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More midterm mania

The New York Times examines former President Clinton getting into campaign mode, noting that his schedule shows him making 40 campaign appearances in 16 states.  And that's on top of 40 events he's done since the spring.  (One thing to keep in mind, as the Hotline's Chuck Todd wrote a while back: In 2004, Clinton stumped for seven Democrats, and all of them ended up losing.) 

Like the MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon polls released earlier this week, a series of USA Today/Gallup polls show that Democrats stand a real chance to taking control of the Senate.  The paper also provides the lay of the land in the nation's governor races.

CALIFORNIA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has once again said something controversial, the Sacramento Bee reports.  "No stranger to sensitive ethnic remarks,… Schwarzenegger drew criticism Thursday for saying Mexican Americans have acculturation problems 'because they are so close to their country here' while collectively praising Asian Americans for 'assimilating into the American way of living.'" 

Schwarzenegger and Democratic challenger Phil Angelides will face off tomorrow in their only scheduled debate, which could be Angelides' last chance to deliver a serious blow to the incumbent.  Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Schwarzenegger is confident and does not plan to practice, while Angelides has been frustrated by the choice of moderator. 

The Wall Street Journal says the Democratic candidate for Foley's seat in FLORIDA "illustrates the ideological compromises the party is making to retake the House.  A self-described conservative Democrat, Mr. Mahoney is a former Republican who didn't switch his party affiliation until 2005.  He describes Ronald Reagan as a political hero and himself as a 'conservative Christian.'" He talks about the need to reduce abortions, though he doesn't favor banning them." 

Some counties in Foley's district say they won't inform voters that his name has been replaced on the ballot.  Per the Miami Herald, "The debate encompasses more than just contradictory memos laden with legal jargon.  It's a partisan clash -- one that could end up in court -- between Democrats eager for [Mahoney] to capture Foley's former seat and Republicans trying to keep control of Congress." 

Among other topics important to voters, like Iraq and Social Security, candidates for Florida's 22nd district discussed the Foley scandal in a debate last night.  While state Sen. Ron Klein (D) argued that the Foley incident is a sign that change is needed in Washington, Rep. Clay Shaw (R) called the scandal a "tragedy" but would not comment on whether he thinks Hastert should resign. 

As opponent Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R), attempts to paint him as soft on crime, MASSACHUSETTS gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick (D) apologized for downplaying his role in attempting to help a convicted rapist.  The Boston Globe reported this week that Patrick failed to disclose that he had written two letters on the inmate's behalf and helped pay for a DNA test.

In OHIO, the Columbus Dispatch says, vulnerable Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) is downplaying her friendship with Foley.  "Last month, when Columbus Monthly magazine asked her to list some of her friends in Washington, Rep. Deborah Pryce mentioned Rep. Mark Foley as one of them.  Now, that seemingly innocuous comment has become part of Pryce's close re-election race against Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy." 

And Republican National Committee chair Ken Mehlman campaigns with Senate nominee Mike McGavick and vulnerable GOP Rep. Dave Reichert in WASHINGTON STATE.