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Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) said on MSNBC today that he agreed with House Minority Leader John Boehner that health care is the biggest threat the country has ever seen.

"It is in fact socialism," Tancredo said. "It is a true, very scary threat."

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Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), who wrote the foreword to Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America, said today she is "very concerned" about infiltration of the military by jihadists.

"We can't continue to be so politically correct that we're going to say this wasn't religiously motivated," Myrick told the Charlotte, North Carolina, CBS affiliate. She noted the reports that Nidal Malik Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" before he allegedly opened fire in the shooting spree at Fort Hood Thursday.

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President Obama spent nearly two hours this afternoon meeting privately with soldiers and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

While there, he awarded two Purple Hearts, the White House said.

No press was allowed to witness the visit, but an administration staffer told the pool which accompanies the president when he leaves the White House that Obama "visited with 19 soldiers, three families of soldiers in the ICU, as well as hospital staff."

Whether you call it a rally, press conference or "House Call," Republicans think Thursday's Capitol Hill Tea Party was a success -- and they are crediting Rep. Michele Bachmann for having the pizazz to increase turnout and press coverage.

"We didn't know what to expect, we didn't know what kind of energy would be there, but this thing took a life of its own," Brendan Buck, spokesman for the Republican Study Committee, told TPMDC.

"It came together better than we ever imagined it would in terms of size and energy," he said.

After chatting with press aides from various Republican offices, here's what we know.

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Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), a member of the Blue Dogs, has announced his opposition to the current health care bill from the House Democrats:

"After careful review of the current legislation pending in the House and the Congressional Budget Office's analysis, I believe the bill will not help control the long-term costs of health care and puts in place an infrastructure that is not fiscally sustainable over time. I am unable to support this legislation in its present form.

"Most of us realize that serious reforms are needed to fix what is broken in our health care system. Specifically, we should work to reform health insurance; ensure no one can be denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition; and slow the upward curve of health care costs. I will continue talking with Tennesseans and working with others to achieve these goals, improve our health care system and ensure our reforms help solve, rather than contribute to, our nation's long-term fiscal challenges."


Nov. 5, 2009: Thousands gather in front of the US Capitol to hear from a star-studded collection of Republican representatives and assorted conservative personalities in an anti-health care reform rally organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). So many Republican members of Congress rushed to join the party that some missed voting on some much bally-hooed amendments to the PATRIOT Act. Go here for full coverage from TPM.

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Bachmann called the event "the Super Bowl of freedom." See more pictures here.
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Randall Terry's anti-abortion folks make an appearance.
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TPMDC's reporters estimate the crowd at about 8,000 people.

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Rep. Joe "You lie!" Wilson (R-SC) meets with supporters who gathered for the rally. Wilson was welcomed to the tea party stage with cheers.

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A janitor sweeps up copies of the health care bill discarded by protesters outside Nancy Pelosi's office.

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Yesterday, the Club For Growth launched a new attack ad against Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL), a moderate who is facing a challenge in the GOP primary for Senate from the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio -- which was, in fact, a change from the Club's previous skepticism about getting involved in this race.

Back in July, when Crist was much further ahead in both polls and fundraising, the Club's executive director David Keating had said the Club was still looking at where it could best spend its money: "We have to look at his race versus all the others we're interested in, and there are going to be a lot of competitive races."

Today, Keating told TPM that Rubio's recent pick-up in fundraising, taking in about $1 million for the previous quarter, was an encouraging sign.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on a kick. Personally frustrated, and under pressure from the left, Reid has decided to take direct aim at Republican obstruction, and he's doing so in angry terms.

"For anybody watching, what's taken place the last three years knows the Republicans have become experts in wasting time, the American taxpayers' time, the American people's time, and yesterday was no exception," Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Democrats can't pass off all of the blame for the glacial pace of progress in the last several months. With a 60-member caucus, they in theory have sufficient numbers to overcome GOP filibusters of key agenda items, if they could only agree to stay united. But even if they did muscle their agenda through the procedural labyrinth of the Senate, they still wouldn't be able to stop the foot-dragging.

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In the wake of the NY-23 right-wing revolt, could the GOP be on the verge of seeing even more challenges from the activist right? Some recent developments suggest that the natives are getting restless.

• NRCC chairman Pete Sessions is being challenged in the Republican primary by David Smith, a corporate financial analyst. Smith told us that the NY-23 mess was not a factor in his decision -- but it should help him in attacking Sessions: "It's nice to have my opponent in the national news for a bad reason at the same time I'm announcing my candidacy."

• Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) is facing a Republican primary challenge from Jason Sager, a currently unemployed audio-visual engineer. Sager specifically cited Brown-Waite's having campaigned for Dede Scozzafava, the moderate Republican nominee in NY-23 who ultimately dropped out of the race and endorsed Democrat Bill Owens, as a reason for his challenge.

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At yesterday's tea party rally on Capitol Hill, at least one protester brandished a large graphic photograph of the victims of the Dachau Nazi concentration camp, comparing health care reform to Nazi policies. Today, Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-VA) spokesman called the photograph "inappropriate."

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) has also condemned the poster.

Cantor, in an interview today with Bloomberg, also offered some criticism of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's comparison of President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

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