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GOP Turmoil

Here are the latest polls:
USA Today/Gallup
New York Times/CBS
CNN
Washington Post/ABC

The Washington Post reports that Republican campaign officials now expect to lose "at least seven House seats and as many as 30."  The magic number is 15.  "GOP officials are urging lawmakers to focus exclusively on local issues and leave it to party leaders to mitigate the Foley controversy by accusing Democrats of trying to politicize it.  At the same time, the White House plans to amplify national security issues... after North Korea's reported nuclear test, in hopes of shifting the debate away from casualties and controversy...  These efforts are aimed largely at prodding disaffected conservatives to vote for GOP candidates despite their unease." 

The Chicago Tribune writes up the polls and adds, "A political strategist for a Republican-leaning business group said that a pollster who has been tracking competitive congressional races for the group has christened Sept. 29--the day the Foley messages were disclosed--as 'Black Friday.'" 

The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Events have changed fast in the battle for control of the House.  Just a couple of weeks ago, Republicans were seeking to capitalize on some rare good news.  Gas prices were declining, and President Bush's approval rating was climbing a notch as he traveled the nation stressing the need to hang tough in the war on terrorism."  

NBC's Chip Reid reported yesterday that Speaker Dennis Hastert canceled a previously scheduled fundraiser in New Jersey last night for Rep. Scott Garrett (R).

The scandal has caused a revolution in late-night comedy, Bloomberg says, because it "means that no more will any joke linking sex and politics automatically invoke the name Bill Clinton."  "More than laughs are at stake.  That comedians have latched on to the Foley scandal will extend the life of the story...  The combined average nightly viewership for the six most popular late-night shows, including Leno, Letterman and Stewart, is 16.2 million people, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research."