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2010: Jumping in on defense

The liberal group Americans United for Change says it's announcing the first wave of a multi-million-dollar ad campaign to back up the 13 House Democrats (and one Republican) who voted for the health-care bill and who have been the target of the GOP-leaning Chamber of Commerce and the 60 Plus Association. Those 13 House members: Baron Hill (IN), Brad Ellsworth (IN), Joe Donnelly (IN), Chris Murphy (CT), Joseph Cao (LA), Earl Pomeroy (ND), Marion Berry (AR), Vic Snyder (AR), Tom Perriello (VA), Gerry Connolly (VA), Paul Hodes (NH), Michael Michaud (ME) and Dina Titus (NV).

Here's one of the ads.

The Hill lists what it sees as its top seven House and Senate 2010 primaries. Senate: Florida (R), Pennsylvania (D), both sides in Kentucky, Utah (R), Connecticut (R), Colorado (D), Nevada (R); House: SC-4 (R), IL-10 (D), LA-2 (D), FL-8 (R), VA-2 (R), MI-7 (R), NY-19 (R).

ARKANSAS: "The Republican Party of Arkansas has scheduled a straw poll for U.S. Senate candidates next month in an early gauge of strength for would-be GOP challengers to Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln. All of the seven announced Republican candidates said Monday they would take part in the straw poll planned for Dec. 5 during the Winter Republican Leadership Summit at Hot Springs. Recent polls have shown support sagging for Lincoln, who is seeking a third term in the 2010 election." 

CONNECTICUT: Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R), running for Senate "called for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to be fired for his 'mishandling' of AIG's bailout."

In the GOP primary there, Linda McMahon -- wife of wrestling impresario Vince McMahon -- is having to grapple with this: a '70s-era wrestler. "Superstar Billy Graham is speaking out against the woman he says made millions from the violence, sexual exploitation, blood and excesses of professional wrestling. What outrages him particularly, he says, are recent attempts to sanitize the wrestling mega-enterprise whose sexy women wrestlers once performed in 'lingerie matches' and were still posing nude in Playboy as recently as 2008. He views this toning down as a huge act of hypocrisy -- an attempt to graft a family-friendly face onto a business that has been anything but."

FLORIDA: "We're now running a campaign," Gov. Charlie Crist (R)'s new campaign manager, Eric Eikenberg, announced yesterday, as news comes that Crist "will step up his direct engagements with his opponent," former House Speaker Marco Rubio (R). The governor, whose appearance with President Obama in support of the stimulus bill has become a rallying point for conservatives nationwide, "will cite his rival's failure to advance some conservative causes while leading the state House, for spending excessively while in the Speaker's office and for dragging his feet on immigration legislation that many Republicans favored."

TEXAS: Former Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for governor at a Houston rally yesterday. The event was delayed two hours as Hutchison rushed from Washington to Texas after voting on a defense appropriations bill, underscoring one of the challenges Hutchison faces against incumbent governor Rick Perry. "He's chided Hutchison for missing votes in Washington while she's campaigning for governor -- and every time he does, it's a reminder to voters that she's the candidate from Washington and he's in Texas," the Dallas Morning News writes. At the event, Cheney also shot down rumors that he might run for president in four years -- something his daughter brought up on a Sunday show. "I wasn't sure when I saw Liz Cheney on TV Sunday, I thought this might be the start of Cheney 2012," Hutchison said. A member of the crowd shouted, "We need you, Dick." Cheney shook his head. "No chance," he said.