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Right Now: April 4, 2010 - April 10, 2010

Romney takes SRLC straw poll by one vote

In a surprise, Mitt Romney edged out Ron Paul to win the SRLC straw poll by a single vote.

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 7:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  2012 Election , Mitt Romney , Ron Paul , SRLC  
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Steele: 'I've made mistakes'

Reading from a speech, sounding more subdued than he has in previous addresses to activists, RNC Chairman Michael Steele used his closing remarks at the SRLC to make some grudging admissions about the gaffes and scandals that have bedeviled his leadership for the past two weeks.

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC , SRLC  
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After the boos, a better reception for Ron Paul

Even when he was running for president, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) didn't really give presidential campaign speeches.He wasn't much for pointing people to social networks, asking for votes, or -- especially -- mentioning other candidates. He didn't stop for applause. He lectured. And that's what he did here, before a stratified SRLC crowd, as some baffled Republican activists walked out and (largely youthful) Paul fans trickled in.

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Ron Paul , SRLC  
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From Barbour, a very on-message call for unity

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) crystallized the mood here at the SRLC, telling the crowd again and again not to "care a whit" about who the 2012 GOP nominee might be.

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Election , SRLC  
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A spat over 'standing with Israel'

NEW ORLEANS -- Supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), who've been moving into the conference today to hear their man speak, have made their presence known with noisy shouts of disapproval when SRLC speakers deliver more bellicose rhetoric. During a...

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Ron Paul , SRLC  
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The revolt against the RNC explained

NEW ORLEANS -- Here's more evidence that the Voyeur scandal is less about whether RNC Chairman Michael Steele needs to update his résumé and more about conservatives seeking reasons to take their money to other causes. The first question to...

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  RNC , SRLC  
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David Vitter rides the tea party wave

NEW ORLEANS -- In a brief speech introducing former senator and current presidential dark horse Rick Santorum, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) delivered the kind of atta-boys for the conservative movement that have shored up his reelection chances. Vitter's three-year-old prostitution...

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2010 Election , SRLC  
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The SRLC straw poll, up for grabs

NEW ORLEANS -- Supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) are amused by the rumors about their straw poll prowess. "We keep hearing about the well-organized Paul machine," said Tim Shoemaker, a legislative campaigner for Paul's 501(c)4, the Campaign for Liberty,...

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 11:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  2012 Election , Mitt Romney , Ron Paul , SRLC  
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Yelling, 'Stop!'

Keep sending in those suggestions for a permanent name -- I'll make the change next week. Also, I want to thank everyone who read the blog this week, who sent in tips and who talked to me for stories. Keep...

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 7:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Mike Pence: 'I take John Lewis's word' on racial slurs

During his speech Friday to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, conservative media guru Andrew Breitbart criticized the mainstream media for reporting on claims that Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) were subjected to racial slurs by tea party protesters as they walked to the House the day before its final vote on health-care reform.

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 7:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health Care , Race  
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Evangelicals for Romney lowering expectations for SRLC straw poll

There are, right now, two likely straw poll narratives. Either Paul wins and the poll is soft-pedaled, or Palin wins and the conference becomes her first big triumph with GOP activists -- albeit without Romney or Pawlenty asking for votes.

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2012 Election , Mitt Romney , Ron Paul , SRLC , Sarah Palin  
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Jindal won't run for president, but he will tell a joke

"A word of warning to GOP staffers," said Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), "you may want to stay away from Bourbon Street. Just a little advice."

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  SRLC  
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Behold, the SRLC straw poll ballot

Here's a sample of the first two questions on the straw ballot for the SRLC straw poll, being conducted right now after some delays.

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2012 Election , SRLC  
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Tea Party Federation launched to fight 'media misinformation'

Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation has e-mailed supporters to announce the launch of the National Tea Party Federation, organized to provide "rapid response to media misinformation."

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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RNC members will meet with Steele to discuss 'distraction,' 'concerns'

NEW ORLEANS -- In a conversation with me and my colleague Amy Gardner, Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere said that Republican National Committee members were looking for a good time to meet at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference to discuss...

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC , SRLC  
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Palin at SRLC: Recalling Hillary, hitting Obama over Karzai, backing 'repeal and replace'

Sarah Palin gave a blisteringly sarcastic speech Friday to a packed audience at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, drawing a standing ovation when she highlighted her favorite bumper sticker: "Don't retreat, reload."

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (434)
Categories:  2012 Election , SRLC , Sarah Palin  
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Sympathy for Stupak from J.C. Watts

I talked briefly Friday with former congressman J.C. Watts about the retirement of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), and how the backlash against health-care reform encouraged the nine-term congressman to make his move.

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 1:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 Election , Health Care , SRLC  
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Stupak, Stevens and seesawing emotions at SRLC

NEW ORLEANS -- The morning news that Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-Mich.) would retire in November put attendees of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in a stellar mood. The later news that John Paul Stevens would retire this summer from the...

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  SRLC , Supreme Court  
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Caribou jerky from SarahPAC

NEW ORLEANS -- We're starting to see the first promotions and swag from possible 2012 candidates here at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Evangelicals for Mitt have blanketed the area where Sean Hannity will be taping his show tonight. And...

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2012 Election , Sarah Palin  
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A tough crowd for Joseph Cao

NEW ORLEANS -- The Southern Republican Leadership Conference is happening inside the district of first-term Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.), who won a supremely safe Democratic seat in a December 2008 runoff against the indicted incumbent, then-Rep. Bill Jefferson (D-La.). At...

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 9:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  SRLC  
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Can the tea parties claim victory over Stupak?

He might not have planned it that way, but the timing of Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-Mich.) retirement announcement will send it into the annals of tea party history. Local groups and the national Tea Party Express had battered Stupak all...

By David Weigel  |  April 9, 2010; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (143)
Categories:  2010 Election , Health Care , Tea Party  
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A second RNC committee member calls for Steele to step down

Dr. Ada Fisher, a member of the Republican National Committee from North Carolina, tells me she agrees with fellow RNC member Tom Fetzer's call for Michael Steele to step down.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 9:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC  
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Gingrich: Republicans can win in 2010 and 'defund' the Democratic agenda

NEW ORLEANS -- When I asked if I could see a copy of Newt Gingrich's speech to the SRLC, I was rebuffed for a good reason -- there was no prepared text. Gingrich let us know it. After walking through...

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 9:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Newt Gingrich , SRLC  
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J.C. Watts: 'History's going to be kind to George W. Bush'

At the SRLC, the biggest applause line so far came when J.C. Watts defended President Obama's predecessor. "Some might think that George W. Bush had his shortcomings," said Watts, "but let me tell you something -- history's going to be kind to George W. Bush."

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 9:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  George W. Bush  
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How to follow our coverage of the SRLC

ust a bit of housekeeping -- I'll be at the SRLC all weekend, along with Dan Balz and Amy Gardner, whose reporting will be going up on 44 and in the paper. Whenever possible, I'll be tweeting the speeches and assorted events at http://twitter.com/daveweigel.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 8:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  SRLC  
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At SRLC, mixed support for Steele from RNC members

The never-ending Steele drama -- Fetzer's letter piled on even more attention, right when an army of reporters was about to descend on this meeting -- is hard to avoid in the halls of the downtown Hilton where Republicans are meeting this weekend.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 8:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC  
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Liz Cheney: Obama should stop 'dressing down' Karzai

I've got an early look at the speech Liz Cheney will deliver tonight, here at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Red meat doesn't come any redder.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 7:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  SRLC , The Cheneys  
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I'm'a flying to New Orleans

I'm bound for New Orleans for this weekend's Southern Republican Leadership Conference. That means some light blogging until I arrive and until the lineup of evening speakers kicks off. In the meantime, here's a dialogue I recorded with Matthew Yglesias, including a discussion about the launch of this blog.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 4:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Conservatives  
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Heritage Foundation to launch new political arm

The Heritage Foundation is set to launch a new 501(c)4 organization Thursday called Heritage Action for America. The new group will be run by CEO Mike Needham and COO Tim Chapman, both veterans of Republican campaigns, and their new task will be to encourage Heritage donors to lobby members of Congress on key issues.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Conservatives  
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Palin and Ehrlich sticking by Steele

The drip-drip of firings and ugly stories about the RNC has slowed today. Will that prevent every Republican politician from being asked what they think of Michael Steele? Of course not.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC  
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Bachmann: We'll repeal Obamacare in 34 months

Amid all of the red meat tossed out at last night's Conservative Victory Tour with Sarah Palin, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), I think I heard a concrete and quasi-realistic answer on a question that's been...

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 2:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Health Care  
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Change you shouldn't have believed in: Special foreign policy edition

One of the essential reads of the week is Eli Lake's "The 9/14 Presidency," an article in Reason that builds off of Lake's years of reporting to make the case that, bluster aside, President Barack Obama hasn't moved national security...

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 1:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  National Security  
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Tea Party candidate received farm subsidies, but he's ready to eliminate them

Last week, Amy Gardner reported on the Tea Party flak faced by Tennessee congressional candidate Stephen Fincher over the roughly $200,000 per year he receives in federal farm subsidies. The size of Fincher's subsidies put him in a class of...

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  2010 Election , Tea Party  
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On April 19, a surge of pro-gun rallies

Updated 12:52 p.m. They remain under the radar for now, but expect to hear a lot more about the dual April 19 rallies that will bring anti-government and pro-gun groups to the Washington region. Both events are scheduled to coincide,...

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
Categories:  Constitution , Fringe  
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'It's become more of this rally of hate'

Tea Party, race, racism

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 8:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  Conservatives , Tea Party  
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Coveted Confederate endorsement--still up for grabs

Getting the right quote from an extremist whose issue is making a temporary visit to the headlines is a tricky thing. Four years ago Eli Lake pulled it off, calling David Duke to get his take on a Stephen Walt...

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Fringe  
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Yelling, 'Stop!'

I'm keeping that headline for now, but keep the "what should the end-of-day post be called" nominees coming in. Tomorrow afternoon I'm headed to New Orleans to cover the Southern Republican Leadership Conference alongside Dan Balz and Amy Gardner. And...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 7:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Bob McDonnell surrenders, signs peace treaty

That was fast. After 24 hours of bad press, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has apologized for omitting any mention of slavery from a Confederate History Month proclamation. New language added to the proclamation states "that the institution of slavery led...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Conservatives  
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A conservative PAC you can trust, unlike the RNC

On Friday, the National Republican Trust PAC bought Web ads at the sites of the Daily Caller and the Weekly Standard with a simple message: "Republicans you can Trust: with your principles... your time... your investment." Was the PAC making...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Election , Michael Steele , RNC  
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Rupert Murdoch could never get a job at Fox News

Tuesday night at the National Press Club, Ari Rabin-Havt, a former Democratic strategist and now a Media Matters VP, tossed NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch a question about the network's coverage of tea parties.

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 4:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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E tu, Michael Zak?

The freelance historian who wrote the RNC's "heroes" page -- he specializes in the early GOP's support for the abolition of slavery, and this led to a curious amount of 19th-century African American politicians profiled on the site -- joins...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC  
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Thanks for the glowing media coverage, losers!

Valerie Baumann's piece about African-American conservatives "taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement" makes it two big stories in the hated "MSM" today that defend tea partiers from charges of racism. Here's how HotAir embraced...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 2:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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'We were outside waiting for you'

First things first. Thousands of people in Washington state have attended "tea party" protests. Charles Alan Wilson, the man accused of sending explicit threats to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), did not even consider himself a tea party protester. But when...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 12:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Fringe , Tea Party  
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1861 all over again in Virginia

Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett runs down a forgotten bit of recent Virginia history, the controversy in 2002 over then-Del. Bob McDonnell's use of a pledge written by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to open sessions of the House of...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
Categories:  Conservatives  
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Pre-gaming the SRLC straw poll

Decisions by Mitt Romney and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) to skip the Southern Republican Leadership Conference have drained some of the buzz from the event's straw poll. In 2006, when the conference was held in Nashville, retiring Sen. Bill Frist...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2012 Election , Mitt Romney , Tim Pawlenty  
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CNN salutes the 'colorful smiles' of the tea parties

CNN's decision to embed with the Tea Party Express as it traveled toward D.C. -- Fox News did the same thing last year, in the run-up to the Sept. 12 taxpayer march on Washington -- befuddled the right and left...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 9:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (188)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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Meanwhile, the RNC raises $11.4 million

There were sighs of relief on First Street when this number was leaked late last night. According to a statement released this morning, the beleaguered Republican National Committee raised $11.4 million in March, taking its cash on hand to $11.3...

By David Weigel  |  April 7, 2010; 8:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC  
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Yelling, 'Stop!'

This blog is a work in progress, which means four things. One, I'm that much more thankful that you're reading it. Two, I want you to feel more than free to e-mail me or pass on messages in the comments,...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 7:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Conservatives  
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The federal government, brought to you by Orwell

Prodded by Bill Press, Robert Gibbs took a swing at RedState's Erick Erickson -- a blogger and local officeholder in Georgia -- for saying he'd "pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little twerp likes being scared at...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 5:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Conservatives  
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'You've got to make the fellow scared to come out of his house'

Last night in Jupiter, Fla., GOP congressional candidate Allen West told "tea party" activists that they needed to do more to get accountability from Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.). "Let me tell you what you've got to do," said West, a...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 4:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  2010 Election , Congress , NRCC , Tea Party  
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Mike Castle learns to love the repeal movement

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee passes on a video with production values that will warm the heart of any "Tanner '88" fan. In it, Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), who was the first GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate to waver...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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A threat against Patty Murray

This is the sort of story that muddles the effort by tea party activists -- who've been doing just fine with nonviolent protests, thank you very much -- to push back against the "extremism" narrative. Charles Alan Wilson, 64, has...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Tucker Carlson and Ron Paul reunite for April 15 tea party in D.C.

So, does anyone think that Tucker Carlson hurt his rep with conservatives when his Daily Caller site broke the news of the RNC's Voyeur bill? Hardly. Carlson will be on the dais at the April 15 "Tax Day Protest" tea...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 2:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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Tom Coburn's plea for civility

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)'s much-discussed friendship with Barack Obama is, all of a sudden, a little harder to attribute to the closeness of their desks in the Senate. Matt Laslo reports on a town hall meeting Coburn held in Oklahoma:...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2010 Election , Fringe , Senate  
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And now, North Dakota

The Peace Garden state (seriously, look it up) joins the legalistic revolt against the health-care law. Watch as Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem signs the document while simultaneously waving the Gadsden flag ("Don't Tread on Me"): At some point, you have...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Election  
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The incredible shrinking Michael Steele

The Republican National Committee members who elected Michael Steele knew what they were getting. Sort of. At the January 2009 meeting that gave Steele the job, there was plenty of worry about Steele's ability to run a large organization. J.P....

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC  
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Sununu asks the media to back down on the 'racial slurs against black congressmen' story

If you missed the episode of "The Exchange" that just wrapped, you missed a fascinating monologue by New Hampshire GOP Chairman John Sununu. As soon as he dialed in, Sununu challenged the premise of the entire show on the tea...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  Congress , Fringe , Tea Party  
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'Right Now,' in convenient radio form

If you tune in to New Hampshire public radio's "The Exchange," I'm talking about the tea parties with a wise group of talking heads that includes New Hampshire GOP Chairman John Sununu....

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Tea Party  
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When it's time to party, they will party hard

The drip-drip-drip of Republican National Committee horror stories continues with Ken Vogel's informative (and admirably deadpan) look at the youthful GOP fundraising group whose shenanigans kicked off an eight-days-and-counting news cycle from the seventh circle of hell. Before the Young...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 9:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC  
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Welcome to 'Right Now'

It's nice to have a blog that doesn't disguise its ambitions. You want to know about the conservative movement? You want to know it promptly? Well, drag down your bookmark toolbar, add the xml to your RSS feed and stay...

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 7:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  2010 Election , Conservatives  
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