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More Midterm Mania

Roll Call's Stu Rothenberg writes, "What we are seeing, increasingly, is 1994, with the parties reversed.  The midterm elections overwhelmingly remain a referendum on President Bush and the Republican Congress.  The Foley scandal makes it more difficult for GOP candidates across the country to cut through the media coverage of the controversy and to localize their races and discredit their Democratic opponents.  But the Republicans were in a hole even before" the Foley scandal, though it "does increase the possible size of an already substantial Democratic wave."   

On The Tonight Show last night, Reuters reports, CALIFORNIA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) told Jay Leno, "To link me to George Bush is like linking me to an Oscar...  That's ridiculous."  Meanwhile, challenger Phil Angelides' campaign "pleaded with NBC affiliates to black out [Schwarzenegger's] appearance...  During Schwarzenegger's 15-minute appearance, the only reference to the combative California campaign came in Leno's questions.  Neither mentioned [Angelides] by name." 

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Schwarzenegger confirmed he will pursue some of the "good ideas" rejected by voters in last year's special election.  He also denied assertions that he has been inconsistent as governor and said he is not above accepting money from special interest groups -- only doing favors them. 

National and local leaders opposed to a ballot initiative in MICHIGAN that would roll back the state's affirmative action policies hold a press conference call today.

Sen. Barack Obama (D) campaigns with NEW JERSEY Sen. Bob Menendez (D) at three stops today.

In TEXAS, gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell (D) is on the defensive "after admitting he tried to get independent candidate Kinky Friedman to withdraw from the race.  Friedman said he thinks Bell took the action because he is 'desperate' and afraid he is losing." 

Democrats are now "preparing a media and campaign offensive against the independent, planning in part to portray him as a racist," reports the Dallas Morning News.  "The escalating rhetoric shows an increasing urgency as the governor's challengers attempt to break from the pack with fewer than four weeks left until Election Day." 

And the Los Angeles Times gives campaign "trackers," the young aides with the videocameras, their due with a front-page look at how they have been present for some of the most famous gaffes of 2006, led by the "macaca" remark that weakened VIRGINIA Sen. George Allen (R).