TPM News

The Massachusetts Tea Party is working behind the scenes to make sure Scott Brown doesn't lose votes to...a libertarian candidate, beloved by many in the Tea Party movement.

A mostly overlooked factor in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts is that there's a third party candidate in the race--libertarian Joe Kennedy (no relation to Ted)--who, though far behind in the polls, conservatives fear could be the Republicans' Ralph Nader on Tuesday. So in the past several days, tea party protesters, and others on the far right have organized a letter writing campaign to pressure Kennedy to drop out of the race and endorse GOP hopeful Scott Brown.

"The Massachusetts Tea Party movement is banding together to contact Joe Kennedy and ask him to step out of next Tuesday's Senate race," reads a Tea Party email obtained by TPMDC. (The Massachusetts Tea Party is part of the national Tea Party Patriots organization.)

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Vice President Joe Biden slammed the Republican's use of the Senate's supermajority rules yesterday, saying that he's never before seen "the Constitution stood on its head as they've done," and that "no democracy has survived needing a supermajority."

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The final poll from PPP (D) in the Massachusetts Senate race shows Republican Scott Brown with a five-point lead less than 48 hours before voters head to the polls. Brown leads Democrat Martha Coakley 51-46 in the poll, with four percent of respondents undecided.

The PPP poll seems to confirm what political observers and other recent polling has suggested in the final weeks of the race: Brown has the momentum to win, but the race is still to close to call.

PPP polled 1,231 likely voters in Massachusetts over the weekend. The special election to replace Ted Kennedy in the Senate will be held on Jan. 19.

McConnell: MA-SEN Race A Referendum On Health Care Bill Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the special Senate election in Massachusetts: "The important thing to remember, though, is that this is, in effect, a referendum on the national health care bill which the Democrats, in secret, are trying to work out now. They have arrogantly ignored American public opinion all the way to this point. And they're trying to get their members to continue to ignore public opinion one more time. Regardless of the outcome Tuesday, we know that in the most liberal state in America you're going to have a close election for the United States Senate because people in Massachusetts don't want this health care bill to pass."

Obama's Day Ahead The President and First Lady attended a church service at 10:45 a.m. ET, and President Obama delivered remarks. At 1:30 p.m. Et, Obama will depart from the White House arriving at 2:55 p.m. ET in Boston, Massachusetts. At 3:35 p.m. ET, he will deliver remarks at a campaign event for Democratic Senate nominee Martha Coakley. He will depart from Boston at 4:55 p.m. ET, arriving back at the White House at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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Former President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton will appear on all five Sunday political talk shows to promote their new efforts to send aid to Haiti in the aftermath of this week's devastating earthquake.

The Republican and Democrat - brought together at the request of President Obama - also recorded a public serve announcement you can watch below. Bush and Clinton joined Obama today at the White House.

Read the transcript of their remarks here.

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President Obama spoke briefly to the press about the United States' efforts to help with earthquake recovery in Haiti. He was joined by former President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton.

Here is the transcript of their remarks.

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Obama Pushes Proposed Fee On Financial Firms In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama promoted his proposed fee on major financial firms, in an effort to recover government money spent on the TARP bailout to save the industry from collapse. And he blasted the financial industry and Republicans for opposing the fee:

"Of course, I would like the banks to embrace this sense of mutual responsibility. So far, though, they have ferociously fought financial reform," said Obama. "The industry has even joined forces with the opposition party to launch a massive lobbying campaign against common-sense rules to protect consumers and prevent another crisis. Now, like clockwork, the banks and politicians who curry their favor are already trying to stop this fee from going into effect. The very same firms reaping billions of dollars in profits, and reportedly handing out more money in bonuses and compensation than ever before in history, are now pleading poverty. It's a sight to see."

GOP Address: Castle Supports Fight In Afghanistan, Credits McChrystal And Gates

This weekend's Republican address was delivered by Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), the party's candidate for Vice President Biden's old Senate seat. Castle discussed the importance of the fight in Afghanistan, and prominently gave credit to Gen. Stanley McChrystal and to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:

"Understanding the realities on the ground in Afghanistan directly from our top military commanders is essential," said Castle. "Republicans are pleased with the decision by Secretary Gates to stay on as head of the Pentagon, and, we urge the President to follow his advice of making strategic decisions based on conditions on the ground. Secretary Gates has worked to reaffirm our short and long-term goals to our troops and continues to commend their sacrifice. This outreach is very important and we thank him."

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A new poll released today by ARG shows the Massachusetts Senate race to be a dead heat three days before the special election. Republican Scott Brown led Democrat Martha Coakley by three points, 48-45, among 600 likely voters surveyed by ARG on Thursday and Friday. The poll's margin of error is 4%.

Democrats are going all out this weekend to boost support and drive turnout for Coakley as political observers increasingly see the race slipping away from her in the final days. President Obama is heading to Massachusetts to headline a rally for Coakley tomorrow afternoon, having already recorded a robo-call for Coakley last week. Republicans, meanwhile, are dumping millions into the state in support of Brown, hoping for a surprise upset in the race to fill Ted Kennedy's old seat in the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- who, as we've reported, has not been a fan of the so-called "Cadillac tax" -- today threw her support behind the deal reached by the White House and the unions on the tax.

"There are absolutely no sticking points," she said today, according to a transcript released by her office. "I would say two words, three words would be: finding common ground."

She admitted that the Cadillac tax, or excise tax, had originally been "overwhelmingly rejected" by the House.

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