In it, but not of it. TPM DC

She probably won't wake conservatives up to the men behind the curtain, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi understands a thing or two about the Tea Party Protests.

An interviewer at Fox TV in San Francisco said "thousands of Americans...are having a tax and tea party today saying that we're taxing and spending our way into oblivion."

Pelosi responded:

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As Norm Coleman goes through with appealing the decision of the election contest court, which declared that Al Franken won the election and Coleman failed to prove otherwise, he can now count on the help of a group of D.C. lobbyists to fund the costs, Greg Sargent reports.

"We will raise as much as is necessary," said Dirk Van Dongen, who is president of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and a leading member of the "Team Coleman" group. "We'll keep raising money as Norm needs it. We continue to be active in raising resources for Norm to carry out this fight to the end."

Van Dongen said that to date, this group of lobbyists already raised "well over a million dollars" for the Senate campaign and the post-election events, and will keep on going.

Van Dongen rejected the accusation that this whole fight is only being done to bottle up a 59th Senate seat for the Democrats -- sort of. "That's a side benefit," said Van Dongen. "But this is all about us doing everything we can to be sure that Norm has had a fair election and to get him back in his Senate seat. We'd be doing exactly the same thing if the Republicans were in the majority."

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.