidate Eliot Cutler Holds Odd Press Conference; Does Not Drop Out

The #MePolitics hashtag on Twitter was abuzz this morning when Eliot Cutler (I) announced an incredibly vague press conference at his campaign headquarters at 10:30 a.m. EST. Speculation abounded that Cutler, who has thus far failed to acquire the same momentum that nearly won him the governorship in 2010, would be dropping out of the race. However, this was not the case as Cutler merely announced that he is staying in the race, but basically "released" his supporters to vote for other candidates. Cutler said that voters should "vote based on their conscience" and are free to vote for any candidate.

People on both sides of the aisle did not react well to essentially being trolled:

Perhaps the best reaction was this:

Polls for the gubernatorial race show a tight race between incumbent Republican Paul LePage and Democrat Rep. Mike Michaud.

Hold on tight, kids. Next Tuesday is going to be one hell of a ride.

Ernst up 4 in Latest Iowa Senate Poll

Republican candidate Joni Ernst has taken a 4-point lead over Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) in the race for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Ernst up 49 percent to 45 percent, a 2-point improvement over Quinnipiac's last poll which only had Ernst up by 2, 48 percent to 46 percent. 

"Nothing is for sure, but one would certainly rather be in her shoes this morning than Braley's,"  Quinnipiac Poll  assistant director Peter Brown said. "Ernst's lead is built upon a 9-point lead among independent voters and a larger lead among men than Braley is able to muster among women," Brown continued. "And, in what was a strongly negative campaign, she emerged from the mud-slinging with voters liking her a bit more, usually an advantage that tends to translate into votes." 

Iowa voters do seem to like Ernst personally more. A full 45 percent of Iowa voters have a favorable opinion of Ernst, while just 43 percent have an unfavorable opinion of her. Braley, meanwhile is disliked by more Iowans (43 percent) than like him (40 percent).

Audio: Conservative Radio Ad Slams Democrats' Race-Baiting

The conservative organization American Commitment is one air with a radio ad in North Carolina that exposes Democrats' race-baiting strategy to other voters. Matt noted earlier this week that Harry Reid's Senate Majority PAC has been running an outrageous commercial narrowly targeted at black listeners. The spot tries to link Republican Thom Tillis to policies that "caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin." It goes without saying that a North Carolina Republican had absolutely nothing to do with a years-old shooting in Florida (for which the perpetrator was acquitted by an all-female jury); it's also worth pointing out that the 'Stand Your Ground' law invoked in the Democrats' ad had no bearing whatsoever on the resulting legal case. This is an non sequitur on top of a non sequitur, the sole point of which is to stir racial resentment and fear.  American Commitment's ad simply disseminates Senate Majority PAC's message more broadly, broadcasting the seedy underbelly of Democrats' nakedly racial attacks to voters who were never the intended audience for these specifically-tailored smears:

"Desperate to hold onto power, Obama, Reid and Hagan are shamelessly race-baiting...Don't let the race hustlers win."

The group's president, Phil Kerpen, responded on Twitter to critics alleging that his ad constitutes racial politics:

It's a neat trick the Left pulls.  They drop big money to flagrantly race-bait, then say it's race-baiting for anyone to notice and call out what they're trying to do in certain communities.  And their appalling fear-mongering is still going strong.  Democrats across the country have been caught Catholic-baiting, and using images of battered women to slander Republican candidates (including a woman), turning the demagoguery dial to eleven.  Another flier has emerged in North Carolina -- this one doesn't invoke lynching, but it's not subtle:

And this one cropped up in Arkansas:

While national Democrats "wave Michael Brown's corpse to win votes," to quote Dan McLaughlin's cutting phrase, black leaders in Ferguson, Missouri are training their anger on...Democrats:

Many African Americans in Ferguson and across St. Louis County, angered over their leaders’ response to the fatal shooting, say they will be taking their outrage to the ballot box and voting against a Democratic Party that has long been their automatic choice. They are focusing on the St. Louis county executive’s race, which typically centers on matters such as the budget and sanitation but this year has become caught up in the unrest....Earlier this month, a coalition of some 20 African American Democratic leaders called a news conference to endorse the GOP candidate, state Rep. Rick Stream. Armed with voter registration forms, activists like Seals have been roaming black neighborhoods urging people to vote for anyone but the Democrat. The plan is not only to beat back a local candidate they view as particularly unfriendly to black residents, but also to present a show of force to Democratic leaders all the way up to Sen. Claire McCaskill and Gov. Jay Nixon. By switching their allegiance in this election, these African Americans hope to demonstrate that their votes should not be taken for granted.

I'll leave you with this, out of Chicago: