TPM News

Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate and de facto last-minute Republican nominee who narrowly lost the NY-23 special election to Democrat Bill Owens this past Tuesday, isn't done yet with politics -- he's headed down South, to speak at a North Carolina Republican event.

As Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling (D) reports:

I've been pretty sure the Republicans will get back control of the North Carolina legislature next year but now I'm not underestimating their chances to defeat themselves.

Just got an e-mail from the party that they're bringing in Doug Hoffman to speak at their Hall of Fame dinner in a couple weeks. The same Doug Hoffman of course who managed to blow a Congressional seat the party had held for over a century.

UPDATE 9:33 P.M. ET: Contrary to earlier reports, suspected primary shooter Nidal Malik Hasan is actually alive and in custody. Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said Hasan was reportedly wounded several times during the shooting but is in stable condition.

Twelve people were killed and 31 wounded in the mass shooting at Fort Hood military base in Texas this afternoon.

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6:53 p.m.: MSNBC reports that the suspected shooter was set to be deployed to Iraq on Nov. 28. The Army Times reports that a Pentagon source said he was a psychiatrist recently reassigned from Walter Reed Medical Center near Washington, D.C., to Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood.

6:22 p.m.: Hutchison told MSNBC that the suspected shooter was going to be deployed to Iraq, but stressed that it's premature to speculate about motives.

6:21 p.m.: At his press conference about half an hour ago, Gov. Rick Perry asked Americans to "keep their families in your prayers." He also lauded actions of the incident's responders. "We have the right people on the scene at this time," he said.

5:23 p.m.: ABC News reports that the primary shooter was Major Malik Nadal Hasan.

5 p.m.: The Statesman tweets that a spokesman for a local hospital, Scott and White, confirms that all the victims there are adults.

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The first thing you need to know about the Tea Partiers: they take their traffic laws very seriously.

In a city known for its jaywalking, roll-through red lights and the white-knuckled anarchy of the traffic circle, the thousands of flag-carrying jeans-clad protesters who descended on Capitol Hill today stood out in the D.C. morning rush hour by literally standing -- they waited patiently curbside as "Don't Walk" signs counted all the way down to "Walk" outside D.C.'s Union Station transit hub while caffeine-fueled Hill staffers (and at least one reporter) rushed past them into a sea of beeping horns and one-finger arguments about who has the right of way.

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Anonymous officials tell the AP they are looking at whether Bill Sparkman, the Census worker found dead in rural Kentucky in September with the word "fed" written on his chest, may have committed suicide.

The wire service reports that investigators have recently "grown more skeptical that 51-year-old Bill Sparkman died at the hands of someone angry at the federal government." It continues:

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U.S. Capitol Police arrested 10 people this afternoon after the Capitol Hill Tea Party crowd stormed Congressional office buildings.

Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, public information office for the Capitol Police, told TPMDC the arrests happened in the Cannon House building as tea partiers attempted to protest Speaker Nancy Pelosi about health care.

They were charged with unlawful entry (entering a Congressional office and refusing to leave when told to do so) and/or disorderly conduct (yelling in the hallway outside an office) at Room 235 in the Cannon House Office Building.

Room 235 is Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office for district business, not where she conducts her duties as Speaker. That's handled at an office in the Capitol building.

TPMDC happened upon a crowd that formed around two police vans as the protesters were prepared for "transporting," according to one officer there.

Without those official details, protesters in the crowd watching the arrests were furious. They shouted "Let them go!" and one man yelled at the police that "Martin Luther King" was being dishonored and shouted "Letter from Birmingham Jail!"

One woman told officers they were "shameful." Others called the arrested protesters "political prisoners."

"This is America, this is not the Soviet Union," one woman said.

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The Democratic National Committee released this statement today on the Capitol Hill Tea Party, which was organized and promoted by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN):

"If the Republican party wants to make Michele Bachmann the voice of the party, that's more than fine with us. We'll help circulate the petition. But it is surprising that after Congressman-elect Owens won a special election by supporting the President's agenda in a New York district that hasn't elected a Democrat since Benjamin Harrison was President, that the Republican party would continue to allow itself to be led around by nose by the likes of Bachmann, Beck , Limbaugh, Palin and the rest of the extreme tea party crowd. It's their extreme right-wing, rigid ideological agenda that has Americans leaving the Republican Party in droves - and so, if displays like today are what they think is a smart political strategy, all we can say is: go for it," said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan.

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele told ABCNews.com today that he'll "come after" Republicans who support the stimulus or health care reform. He also said "we want to partner as much as possible" with tea partiers.

Steele was asked if it would be OK to have 2010 candidates who've supported the stimulus or health care reform.

"That's where the line gets a little bit tricky ... Candidates who live in moderate to slightly liberal districts have got to walk a little bit carefully here, because you do not want to put yourself in a position where you're crossing that line on conservative principles, fiscal principles," Steele said.

"Because we'll come after you. You're gonna find yourself in a very tough hole if you're arguing for the president's stimulus plan or Nancy Pelosi's health plan. There's no justification for growing the size of government the way this administration and this Congress wants to do it," he continued.

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There may be tea party protesters wandering the halls of Congress, and inundating members' office, by the thousands today--but some of the very people they hope to impact seem to be all but unaware of them.

"Are they doing that?" asked Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), tongue planted firmly in cheek. "Oh good, good!"

Does that mean he's battening down the hatches and preparing for an onslaught? Quite the opposite!

"We're very friendly up there, so I know they'll get a warm reception."

With less than two months to go until Congress breaks for the holidays, the White House and Senate leaders are huddling to figure out how to pass a bill before the end of the year. As part of their push, both camps are meeting with conservative Democrats--most notably Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)--whose unanimous support is absolutely required simply to bring the bill to the floor. But leading Democrats are unlikely to make any progress until these swing-vote senators see the bill Majority Leader Harry Reid put together, along with a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. They say that's necessary before they make any decisions on even the earliest procedural votes, and there's no clear indication as to when the CBO will weigh in.

Last night, Reid met with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and others to discuss, among other things, how far they've come in convincing caucus conservatives to support the bill's public option. "That's one of many subjects, that wasn't the main subject," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Along the same lines, Reid spokesman Jim Manley suggests that this is part and parcel of an effort to move legislation sooner rather than later. They met, he said, to "discuss ways to try and get a bill done by the end of the year."

But with conservative Democrats cold to the public option, and withholding their commitments to allow the bill to be debated on the floor, the White House and Democratic leaders have a lot of work ahead of them and they'll likely have to work in tandem. On that score, this week, Lincoln--perhaps the most electorally vulnerable of all moderate Democrats--met with both Reid and President Obama to discuss the Senate bill.

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