Politics 101: Clinton backs Newsom

The Clintons don’t forget their friends, and reward support with support.

So Bill Clinton — who has spent the year on a long, quiet loyalty tour of fundraisers for Hillary supporters — will dive into one of next year’s premier races, endorsing Gavin Newsom for Governor of California.

A Dodd rebound?

After spending much of August recuperating from prostate cancer surgery, embattled Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has seen his political standing improve, at least according to a new poll commissioned by the Daily Kos.

The poll shows Dodd’s approval rating almost as high as his disapproval rating: 43 percent of Connecticut voters view him favorably, while 47 percent view him unfavorably. Those still aren’t great numbers, but there are at about the same level as Dodd’s Democratic Senate colleague Joseph Lieberman.

And Dodd also only trails former Republican congressman Rob Simmons by four points, 46 to 42 percent. In a July Quinnipiac poll, Dodd trailed Simmons by nine points. 

As the best-known Republican candidate, Simmons led the GOP primary field with 38 percent of the vote – with state senator Sam Caligiuri lagging well behind at seven percent.  Libertarian fave Peter Schiff, even though he’s raised nearly $1 million, only tallied one percent.

Dodd is still one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents up for re-election, lagging behind a GOP challenger in a solidly-Democratic state. But, with the worst headlines behind him, it looks like he’s already hit rock bottom, and has been stabilizing his political standing.

And with the Republicans facing the likelihood of a contested nomination –WWE CEO Linda McMahon is now looking to enter the ring – Dodd’s prospects look like they’re on the upswing.

Obama on Sunday shows — minus Fox

President Obama is doing the "full Ginsberg" this weekend, as the circuit of Sunday shows is known.

Actually, it’s the improved full Ginsberg: Along with the three big broadcast networks, Obama will appear on CNN and Univision.

Left out: Fox News Sunday, which the Bush Administration made a key venue for top officials, and which is now suffering for its network’s hostility to the White House.

Pete Stark won’t pee on your leg

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif), was getting the tea party treatment at a meeting with seniors in Fremont when a 65-plus guy in the audience launched into a diatribe about the public option.

The man, to the hoots and hollers of his compatriots in the crowd, concluded with: "Mr. Congressman, don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining."

"I wouldn’t dignify you by peeing on your leg, it wouldn’t be worth wasting the urine," said Stark, who recently referred to Blue Dog Dems as "brain-dread."

Stark delivers these lines in sotto voce, with mordant humor. Later, when another angry person suggested he was "lying" about the reforms, he said, "Whether you think I’m a liar or not, I still want to get your input — and I’ll make up how I’m gonna lie about it after i get it."

“Tea Party” Leader Melts Down On CNN: Obama Is An “Indonesian Muslim Turned Welfare Thug” (VIDEO)

“Tea Party” leader Mark Williams appeared on a CNN panel on “Anderson Cooper 360” last night and promptly set to work discrediting himself and his movement. Williams denounced those carrying blatantly racist signs against President Obama during the tea parties as “no more part of the mainstream of America than the hippies who wear nipple clips and feather boas in San Francisco streets during so-called peace demonstrations.”

Cooper had done his homework, however, and caught Williams blatantly misrepresenting himself: “What you’re saying makes sense to me here when I’m hearing what you say but then I read on your blog, you say, you call the President an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief.”

Williams shrugs and responds, “Yeah, that’s the way he’s behaving.” An incredulous Cooper asks Williams if he really believes Obama is an Indonesian Muslim and a welfare thug. The tea party leader digs the hole a little deeper: “He’s certainly acting like it. Until he embraces the whole country what else can I conclude.”

WATCH: (H/t Jon)

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Jon Stewart Returns, Slams Glenn Beck And Tea Party Protesters (VIDEO)

The “Daily Show” returned last night after a three-week hiatus, the longest in the show’s history. While August was a surprisingly eventful month, Stewart focused on the events of the past week, taking on Joe Wilson for his outburst at the president and Fox News for its coverage of the most recent tea party protest in DC.

He began that segment by showing clips of Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin criticizing Bush’s protesters, calling them “extremists” throwing a “temper tantrum.” He juxtaposed these words with their laudatory coverage of the protest this weekend noting, “In Fox’s defense you can’t really sh*t on a party you’ve thrown.”

Stewart went on to criticize Glenn Beck for his 9/12 project saying it’s nothing more than “impotent rage.”

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Biden In Baghdad On Surprise Visit

BAGHDAD — Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq Tuesday on a previously unannounced mission to show the White House remains focused on the Iraq war despite military pullbacks and increased attention on Afghanistan.

The trip is Biden’s third this year and is a chance for him to meet with the full range of Iraqi leaders both in Baghdad’s central government and those of the Kurdish region in the northeast of the country, where violence continues to flare.

Biden also is to meet with members of the United Nations mission in the country, U.S. officials said.

Biden, who oversees Iraq policy for the Obama administration, made his last visit to the country on July 4 to spend the U.S. Independence Day with the troops. During that trip, he also met with his son, Beau, who is an Army captain serving in Iraq.

Iraq’s government hopes that on this visit the U.S. vice president will have suggestions on how to ease tension with Syria, which Iraq’s prime minister has accused of harboring Saddam Hussein loyalists wanted in recent bombings.

Iraqi leaders also plan to discuss their preparations for January’s national elections and persistent violence in the country’s north, said an Iraqi government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

As the number of bombings and other attacks declines elsewhere in Iraq, the north remains a battleground between Sunni Arab extremists and Iraqi and U.S. forces.