In it, but not of it. TPM DC

It's probably fair to assume that back in 1773, the word "teabagging" didn't make everyone--from immature bloggers to perfectly mature mainstream media types--giggle like school children. But even still the would-be founding fathers took the appropriate precautionary measures, and dumped tons of loose tea (not tons of tea bags) into the Boston Harbor.

Unfortunately, it took today's tea party protesters almost two months to get the memo. I mean, an actual memo:

The term "teabagging" has strong sexual connotations. Be wary of anyone with a camera asking you if you are a "teabagger" or if you enjoy "teabagging" or similar leading questions - they are trying to make a fool of you.

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A new survey of Minnesota by Public Policy Polling (D), finds a clear verdict on the part of the state's voters: They want the disputed Senate race to be over, for Norm Coleman to concede defeat, and Al Franken to be sworn in. The poll was conducted yesterday and today, in the aftermath of the election court's ruling that Franken won the race.

By a 63%-37% margin, voters say that Coleman should concede the race, rather than continue to appeal. After being reminded by the pollster that Minnesota currently has only one Senator, they say by a 59%-41% margin that Franken should be seated immediately, rather than allow the seat to stay vacant. And by a 59%-41% margin, they say that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty should sign a certificate of election.

And this question here produces a close result: "Some people say that Republicans are funding the Coleman legal suit to keep the Minnesota seat vacant and slow down the Obama agenda. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?" The numbers are 48% agree, 52% disagree.

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The Hill reports that a lot of Republicans are realizing the same thing many of us did a while ago -- or perhaps they realized it, too, and are only now just saying it: That Norm Coleman's recount operation was a mess.

"The buzz in GOP circles is that if Sen. Coleman's team and party strategists were to have launched a full-blown PR campaign as the recount was unfolding, they would have had a better environment prior to the legal proceedings," a Republican operative said, adding that "They allowed the legal proceedings to define the media environment."

A GOP strategist said: "A lot of noise has to be made immediately, and it has to be sustained," adding, "Where the heck has [Pawlenty] been?"

For the record: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) briefly did wade into the spin game, but quickly faded into the background. At this point, he's hedging on whether he'd grant an election certificate should the state Supreme Court rule for Franken.

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We've spent a lot of time reporting on the emerging defense budget debate, and the rhetoric around it for some time, but eventually that will all give way to Congressional wheeling and dealing, and leaders will emerge on all sides of the issue.

The House member who's most dedicated himself to advancing Defense Secretary Robert Gates' cause is Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA).

Sestak is a retired Rear Admiral, the highest ranking military officer ever to serve in Congress, and a member of the Armed Services Committee. I spoke with him yesterday in detail about how the fight is shaping up, and why he takes the position he does.

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Last night, I interviewed Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), who's positioning himself to be a leader on military issues in the House of Representatives. Sestak is a retired Navy rear admiral, and the highest ranking officer ever to serve in Congress. We spoke broadly about military issues--particularly about the Obama administration's proposed Pentagon overhaul--but we also touched on the coming Don't Ask, Don't Tell fight.

I asked Sestak for his position on the issue, and his take on how the administration--which seems very much to have put a repeal on the back burner--has handled it. Here's what he said:

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The latest absentee ballot count in the NY-20 special election is looking very good for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy, with his lead now at 168 votes as new results have come in from the pro-Murphy counties of Columbia, Dutchess and Warren, compared to a 47-vote lead at the close of business yesterday.

We're seeing a continuation of the trend of Murphy doing even better in the percentage of the absentee vote in a given county, compared to the Election Night vote. Some examples of what I mean: Murphy won Dutchess County with 51.5% on Election Night, but in the portion of absentees counted so far he has 54.0%. And although Murphy got only 44.4% of the Election Night vote in Greene County, he's at 48.3% in their absentees, ahead of the baseline.

Only one county, Otsego, has proven to be an exception to this rule. But it only cast about two percent of the total absentees, and is more than outweighed by the trend in other counties.

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The new poll of North Carolina from Public Policy Polling (D) confirms that GOP Sen. Richard Burr is in serious trouble going into his 2010 re-election race. The odd thing is that Burr's approval and horse-race numbers are more characteristic of an unknown candidate in an open-seat race, than they are of an incumbent.

Burr has an approval rating of only 35% and a disapproval of 31% -- with a very high undecided rate of 33%. Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper leads Burr by 41%-37%, with a 41% favorable and 20% unfavorable. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a relatively conservative Democrat, has even lower name recognition at 23% favorable and 21% unfavorable -- and Burr is only ahead by 39%-34%.

From the pollster's analysis: "If Roy Cooper enters the race for US Senate this race automatically becomes a tossup, if not even slightly Democratic leaning. It's quite unusual for an incumbent who doesn't have major ethical problems to trail an unannounced challenger."

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which endorsed Norm Coleman for re-election in 2008, has a new editorial that goes right down the middle on Coleman's intention to appeal his loss in the election trial. On the one hand, they say he raises serious issues that deserve a fair hearing at the state Supreme Court -- but on the other hand, it better be done quickly:

The gravity of his charge, and the need for this election contest to end with a result that Minnesotans widely accept as credible, make a Minnesota Supreme Court review of the district court panel's decision worthwhile.

We add this caveat: That review should be conducted with as much expedition as appellate jurists can muster. Coleman has a right to appeal, and the absentee voters whose ballots he seeks to add to the count have a right to serious consideration under the law.

But those rights stand in increasingly evident tension with Minnesota's constitutional right to dual representation in the U.S. Senate.

It does look like everyone's patience is running thin, insofar as it's still there at all.

Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has made it official: He is running in the 2010 Senate primary against moderate GOP incumbent Arlen Specter, who he very nearly defeated in the last primary in 2004 -- a development that may well increase the chances of the Democrats picking up this seat.

Said Toomey: "Pennsylvanians deserve a voice in the U.S. Senate that will honor our values and fight for limited government, individual freedom and fiscal responsibility. I will be that voice." Toomey stepped down Monday from his position as head of the Club For Growth, which fueled his campaign last time, pretty much a giveaway that he was about to announce his candidacy.

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NYT: White House Making Plans To Reveal Bank Information The New York Times reports that the Obama Administration is drawing up plans to publicly reveal key information from the stress tests for the 19 biggest banks in the country. All are expected to pass the tests, but some would do so better than others. After initial reluctance to make this move, it has been decided that doing so will better help prevent the kind of market uncertainty that would send investors fleeing.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will be delivering a speech at 11:55 a.m. ET from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, recognizing Tax Day by discussing his efforts to make a fairer tax code and provide more tax relief for working families. Obama will meet for lunch with Vice President Biden at 12:30 p.m. ET, and at 4 p.m. ET he will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

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