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5:15 PM ET, October 16, 2008


 Top Items: 
The Caucus:
Joe in the Spotlight  —  One week ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was just another working man living in a modest ranch house in Toledo, Ohio, thinking about how to expand his plumbing business.  But when he stopped Senator Barack Obama during a visit to his block this weekend to ask about his taxes …
Toledo Blade:
‘Joe the Plumber’ is focus of presidential debate's first few minutes  —  The story of “Joe the Plumber” - Joe Wurzelbacher of Shrewsbury Street in Springfield Township - became a centerpiece of the early minutes of the presidential debate last night.  —  And Joe the Plumber became the subject of national and international interest.
Marty / Martin Eisenstadt's Blog:
Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher related to Charles “the Crook” Keating.  Oops.  —  John McCain did great tonight in the debate.  But every time John mentioned “Joe the Plumber,” some of us in the campaign banged our heads against the wall.  If Steve Schmidt had any hair left, I hear he would have been pulling it out tonight.
Jonathan Martin / Jonathan Martin's Blogs:
Joe the Plumber: No new taxes — and no old ones, either  —  Joe the Plumber really is no fan of paying taxes.  —  According to records from the Lucas County (OH) Court of Common Pleas found by my colleague Avi Zenilman, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher has a lien placed against him to the tune of $1,182.92.
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
Joe's registration  —  Joe Wurzelbacher doesn't immediately turn up in the Ohio voter registration database, leading to some speculation last night that he's not registered to vote.  —  But the Toledo Blade reports that he appears to be a registered Republican, and a primary voter at that:
Jonathan Martin / Jonathan Martin's Blogs:
Joe not a licensed plumber, McCain's enthusiasm not diminished  —  The Toledo Blade is reporting that Joe the Plumber is actually not licensed.  But that, combined with his apparent tax lien, isn't lessening McCain's ardor.  —  He said in an interview with Fox's Carl Cameron today that he hoped …
Discussion: Emptywheel
The Campaign Spot:
After Targeting Joe the Plumber, Obamabots Pledge To Expose Scandals of Guy in Rockwell's ‘Four Freedoms’ Painting  —  Thank God we live in a free country, where you can speak your mind on public issues, without fear that those who disagree will respond by exposing anything you've ever done …
Discussion: MSNBC, 24Ahead and Gateway Pundit
Robert J. Elisberg / The Huffington Post:   The “Joe the Plumber” Story Hits an Amazing New Low
Tom Elia / The New Editor:
How the Left Works  —  By now everyone who follows politics …
Discussion: ABCNEWS, Daily Kos and Wizbang
Joe Klein / Swampland:
Senator Government V. Joe the Plumber
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:   JOE THE PRIVATIZER  —  It turns out Joe the “Plumber” …
David Neiwert / Crooks and Liars:   Joe the Plumber? More like Joe the Keating Family Operative
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
Purging Joe the plumber?
Discussion: The Campaign Spot and D-Day
Michelle DeArmond / PE Angels Baseball:
Inland GOP mailing depicts Obama's face on food stamp  —  Download story podcast  —  The Press-Enterprise  —  The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.
Greg Sargent / TPM Election Central:
Virginia GOP Mailer Depicts Dems — And Obama?  — As Appeasers Of Terrorists  —  In the race's final stretch, much of the real sludge and slime that floats to the surface will be the work not of the campaigns but of under-the-radar operations run by state parties and the like.
Sol Stern / Wall Street Journal:
Ayers Is No Education ‘Reformer’  —  The new media spin is worse than Obama's original evasion.  —  One of the most misleading statements during the presidential debates was when Barack Obama claimed that William Ayers was just “a guy in the neighborhood.”
The Left's Big Blunder  —  The disastrously counter-productive strategy of Obama's supporters  —  Two campaigns are being waged right now for the presidency of the United States.  No, I'm not talking about the Obama campaign and the McCain campaign.  I'm talking about the real-world campaign and the meta-campaign.
Lara Jakes Jordan / Associated Press:
Officials: FBI investigates ACORN for voter fraud  —  WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating whether the community activist group ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election.  —  A senior law enforcement official confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press.
Discussion: Washington Monthly, D-Day and Hot Air
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Discussion: TPMMuckraker and ACSBlog
Jill Zuckman / The Swamp:
McCain helicopters to Letterman in N.Y.  —  With Newark Airport delaying Sen. John McCain's airplane from landing for two hours this afternoon, McCain knew he might be late - or gasp! - miss the taping of David Letterman's show.  —  After having stiffed the late night comedian once before …
The Trail / Washington Post:   McCain Takes a Copter to Letterman
Jeralyn / TalkLeft:
Not Out of the Woods Yet?  —  Share This: Digg!  —  Booman Tribune has this video of a Sarah Palin rally that will make you want to throw up.  —  ?  —  Does it mean Obama isn't out of the woods yet?  I don't think so.  There are more of us than them.
Americans Flunk Simple 3-Question Political Survey  —  Some news audiences are more politically savvy than others, according to a new poll, with readers of The New Yorker and similar high-brow magazines being the most knowledgeable.  —  The survey, conducted between April 30 and June 1 …
The Trail / Washington Post:
Palin Rips Obama Over ACORN in Maine  —  BANGOR, Me.  — Speaking before a crowd of a few thousand supporters in an airport hangar, GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin continued to question Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's patriotism and commitment to fair elections.
Gallup Daily: Obama 49%, McCain 43%  —  Obama maintains lead, but falls under 50%  —  PRINCETON, NJ — The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking report from Monday through Wednesday shows Barack Obama with a 49%to 43% lead over John McCain among registered voters.
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
BLAMING KRISTOL FOR PALIN.... There's been quite a bit of animosity of late between the McCain campaign and Bill Kristol.  This wasn't at all expected, given that Kristol has been a McCain cheerleader for years.  —  But the two aren't getting along well this week at all.
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 More Items: 
Time Edit / Swampland:
The “God"-less Debates  —  From TIME's Massimo Calabresi:
Discussion: Right Wing Watch
Fox News:
Report: Secret Service Says ‘Kill Him’ Allegations at Palin Rally Unfounded
Discussion: Think Progress
Philippe Sands / Guardian:
10 years of the Pinochet principle
Elizabeth Jensen / New York Times:
PBS Slow to Embrace a Program on Torture
Discussion: Gawker
Joseph Nye / Financial Times:
Beware an October surprise from bin Laden
Discussion: Commentary and The Swamp
David Neiwert / Crooks and Liars:
So much for McCain's outreach to women voters
USA Today:
Our view on labor laws: No way to form a union
Discussion: Riehl World View and Hot Air
Daniel Libit / The Politico:
Fact-checking: Does anyone care?
Discussion: First Draft
 Earlier Items: 
Jay Levine / WBBM-TV:
Obama Election Night Party Likely In Grant Park
The Media Consortium / The Huffington Post:
McCain Undone By Affect And TemperamentMcCain NewsLadder
Spencer Ackerman / ATTACKERMAN:
The Face Of Hate Has Shown Itself
Discussion: Crooks and Liars
Rick Moran / Right Wing Nut House:
The New Republic:
It's Really, Really, Really Over  —  Jacob S. Hacker is Professor …
Discussion: Kevin Drum
Overtaxed Voter / Associated Press:
Ohio elections chief appeals court ruling
Washington Wire:
Palin: 'We Shouldn't Worry About Government Not Having Enough Money'
Discussion: WMUR, Think Progress and The Daily Dish