More Drama In Minnesota: The Minnesota Republican Party grabbed headlines again late Wednesday, by criticizing Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith. Minnesota GOP chairman Tony Sutton said in a statement that Smith was changing "the rules in the middle of the game to advance" Democrat Mark Dayton's chances. At issue appears to be Smith attempting to add counting tables to her facility. "Smith also unsuccessfully tried to change the rules by expanding the number of tables and changing the 'sign in' rules for challenged ballots to discourage Emmer observers from lodging challenge," Sutton said. Hennepin is the state's largest county and has seen a distinct rise in ballot challenges from Republican Tom Emmer's team. As of Wednesday night, Emmer's team has challenged 679 ballots while Dayton has challenged 163, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State. Emmer's team has also issued hundreds more "frivolous" challenges. That comes after the Minnesota GOP made waves on Wednesday by saying it was considering lawsuits over "vouching" -- the process where a registered voter and vouch for an unregistered voter so he/she can register on Election Day -- and "reconciliation" -- the process the state goes through go make sure the number of votes cast match the number of voters. The frequency of the Republican complaints -- virtually one a day now -- suggests that Emmer and the GOP may be leaning toward legal action. Mark Drake, a spokesman for the GOP, told Hotline On Call that Wednesday's story line on vouching on reconciliation, however, was "blown out of proportion" and that the possible lawsuit is purely "hypothetical." The party, he said, "has made no decisions either way." http://bit.ly/eJnxtT Rangel Censure Vote: Keep an eye on the House Thursday, as the vote to censure Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is expected to take place. The New York Post reports that Rangel sent a last-ditch email to his supporters "asking them to flood Congress' switchboard with calls pleading he get a lesser punishment for breaking multiple ethics rules...Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle ridiculed the stunt, saying it was 'inappropriate' and added campaign-style politicking to the House ethics process." http://bit.ly/h01VhO Skyping The President: MoveOn.org is ramping up pressure on Pres. Obama not to compromise and extend the Bush-era tax cuts, airing a new ad on Wednesday that features submitted web videos from across the country. The 60-second ad is another example of the tight rope walk Obama is trying to do on the tax cuts. Polling shows a strong majority of Americans want some of the cuts cuts extended, but the left will be ultimately disappointed if Obama goes too far to reach a compromise with Republicans and extends them for wealthy Americans. "Mr. President, please do not compromise with the Republicans about extending the Bush tax cuts," one woman says in the ad. "I am in the highest tax bracket. We don't need the money--the country does!" adds another. It is unclear how long the ad will be on the air. MoveOn is now the second progressive group to take to the airwaves to pressure Obama on the issue. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee also went up with an ad Wednesday that uses Obama's own words on the issue when he was a candidate in 2007. http://bit.ly/dQGfyN AD: http://bit.ly/e5c4qs
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