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2:25 PM ET, September 23, 2010

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 Top Items: 
Erick Erickson / RedState:
Perhaps the Most Ridiculous Thing to Come Out of Washington Since George McClellan  —  The House Republicans' “Pledge to America” is out.  A thrill will run up the leg of a few Chris Matthews' types on the right.  As Dan noted on Twitter, the Contract with America was 869 words and this is 21 pages.
RELATED:
Ezra Klein:
The GOP's bad idea  —  “America is more than a country,” begins the GOP's ‘Pledge to America.’ America, it turns out, is an “idea,” an “inspiration,” and a “belief.”  And the GOP wants to govern it.  —  Their policy agenda is detailed and specific — a decision they will almost certainly come to regret.
CBS News:
“Pledge to America” Unveiled by Republicans (Full Text)  —  CBS News has obtained a final draft of House Republicans' legislative agenda for the next Congress, a 21-page “Pledge to America” that they will formally unveil Thursday morning at a Virginia hardware store.
The Huffington Post:
GOP ‘Pledge For America’ Director Lobbied For AIG, Exxon, Pfizer, Chamber  —  WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?  —  The Republican Party's 21-page blueprint, “Pledge to America,” was put together with oversight by a House staffer who, up till April 2010, served as a lobbyist for some of the nation's most powerful oil …
National Review:
We'll Take the Pledge  —  All year long, conservatives have been pressuring Republicans to release a Contract with America for 2010 — an updated version of the campaign platform that the party unveiled before its 1994 sweep of Congress.  Thursday morning, Republican congressmen are responding …
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Online:
Why Republicans Don't Need a ‘Pledge’  —  Today, something unusual will happen.  Democrats will happily call attention to a new set of Republican proposals, and Republicans ... well, they'll sort of shrug them off.  The “Pledge to America” is supposed to be this year's version of 1994's …
Club for Growth:
The Milquetoast GOP “Pledge”
Mike Lillis / The Hill:
Boehner offers no solutions on Medicare, Social Security reform
Discussion: CNN and Taegan Goddard's …
Ezra Klein:
The Democrats need a plan, too
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
The “Pledge for America”  —  John Boehner wants to cut …
Discussion: The New Republic
Hogan / RedState:
The Pledge to Nowhere
Discussion: Firedoglake
Brian Beutler / TPMDC:
House Dems Also Punt On Upper-Income Bush Tax Cuts  —  The Senate's decision not to address the Bush tax cuts until after the election is the strongest indication yet that the game is over.  After a House Democratic caucus meeting this morning — but before the news broke on the Senate side …
RELATED:
TPMDC:
Senate Dems Ready To Shelve Tax Cut Vote  —  A senior Senate Democratic aide told TPM today there won't be a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts in the upper chamber before the November election, a blow to party leaders and President Obama who believed this would have been a winning issue.
Frank Knapp, Jr / Congress Blog:
End tax cuts for the wealthiest
Discussion: The Politico and CNN
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Pelosi and Hoyer split on holding tax vote before November elections
Quinnipiac University:
Little-Known New York Attorney General Candidates Tied, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Gillibrand Up By Only 6 Points  —  Two little-known candidates for New York State Attorney General, Democratic State Sen. Eric Schneiderman and Republican Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan …
RELATED:
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire:
Very Different Poll Results in New York
Discussion: New York Magazine
Harriet Johnson Brackey / Sun-Sentinel:
Man's home sold out from under him in foreclosure mistake  —  (Robert Duyos, Sun Sentinel / September 22, 2010)  —  When Jason Grodensky bought his modest Fort Lauderdale home last December, he paid cash.  But seven months later, he was surprised to learn that Bank of America had foreclosed on the house …
RELATED:
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture:   Man without Mortgage Loses Home in Foreclosure
Washington Post:
Two of Obama's closest advisers among those likely to leave in White House shuffle  —  In his nearly two years in office, President Obama has relied on a very small clique of advisers that serves as his most trusted sounding board on politics and policy.  —  Members of his staff describe Obama …
RELATED:
Bill Plante / CBS News:
Axelrod Leaving WH; Emmanuel Likely Next  —  Sources say President's 2 Closest Advisors Heading for Other Pursuits in Latest News on Pending D.C. Shakeup  —  (CBS) President Obama's inner circle will likely be losing some key players.  CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante reports …
Josh Margolin / New Jersey Online:
Gov. Christie confronts heckler at California GOP candidate's political rally  —  LOS ANGELES — True to his tough-guy persona, Gov. Chris Christie mixed it up today with a political naysayer, who heckled California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman at a political rally.
James C. McKinley Jr / New York Times:
A Claim of Pro-Islam Bias in Textbooks  —  HOUSTON — Some conservative members of the Texas Board of Education assert that the history books used in this state have a pro-Islamic bias, and they are upset about it.  —  Never shy about wading into the culture wars, they are planning …
RELATED:
CBS News:
Texas Board of Ed: Textbooks Are Anti-Christian
Wcbsmark / CBS New York:
Cuomo Caught Lying About Voting For Bloomberg?  —  NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There has been a dramatic development in the race for New York governor.  —  A new poll has Republican Carl Paladino within striking distance of Democrat Andrew Cuomo as voters say they want to elect someone who will stop the circus in Albany.
RELATED:
David Axelrod / Washington Post:
The election campaigners we can't see  —  All of Washington is in a frenzy, speculating about the outcome of the fall elections.  Yet the development that could most tip the scales is getting far too little public attention.  That hidden factor is the audacious stealth campaign being mounted …
Glen Bolger / Public Opinion Strategies:
National Survey Highlights Dem Problems in Key Seats  —  Last week, I conducted a national survey for American Action Network.  The two key political environment questions show the significant opportunity Republicans have this year.  While the overall numbers on the President's approval rating …
Discussion: Ben Smith's Blog and Hot Air
Keith Bradsher / New York Times:
Amid Tension, China Blocks Vital Exports to Japan  —  HONG KONG — Sharply raising the stakes in a dispute over Japan's detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain, the Chinese government has blocked exports to Japan of a crucial category of minerals used in products like hybrid cars, wind turbines and guided missiles.
Alexander C. Hart / The New Republic:
Lying With Graphs, Republican Style  —  The Republican “Pledge to America” is out, and I'll give them some credit: there are more concrete policies in there than I've seen Republicans suggest in a long while.  Sure, they ideas are largely terrible, overly simplistic, or some combination of the two.
Kevin Sack / New York Times:
For Many, Health Care Relief Begins Today  —  Sometimes lost in the partisan clamor about the new health care law is the profound relief it is expected to bring to hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been stricken first by disease and then by a Darwinian insurance system.
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
The GOP's Fiscal Fraudulence  —  One tiny part of me hoped that after the GOP spending binge of the Bush years, and the alleged Tea Party commitment to turn the page on growing government, the Republicans, like the Tories in Britain, would run on a clear platform of massive spending cuts …
Discussion: Hit & Run and Balloon Juice
Richard Huff / NY Daily News:
'The Daily Show's' Jon Stewart and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly fling jokes left and right at each other  —  When the camera's off, “The Daily Show's” Jon Stewart and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly talk about kids and summer vacations.  —  But the moment the red light goes on, everything changes …
Discussion: Raw Story
Andy Barr / The Politico:
Sarah Palin: I'll run if nobody else steps up  —  Former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin gave her strongest indication yet that she may run for president Wednesday night, saying she would jump into the race if “nobody else were to step up” with the proposals she wants to see.
Zaid Jilani / Think Progress:
Newly Declassified Documents Show Bush Administration Looked For Excuse To Start War In Iraq In Nov. 2001  —  The Bush administration has long maintained they had not decided to invade Iraq until the days before it actually began and that they did “everything” they could to “avoid war in Iraq.”
Hillary Kelly / The New Republic:
The Complete Christine O'Donnell  —  From witchcraft to masturbation to carbon-dating to recycled virginity to mosh pits.  —  You've heard about her run-ins with witchcraft and masturbation.  You've heard about her financial troubles.  But there's so much more—a treasure trove of quotations that are worth reading in the original.
Mike Allen / Associated Press:
Bill Clinton to John F. Harris: Obama's way to win in 2010, 2012 - Obama at U.N.: ‘teachings of tolerance’ can help Israeli-Palestinian standoff - House GOP ‘Pledge to America’: Cut Congress' budget  —  DAVID AXELROD e-mails JON WARD: “I'll be here well into 2011.
Discussion: TPMDC
 
 
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 More Items: 
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Paul Ryan is a Man Who Takes His Responsibilities as a Public Official Seriously
Washington Wire:
Transcript of Obama's Remarks to the U.N. General Assembly
Discussion: New York Magazine
Agence France Presse:
‘US runs Afghan force to hunt militants in Pakistan’
Discussion: The Jawa Report and Weasel Zippers
MikeM / Confederate Yankee:
The Erik Scott Shooting: Update 2
Discussion: Vox Popoli
Gail Sheehy / The Daily Beast:
Obama's Fire Sale
David Neiwert / Crooks and Liars:
Memo to right-wingers: That ‘bearded Marxist’ …
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Jim Hoft / Gateway Pundit:
Socialist Member on Obama's Debt Commission: If We Reduce Spending …
 Earlier Items: 
David Bernstein / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Dahlia Lithwick: It's “Weird” …
Justin Elliott / Salon:
The militias' man in the Senate?
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Senate Forecast: Republican Takeover Chances Improved, but Democrats …
William Bender / Philly.com:
In Bucks County, a bitter poll for Murphy to swallow
Discussion: Capitol Ideas … and Ballot Box