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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cal Cunningham 

There's chatter this a.m. over at BlueNC about Cal Cunningham, who's obviously itching to get into the Democratic senatorial primary for a chance to face "Bank Panic Dick" Burr, the Invisible Senator, next year. A whole host of possible candidates -- including Cunningham, Elaine Marshall, Dennis Wicker, and Bob Etheridge -- are waiting for Sen. Robert Menendez, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, to tap the DSCC's pick, since a lot of money and tactical support would come with the tapping. Coronation by the DSCC would also winnow the field pretty quickly.

We've had a chance to meet and hear Mr. Cunningham speak a couple of times recently, and we're impressed that he would take the fight to Burr and is probably best equipped to generate enthusiasm among that newest Democratic demographic, the 18-30 age group. He's honing his attack on Burr and drawing the necessary distinctions.

Chuck Schumer, head of the DSCC two years ago, picked Kay Hagan to run against Liddy Dole. Robert Menendez will do the picking this year. It's not necessarily the way we'd like to see our senatorial candidates picked, but that's the way it is. Period.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dick Burr a Goner? 

A quite knowledgeable political insider using the name "Gosh" has posted an astute assessment of Sen. Dick Burr's prospects for reelection at "Under the Dome" (under a thread about the probability that Roy Cooper will run):
Every state has and needs a Star Senator and a Wonk Senator. The Star's job is to raise money, win, and protect the wonk that actually does stuff. Our Star [Liddy] Dole lost, and in the minority aftermath, Burr not only didn't shine as a star but said no a lot to wonk stuff that would make him more effective in order to fill Dole's void. Burr trying to be it all, is equivalent to Burr doing nothing, or everything half-bottomed.

Burr was still learning to be a Junior Senator when his safety net Dole got tossed by 10 points.

Now he's less than nothing, and bad at even that. Burr's neither a star nor a wonk and solidly outclassed by even more Junior members now that he's in the minority.

All partisanship aside, Burr contributes nothing to North Carolina now, and it's not his fault entirely. He just can't. He's already lost. Blame Dole, McCain, Palin, whomever you like. The guy just has no independent presence to break free from the stigma of his own party's failures. He simply can't please the wingnuts and mainstream constituents at the same time, and he's trying to do both.

What the DC Republicans need to determine is if Burr's worth spending $20, $30, $40 million or more to prop up and even make it a close race even though he's still a goner. For the history books, they passed on [Robin] Hayes and were right.

Still, it's a hard decision to make since the GOP has scant places left to go or spend money. So I still predict NC to be the hottest, most expensive Senate race in America in 2010. But only because the GOP giving up and going home is no longer an option. Homeless parties have no place to go.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Dick Burr Targeted by DSCC 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, led by New Jersey's Robert Menendez, is targeting NC's Dick Burr for defeat in 2010. No surprise that, with the powerful mojo of Kay Hagan's "impossible" defeat of super-celeb Liddy Dole last November still percolating.

There's going to be heavy pressure on Attorney General Roy Cooper to step up. Heath Shuler's prospects seem far less bright ever since he joined House Republicans in opposing the Obama stimulus bill.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Hagan Drops Libel Suit Against Dole 

Since, apparently, Liddy's losing the election was punishment enough.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Godless American Defeats Dole 

According to Five Thirty-Eight.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Wasn't an Idle Threat 

Kay Hagan is suing Elizabeth Dole for the she's-an-atheist TV ad, as she promised to do yesterday if the ad wasn't taken off the air. Dole responded, "Up yours," so Hagan says she's going to the law. She has 20 days to file the libel complaint, so we'll have to wait. It's the principle of the thing, no matter how the election is decided. Looks like defamation to us (though our law degree is a bit dusty), and Dole ought to pay the piper for that particular tune she chose to play.

In the meantime, Gary Pearce recaps political libel suits from the recent past in NC. In 1988, Jim Gardner beat Tony Rand for lieutenant governor. Rand later sued Gardner over an ad that associated Rand with drug dealers, and Rand apparently won a big settlement from Gardner. Pearce says "apparently" since the case was sealed as part of the settlement.

After the election of 2000, Attorney General Roy Cooper was accused of libeling an opponent. A suit resulted, but once again any settlement is shielded from public view

Following the election of 2002, Carolyn Grant filed a similar suit against Congressman Brad Miller following Miller's first win of his seat in the 13th Congressional Dist. Miller made accusations that Grant took $40,000 from her son's college fund to buy a car. According to the Fox News candidate profile of Miller, Grant was given the right to pursue the lawsuit, but she dropped it in 2006, not, according to Pearce, before Miller was forced to spend a lot of money defending himself.

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Liddy Dole's Naked Desperation 

The Charlotte Observer editorializes today that Liddy Dole's Kay-Hagan-doesn't-believe-in-God ad is "indecent." It is Dole's apparent attempt to get down to Jesse Helms's level of campaign rhetoric, says the Observer, which invokes Helms's infamous "white hands" ad against Harvey Gantt in 1990. Somewhere, the late Helms must be "smiling and cheering from the great beyond."

The ad, says the Observer, "is also a deliberate attempt by Dole's campaign not just to distort the truth, but to shatter Hagan's admirable record as an elder for more than a decade in Greensboro's First Presbyterian Church, as a Sunday School teacher and a volunteer in her church's fundraising campaigns, worship services and community service programs."

But here's the real question: if Dole's claim against her opponent is that Hagan doesn't believe in God and Liddy Dole DOES, we'd like very much to know what God sanctions this kind of lying. Would he be MAMMON?

Carter Wrenn, guru of NC conservative Republicans: "My guess is the next sound you may hear will be the roof falling in on Liddy Dole."

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Republican End-Game: Close Your Eyes and Swing Wild 

The dangers of treating Joe the Plumber like a foreign policy expert. He gets totally embarrassed by (get this!) Shep Smith on Faux News.

Then there's Liddy Dole, trying to tag Kay Hagan as "godless." Mark Binker of the News & Record has the most complete coverage of Dole's last minute smear, noting that Hagan "is about as angry as I've ever heard her." Hagan is, fer gawd's sake, a Sunday school teacher at a Greensboro Presbyterian Church.

We predicted the GOP would go lower than we've ever seen them go before, but we wouldn't necessarily have predicted that Dole would be the leader of that particular slime crew.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama, Hagan Expand N.C. Leads 

Late-breaking news from Public Policy Polling. Here and here.

From the PPP press release:
Barack Obama is now out to his largest lead yet in a PPP survey of North Carolina, polling at 51% in the state compared to 44% for John McCain. Last week Obama's advantage was 49-46.

Independent voters continue to move toward Obama in droves. He now has a 51-33 lead with them. He's also now up to receiving 82% of the Democratic vote. Staying over the 80% threshold there would almost certainly ensure a victory in North Carolina.

McCain now leads among white voters just 55-39, an edge that's not nearly enough given Obama's 92-6 lead with black voters. George W. Bush won about two thirds of the white vote against both John Kerry and Al Gore in North Carolina....

In North Carolina's US Senate race challenger Kay Hagan continues to lead incumbent Elizabeth Dole, as she has now in PPP's last seven surveys of the race. Hagan's advantage is now up to 49-42. Hagan is annihilating Dole among suburban voters, 56-38. She's also shoring up her support with the key Democratic constituency of black voters, with whom she is now ahead 84-7, an improvement from 78-12 a week ago....

PPP surveyed 1,200 likely voters on October 18th and 19th. The survey's margin of error is +/- 2.8%....

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our Mailbag Floweth Over 

Just this week has brought a plethora -- a PLETHORA, we tell you! -- of political mail, some of which deserves actual reading:

1. Today, a letter from John McCain: "Dear Friend, We've reached a critical juncture in the campaign...."

Surely you jest, Sir. An actual "critical juncture"?

"...I would not ask for your help if the circumstances were not so dire," John continues.

We know. We've been actually paying attention. Sarah Palin turned out to be a bit of a problem, right? and that Christopher Buckley endorsement of Obama was a bit of a slap.

But still, Senator, you're trying to get big bucks out of us and you don't even use the adjective "liberal" once? Not ONCE?? Just how desperate are you, anyway? And you don't even want the money yourself. You want me to send it to ... the Republican National Committee? Death by proxy?

2. Speaking of ambiguous gestures, one of our pieces (actually, we got two, which doesn't speak well about the GOP's wasteful habits) was from that selfsame Republican National Committee ... a four-color, four-page item headlined "AMERICA, The Land That I Love" ... at which point we have to turn the page to discover that Barack Obama will take away "our traditional American values." Then on the third panel, it quotes the National Journal, the very publication that yesterday accepted the resignation of Christopher Buckley for endorsing Barack Obama, because of his love of America. Ooooh. Damn inconvenient irony, that!

3. "Meet Jerry Butler," suggests a third piece, its message of friendly neighbor-over-the-fence introduction undercut somewhat by that big off-putting photo of the candidate. Eighty percent of success is good lighting, we've always heard.

4. The biggest, the glossiest four-color, four-page piece comes from The Madam, with multiple photographs of Virginia Foxx wedging herself into family reunion shots with lots of creeped-out children. If the goal here is to try to humanize the inhuman, we're afraid it doesn't quite work. While the people she's pictured with seem secure in their ordinary reality, Madam Foxx stares down the camera like a tensed up puma, waiting to spring.

5. Another big glossy mailing attacking Barack Obama, from the Republican National Committee. Looks like they've got plenty of money, John.

6. Dan Soucek, posing in his military uniform. Interesting special pleading, that. "Paid for by Soucek for NC House."

7. "Republican Dan Soucek: Proudly Pro-Life." "Paid for by the North Carolina Republican State Executive Committee."

8. through 13. Attack pieces against U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan (and suddenly, true political desperation has an outline). Heavy involvement here by outside groups. Three of these five pieces were paid for by the Associated Builders and Contractors Free Enterprise Alliance. One of their pieces is proud of Elizabeth Dole because she'll drill for oil everywhere immediately. The other claims that North Carolina has the highest tax burden in the Southeast and blames the patently pro-business Kay Hagan for that. (That first claim is just pure buffalo dust; the second, laughable.) The third uses "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" as though Kay Hagan were the Washington insider rather than Elizabeth Dole. The last two anti-Hagan pieces came from Freedom's Watch, which, according to Wikipedia, was formed in 2007 primarily to support the Bush administration and especially the Bush administration's policy in Iraq. Apparently, Kay Hagan is a threat to the Bush legacy.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Losing Focuses the Mind 

The big-time Raleigh Republican political consultant firm of Fetzer-Stephens says it's getting out of the politics business after November 4th. The fact that they're Liddy Dole's campaign advisors and that she's been on a straight downward track in her try for reelection might have something to do with it. If Liddy Dole is beaten by Kay Hagan, it'll be one of the larger earthquakes in N.C. history.

Fetzer-Stephens' stepping back from politics might also have something to do with another of their recent clients ... Bill Graham's campaign for governor in the Republican primary earlier this year. Graham finished third.

Fetzer-Stephens plans to move into pet adoptions, specializing in kitty-cats.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Consequences of Memory 

"There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, 'Wolf!' Why didn't you come?"

An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.

"We'll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning," he said, putting his arm around the youth. "Nobody believes a liar ... even when he is telling the truth!"
--"The Boy Who Cried Wolf"

Reading congressional reaction to the Bush administration's attempt to scare our reps. into agreeing to El Presidente's latest attempt at a massive power grab (a.k.a., the Paulson plan to spend $800 billion hauling Wall Street's nuts out of the brazier), we are strongly reminded of the cautionary tale from kindergarten days, the ending of which is copied above as a life lesson. Our Little Boy in the White House has cried "wolf!" several times too many.

Virginia Foxx (who should know a wolf when she sees one) objected strenuously to the $85 billion bailout of AIG last week, but Foxx says now she's not sure how she'll vote on the $700 billion. If she reads her own quote in the press, surely she'll vote against it: "looks like a blank check with no accountability. Taxpayers deserve better." You betcha, Congresswoman. (Must be a blue moon tonight, since I'm agreeing with The Madam.)

Other N.C. members of both House and Senate are expressing something steelier than mere skepticism. Let's hope their resistance spreads like a virus through Congress:
"I'm not willing to vote for $700 billion to save an industry that comes out just as crooked on the other end. I want real reforms." --Rep. Brad Miller (NC-13)

"Lots of people were asking 'Will there be something in this package for people who are trying to pay off their mortgages but having trouble, and not just people on Wall Street?' " --Rep. Mel Watt (NC-12)

"I just don't like the idea of these corporations, who made all these mistakes, all of a sudden saying, 'OK, Mr. Taxpayer, it's time for you to bail us out. [The Bush administration has] tried to panic the American people." --Walter Jones (NC-3)

"I don't think those advocating for the rescue have fully made their case. I have very serious concerns that this proposal could leave taxpayers holding the bag." --Sen. Elizabeth Dole

"Ultimately, my responsibility is to the American taxpayer, who will be the underwriter of this dramatic proposal." --Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10)

Okay, we're reading that the Bushies are compromising on some things, but greater over-sight and accountability...? Dunno. Who does?

Thing is, we can recognize an attempted stampede when we see one, a stampede caused by Grade-A known liars.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hagan Pulls Ahead of Dole in Senate Race 

Public Policy Polling credits the "Liddy Dole is 93" ads paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

You can expect Liddy to counter-punch. She still has a pile o' cash approximately as high as an elephant's eye.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Liddy Dole Is 93 

Well, dammit, it IS funny. Which is generally the first requirement for going viral.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Liddy Dole, "The Obvious Choice for VP" 

You never know what'll come out of the Left Coast. (Tofu on the grill, for example, was a total surprise.) This professor of political science at UCLA writes today in the LATimes that Liddy Dole is (seriously) "the obvious choice" for McCain's vice president ... precisely because she would be approximately 103 years old by the end of the McCain presidency and hence not a viable candidate to succeed The Oldest President Ev-ah, and, besides, we need to return the vice presidency to "the black hole" it traditionally was, and who better to accomplish the pinnacle of mediocrity than Elizabeth Dole?

We like this guy's reasoning (and definitely want some of what he's been smoking) and would welcome the spectacle of Liddy Dole's running simultaneously for both her Senate seat and as John McCain's handmaiden.

You couldn't buy entertainment like that on Pay-Per-View.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Foxx Will Attend Republican Convention 

...according to Lisa Zagaroli, while Liddy Dole, Sue Myrick, Robin Hayes, and Howard Coble are staying far away.

Perhaps the Madam figgers she'll have a cleared aisle for getting El Presidente in one of her arm-locks, in order to swap saliva with him, since so many of her fellow Republicans have decided to avoid him. At least in public.

Yes, this is what we're talking about.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ranked 93rd in the Senate for Effectiveness 

The first hit on Liddy Dole, doled out by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Forty years in Washington? Really? And has WHAT to show for it (other than a fabulous Watergate apartment)?

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Liddy Dole, Getting Busy 

News this a.m. that Sen. Liddy Dole is shedding -- quicker'n a scared rabbit -- the $10,000 she received this election cycle from indicted fellow Republican Sen. Ted Stevens.

Plus she's announced that she won't be attending the National Republican Convention this year, a gathering where she's been a featured star speaker during the last three quadrennia. Dole's sudden allergy to fellow Republicans reminds us a little of The Guv's long history of eschewing fellow Democrats, and maybe it'll work for Liddy the way it's worked for Mike.

Hell, we guess that now that Liddy has refound the state that elected her to the Senate, she'll be putting up a cot at her mama's old home in Salisbury and pretending that she's been living here all along.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Agree to Republican Values, Or This Kitten Gets It! 

No, seriously, Carl Mumpower (which is a GREAT name, particularly in this instance), the Republican candidate running against incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler in the NC-11, has suspended his campaign until Republican leaders in the counties in his district pledge to support Republican values.

Okay, okay, he says he'll resume his campaign if HALF the counties pledge to support Republican values.

The Asheville Citizen-Times has the only slightly less loopy details here.

Mumpower ("Just Say Shuuuush to Power!") is particularly pissed that fellow Republican Liddy Dole recently voted to override President Bush's veto of the Farm Bill. In June, Mumpower said he would support impeachment of President Bush over "the illegal immigration problem."

And you thought the silly season was long over!

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Crack Whore 

Looking for a fix, Republican candidate for NC guv Pat McCrory now says he's in favor of punching holes in the sea floor off the North Carolina coast. Gonna git that awl. Which'll make it possible to keep running all these SUVs up and down the road. Sez he'll issue an "executive order" once he's guv. Since he'll be god and all.

NC-11 Congressman Heath Shuler labels this oily pandering as a "lack of maturity" in his fellow House Republicans.
Shuler said oil and gas companies already hold leases on nearly 68 million acres of federal land that could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. That would nearly double total U.S. oil production and would increase natural gas production by 75 percent, he said.

Instead of insisting that Big Oil drill the leases they already hold, Republican politicians posture for the cameras and tout the "easy fix" of drilling off our coasts and in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Like Madam Foxx. And pathetic Liddy Dole.

And now Pat McCrory.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Debates at the Beach 

Saturday’s opening head-to-head debate between incumbent Sen. Liddy Dole and challenger Kay Hagan during the NC Bar Association's annual meeting at Atlantic Beach produced this welcome description of Hagan, from the indispensible Laura Leslie: "Hagan ... came across as down-to-earth, confident, smart, and most of all scrappy, which she'll need to be to pull this off. She came out swinging and never let up."

We like scrappy.

Dole, on the other hand, in "TV makeup," was "distinctly grande-dame -- dignified, confident, witty, and impeccably prepared."

Leslie scored it a draw.

Gov. candidate Bev Perdue didn't do as well in her debate with Pat McCrory, with the crowd of lawyers seeming to favor McCrory (though some apparently thought McCrory was a bit shallow on detail).

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

NC GOP in Full Whine Mode 

How DARE NC Democrats remind people that George W. Bush is a Republican! Why would anyone even care that Sen. Liddy Dole has been a Washington bobblehead for Bush policies? Or that John McCain trips over his own legs trying to line up with El Presidente (most recently on off-shore oil-drilling, which McCain used to oppose).

Because no Republican would ever associate one politician with another to make a political point.

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The NC Senate's Proposed Budget 

Very interesting thread called "Dear Senator Hagan" over at BlueNC, and if you want to educate yourself a little about the NC Senate's proposed budget, its implications and the roles of Kay Hagan and Walter Dalton in the making of it, and how it's a document that might seem to give political cover to the reelection of Sen. Liddy Dole, against whom Kay Hagan is supposed to be running, and the morality of children's health insurance specifically, on which topic do NOT miss Dan Besse's several comments in the thread ... then you should read it fer shur.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Is Anybody Home? 

Is Kay Hagan planning to run a campaign against Liddy Dole? Or not?

Dole runs TV spots creating the mirage that she's actually a North Carolinian, and her approval numbers go up. Meanwhile, we get only silence from Hagan.

Plus we heard a few days ago that Hagan wanted to follow the Bev Perdue primary pledge of running only a "positive campaign." Yikes.

Hagan said way back that she didn't want to run for the U.S. Senate. Guess she meant it.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Something's Going On in Kentucky 

Kentucky went for Bill Clinton in 1992 and for Hillary Clinton in the recent presidential primary. Apparently, Barack Obama makes the state feel all icky-poo, so write off Kentucky in this presidential race.

But wait a minute. A new Rasmussen poll shows long-serving Sen. Mitch McConnell in trouble, trailing his Democratic opponent Bruce Lunsford by five points. While John McCain leads Obama by 25 percentage points in Kentucky, only 67% of McCain supporters say they'll also vote for McConnell.

McConnell knows how to fight dirty, so look for TV ads of Bruce Lunsford morphing into Barack Obama.

Gosh, it was big news that Sen. Liddy Dole was in trouble in N.C. It's even bigger news that the Senate Minority Leader is in trouble.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

How Do You Revive an Elephant? interviewed a panel of Republican campaign experts and distilled their best thinking about the party's current political crisis, "Six Ways the GOP Can Save Itself."

In brief, the six "fixes":

1. Get a clue

2. Cut the crap

3. Beg for help

4. Burn the Bush

5. Change the pitch — and your face

6. Fan the fear

It's an interesting prescription, jangling with contradictions, especially in the way # 6 ("Fan the fear") clashes with the game-changing behavior advised elsewhere in the list. By "Fan the fear" those wise Republican operatives advise attacking the patriotism of Democrats (especially Obama, natch!) at every opportunity. Pardon us, but that's more of the crap that # 2 in the list says you should cut. Just saying.

You can read the discussion that goes with each of the six suggestions for yourself -- and it's entertaining reading! -- but # 4 is especially engaging: the advice to Republican office-holders is to run as far away from George W. Bush as humanly possible, and as fast. We reflect on the problem that scheme is going to pose for at least two of our North Carolina delegation, both Virginia Foxx and Liddy Dole. Both have proven to be dedicated yes-women to every presidential whim. Imagine them unplugged from the Bush command central. Why, it's unimaginable. And Foxx especially has already memorialized herself forever as the Sumo wrestler who would not be denied multiple smooches of the presidential mug.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Kay Hagen Within Striking Distance of Dole? 

Public Policy Polling says the Democratic winner of last week's Senate primary in N.C. is just 5 points off Dole. Hell, Rasmussen says Hagen is actually a point AHEAD of Dole.

Well, that's great (if slightly loopy), and Chuck Schumer needs to start coughing up all that dough he promised Hagen. Pronto.

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