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The Morning Line: The Money Argument

The Morning Line

President Obama may have softened his line of attack against the Chamber of Commerce and its intake of foreign money once the facts didn’t appear to be on his side. But the Democratic National Committee is still keeping the outside money story front and center with its new television ad, which airs on national cable this week, going after Republican Party leaders Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove and the Chamber of Commerce for funding outside group ads hammering the Democrats.

There is little doubt that Democratic Party leaders are playing up their complaints about outside group money in the election to help energize the base of the party.

But there is little evidence that this is an argument motivating droves of Democrats to the polls.

And the New York Times delivered a huge blow to the Democrats’ claim that foreign money is being collected by the Chamber of Commerce in order to influence the 2010 midterm elections:

“. . . a closer examination shows that there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents,” wrote Eric Lichtblau in Saturday’s New York Times.

With 9.6 percent unemployment and a pervasive discontent across the country, it is not a surprise that Democrats would seek to dominate the headlines with something other than the massive headwinds they face, but trying to find a single voter who will cast their ballot based on outside interest group spending may be hard to do.

PALADINO’S PROBLEMS

Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor in New York, appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday morning in an attempt to clarify his recent remarks about homosexuality and his desire to not see children “brainwashed” into thinking it was a valid or successful option in life.

It is unclear his morning show appearance will do anything to tamp down the controversy.

As he did yesterday at a campaign event with Orthodox Jews, Mr. Paladino again criticized his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, for bringing his children to a gay pride parade

After Paladino made his comments Sunday, Cuomo campaign spokesman Josh Vlasto issued this statement: “Mr. Paladino’s statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality. These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York.”

Mr. Paladino said his only problem with homosexuality is gay marriage. He is firmly opposed to it.

“My feelings about homosexuality are no different than the Catholic Church,” he added.

A MOUNTAIN OF TROUBLE

The National Republican Senatorial Committee may have taken down its controversial television ad that called for casting “hicky” actors to play West Virginians, but Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin is continuing to hammer his opponent over the spot.

The Manchin campaign released a new television ad Saturday called “Hicks” that targets his Republican opponent, John Raese.

“John Raese thinks we’re hicks,” says the narrator. “His people hired actors from Philadelphia to attack Joe Manchin and told them to dress hicky. It’s insulting. And, he didn’t even apologize.”

The firestorm over the NRSC ad erupted late last week after Politico reported the spot, which showed three regular guys sitting in a diner discussing Manchin, turned out to be filmed in Philadelphia using actors. The casting call read, “We are going for a ‘Hicky’ Blue Collar look.”

Manchin also hopes his campaign will get a boost Monday when former President Bill Clinton visits Morgantown to stump with the governor.

TEA PARTY POWER

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie may say he does not have presidential ambitions in 2012 but that didn’t stop a tea party convention in Virginia over the weekend from voting him the winner of its straw poll.

Christie took 15 percent of the 1,560 votes cast at the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Convention. He was followed by former Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin at 14.6 percent, Texas GOP Rep. Ron Paul at 12 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 8.5 percent and South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint at 7 percent.

While Christie has said he will not run for national office, the New Jersey governor has raised his profile in recent weeks, embarking on an endorsement tour that included Republican gubernatorial candidates such as Meg Whitman in California and Terry Branstad in Iowa.

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