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US Senate

Allen Closes Strong

Where was this guy in September?

Drop the defensiveness about Senate attendance records (which is playing completely on Collins' turf) and he's got a strong argument, one we should have been hearing more forcefully and more often before now.

Also from Jessica Alaimo's great field reporting: George Mitchell doesn't trust the polls.

Collins Emails Allen Ad

Campaigns often object to their opponents' negative ads, and sometimes even try to get them pulled off the air. Last night is the first time I've seen a campaign send their opponent's attack ad to their own email list.

The Collins campaign sent the email to tout her dominance of recent newspaper endorsements, but the piece also attacks an Allen ad for being dishonest, and the most prominent link in the email reads "Click here to listen to the ad." Clicking through allows the recipient to hear an mp3 of an Allen radio ad (hosted on Collins' servers) and read the campaigns rebuttal of one of its points - that the Collins campaign is unfairly criticizing Allen for missing votes due to family emergencies.

Interestingly, that particular attack is only about 12 seconds of the minute-long ad. The rest of the spot is about Collins' support of the Bush economic policies, claims that are not rebutted on that page.

NYTimes: Susan Collins Soars

The New York Times says Collins is "gliding towards a third term" and contrasts her position with the rest of the national Republican party.

While other Republican incumbents have found themselves brutally assailed by Democrats as allies of President Bush, who is mortally unpopular, and have seen their poll numbers plummet as a result of the financial crisis, Ms. Collins has offered Republicans a very bright spot on an otherwise bleak political map.

“She is absolutely untouchable,” said Rebecca Fisher, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “It truly is a case where she has elevated above party. She is their senator, and they love her, and they don’t care about anyone else.

Collins: "Scorecard"

The Collins campaign has posted the controversial ad on congressional effectiveness that's been airing for several days.

Gwen Allen, Tom's daughter, pushes back on the attendance issue in a letter-to-the-editor and a diary on TMB.

Collins Took Contribution From RoboCaller

Looks like Susan Collins took $1,000 from the robocaller whose tactics she recently denounced.

New Poll: Collins at +11, Obama at +6 in CD2

A new WCSH-WLBZ/SurveyUSA poll of 642 likely or actual voters conducted on Sunday and Monday finds Allen gaining on Collins, but likely not quickly enough to win the election now less than two weeks away. Collins leads 54-43 in the survey, compared to 55-39 four weeks ago.

This survey has a higher sampling of Democrats than the previous poll (28% of whom say they're voting for Collins).

The one ray of sunlight for Allen is the 14% of respondents who report that they've already voted. Allen is winning this group by 5 points (with a higher margin of error).

In the same poll, Obama is winning the second CD by 6 and the first by a stunning 22 points. In the poll 4 weeks ago, Obama led by 5 points in both districts.

It looks like McCain's spending in CD2 and the Palin visit have kept it from being a blowout like southern Maine, but this result puts it squarely in the second tier of battleground states, which include Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.

In a testament to his campaign's early voting operation, Obama leads by 27 points among those who have already voted. The poll has a ± 3.9% margin of error.

Pan Atlantic SMS will also be releasing a poll later today.

The Nation on Collins

Liberal magazine The Nation weighs in on Collins' lukewarm opposition to McCain's robocalls:

If Susan Collins wants to be like Margaret Chase Smith, she needs to make her own "Declaration of Conscience" -- and then she needs to act upon it.

[...]doesn't she need to speak up, forcefully and in detail about why the McCain campaign's tactics are wrong? Doesn't she need to take her party's nominee to task and say, as Margaret Chase Smith did more than half a century ago: "I don't want to see the Republican Party win that way."

And what if McCain does not listen to Collins? What if he and his campaign refuse to halt not just the robo calls but related smear tactics against Obama, who happens to be a colleague of the Maine senator?

If McCain refuses to right the course of his McCarthy-like campaign, shouldn't Collins quit as his campaign co-chair for Maine?

Kevin Wack thinks the robocall issue helps the Collins campaign and represents a tactical mistake by the Democrats.

If the new numbers from Research200/DailyKos are right, it doesn't really matter. The poll has Collins up by 13 points. They also have Obama up by 11 in the second district.

New Allen Ad: "Too Close"

The Allen campaign has launched a new 30-second spot making an assertion that he has been hammering home in their recent debates, that Susan Collins supports too many of the policies of the Bush administration and is therefore out of step with the people of Maine.

WGME US Senate Debate Highlights

Some highlights from Wednesday's in-studio debate:

Update: Here's the full debate.

Debate Questioner Responds

The last question of yesterday's US Senate debate was emailed in by "Jesse in Orono," who asked the candidates whether they believed Maine is better off than it was eight years ago. You can see their responses here at the 56:30 mark.

That sounded like something a guy I know named Jesse who lives in Orono might ask, and after a brief email exchange, he confirmed he was the origin of the question and sent along his thoughts about the candidates' responses.

I thought Susan Collins pretty much brushed my question off. The economic and energy crises certainly don't make things any better in Maine, but they're relatively recent developments that came as the result, not the cause, of our situation as whole. I thought her talk about partisan rancor was a platitude at best; it in no way addresses the policies that got us where we are or the ones that will take us into the future, and sounds hollow to me coming from a figure who has a record of siding with her party on so many key issues.

Tom Allen, I felt, did a better job of answering the question. Both candidates acknowledged that we certainly aren't better off today than we were in 2000, but Allen discussed some of the decisions that got us where we are and how he, unlike his opponent, opposed them. He also spoke of our need for change, which I appreciated; it is a topic oft-discussed in the Presidential Race, but the next President won't be able to effectively enact real change without a Congress that is ready to do the same.

Take this with a grain of salt. Jesse, a Democrat, says he's "not an undecided voter by any means."