TPM News

President Obama is sticking with Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the May 18 Democratic primary in Arkansas.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed today that Obama will keep with his trend of supporting the sitting senator in party primaries, as he's done with Sen. Arlen Specter over Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and in supporting Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado.

"We support Senator Lincoln as an incumbent senator," Gibbs told reporters today during his daily briefing.

The tea party movement officially turned one over the weekend, drawing various celebrations, laudatory statements from Republican leadership and boastful emails about all the group has accomplished since 2009. But even those anniversary milestones highlight deep factions within the movement and how Republicans are bending over backwards to be associated with the tea partiers.

For example, the Tea Party Express organizers cited several odd accomplishments, including a political race that ended up with a Democratic victory and a Senator's retirement that had nothing to do with the tea party at all.

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We asked the campaign of former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), who is challenging Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the Republican primary, for comment on McCain's statement on Meet The Press that Americans were "misled" on the TARP bailout, and that it wasn't known beforehand that the money would be going to firms on Wall Street. Their answer: McCain "simply claims that he was a patsy."

"Now that he is getting roundly criticized by conservatives in Arizona and across the country, he has found a convenient bogeyman that he didn't mention at the time. And it's yet another example of his transparent election-year conversion to try to fool Republican primary voters in this state," said Hayworth spokesman Jason Rose. "On one hand, he is selling himself, as we speak, in campaign ads, for his experience in Washington as being an incredible asset for Arizona. Well, is there any better example of such an erroneous claim than this statement that he made yesterday on Meet The Press?"

Read More → today endorsed Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in a Democratic primary challenge against already embattled Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas.

MoveOn announced in an email that 92 percent of their more than 4 million members voted to support the primary. It's no real surprise since the progressive group has long targeted Lincoln, but their support could catapult the already tight race to become a repeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman's Democratic primary in Connecticut in 2006.

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has some advice for embattled New York Gov. David Paterson: don't let the Man push you aside.

Paterson, who decided not to run for a full term last week after the New York Times reported on alleged interference in a top aide's domestic violence case, is facing calls from some fellow Democrats to resign.

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The man who served as Senate parliamentarian on and off from 1981-2001 has news for Senate Republicans, who say the Democrats are way out on a limb using the majority-vote budget reconciliation process to amend health care legislation.

"Reconciliation has been used a lot," said Robert Dove on MSNBC this morning. "And I would never use the term illegitimate with regard to reconciliation."

"It has been used starting in 1980 for very large, major bills. And it is a way, of course, of getting around the problem of the Senate filibuster," Dove went on.

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In an address to The America's Promise Alliance today, President Obama said that he is committed to education reform and acknowledged the work of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Colin Powell. He mentioned alternative teacher training and changing school administrators as possible strategies to improve school performance. Here's the full text:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Everybody please have a seat.

Let me begin by acknowledging some of the extraordinary people who are working on this extraordinary project. First of all, I want everybody to know, in case you haven't already met him, somebody who is working tirelessly on behalf of the young people of America, my Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. (Applause.)

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As the Republican Party becomes increasingly dominated by an implacably anti-Obama far-right fringe, it's becoming difficult for even mainstream GOPers to avoid endorsing the loonier rhetoric of the Tea Party wing.

Consider Ed Martin, a former chief of staff to Missouri governor Matt Blunt, who's mounted a strong bid to challenge Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) in the fall. This weekend, Martin campaigned at a Tea Party rally at the Arch in St. Louis, and his campaign posted photographs of the event on his official website. Most of the pictures are unremarkable. But a few show people expressing sentiments that -- though perhaps not so unusual for a Tea Party event -- might raise some eyebrows when they're being promoted by a serious candidate for Congress.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is still way behind a slew of GOP candidates in his bid to win a fifth term in the Senate, according to a new poll. But there's a glimmer of hope for Reid contained in the numbers -- if the Tea Party (which appears to be a real thing in Nevada) mounts a serious candidate in the race, Reid could find himself back in a competitive fight.

The details are all contained in the newest Mason-Dixon poll of Nevada, published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal this weekend.

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