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For the last few days, we've all been transfixed by the tawdry spectacle out of California, in which a married Republican family values crusader has gotten his comeuppance after being exposed -- with the aid of a hot mic -- as a repulsive sexual braggard.

But a very different story about the personal life of a state-level Republican politician has been playing out today down in Kentucky -- one that's far stranger and more tragic. Indeed, with its themes of love, death, violence, and bourbon, and its suggestion of a son struggling to live up to the accomplishments of his father, it's almost a modern-day Southern Gothic.

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D.C. liberals may be preparing for a significant teabagging onslaught at tomorrow's 9/12 rally, organized by Glenn Beck and FreedomWorks and other mainstays of the tea party retinue. But they're also probably engaging in a bit of sleight-of-hand.

"As you may know, FreedomWorks held a Capitol Hill demonstration yesterday, that turned into an impromptu rally for embattled Rep. Joe Wilson," reads an email from a House leadership aide to other members of Congress. "Now, based off of news reports and comments from leaders in the Tea Party movement, it looks like Saturday's event is going to be a huge gathering, estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to 2 million people."

For reference, 2 million is just a hair under four times the total population of Washington, D.C., and approximately the number of people who showed up to the history-making inauguration of President Barack Obama. Sound like a bit of an exaggeration? It probably is.

A source at a major liberal organization in Washington says, "one of the things we decided to do was try to raise expectations for turnout," adding that he'd not received this particular House memo.

This is not to say that tomorrow's turnout will be small... but 2 million?!

Late update: FreedomWorks says it expect 20,000 to 30,000 teabaggers tomorrow. Assuming they're underselling, the true number's probably just a little higher than that. But then, the weather's supposed to suck tomorrow, so who knows! Maybe we're in for some...weak tea? [CYMBAL]

MSNBC is reporting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a vote early next week on whether to censure Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), unless he apologizes on the House floor for heckling the President.

Wilson already apologized to the White House for his outburst Wednesday night. He screamed, "You lie!" during President Obama's health care address to a joint session of Congress, just after Obama said a public option wouldn't cover illegal immigrants.

Obama accepted his apology, but some lawmakers have been calling on him to apologize on the House floor. In appearances since, Wilson has seemed less than repentant, calling it a "double standard" that he had to say sorry at all.

Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN).

• CBS, Face The Nation: White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

• CNN, State Of The Union: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA).

• Fox News Sunday: Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

A new poll of Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) district by Public Policy Polling (D) says that the controversial Congressman may have seriously landed himself in hot water through his "You lie!" outburst -- and is now trailing his Democratic opponent by one point.

Democratic candidate Rob Miller, who has received a ton of money from donors around the country since Wednesday night, now has 44%, to Wilson's 43%. The two both have 75% support among their own parties, but Miller leads among independents by 47%-39%. Only 29% of the total pool of respondents approved of Wilson's actions at the speech, compared to 62% who disapproved.

Wilson won re-election over Miller by 54%-46% in 2008, after having previously won his races with support of more than 60% or even over 80% of the electorate.

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The Schloz can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Justice Department has decided to uphold the Bush administration's decision not to charge former Bush DOJ official Bradley Schlozman with perjury in connection with his testimony about politicized hiring at DOJ. The news was contained in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to Sen. Chuck Schumer, which was obtained by TPMmuckraker.

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The new survey of North Carolina by Public Policy Polling (D) continues to show that Sen. Richard Burr is on shaky ground, with very low approval ratings -- but nevertheless, he is still able to lead potential 2010 Democratic opponents for now.

Burr's approval rating is only 38%, which would usually be considered abysmal for an incumbent. Interestingly, his disapproval is only 32%, with a whopping 29% undecided. Burr leads a generic Democrat by 45%-38%, and has various leads over named Democrats. For example, he leads Sec. of State Elaine Marshall -- who recently filed paperwork to create a campaign committee, but has not yet formally announced a candidacy -- by 42%-31%.

It's not that he's unpopular -- it's that in the time since he was first elected in 2004, he has thus far failed to actually make an impression on the voters.

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I just got off the phone with Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the immigrant rights group America's Voice, who's not exactly pleased that Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Max Baucus (D-MT) are responding to the Joe Wilson scream incident by writing immigrant restrictions into health care legislation.

"Baucus and Conrad are caving on a fake issue that is trumped up by Republicans not to better the bill but to trump up opposition to reform," Sharry declared. "I just find it stunning that they would validate what Joe Wilson did."

Sharry also points out that the changes to the bill are likely to be extremely inefficient. Under Medicaid, he says, "there is currently a verification system in place called the SAVE program, which works pretty well."

But under President George W. Bush, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act, which implemented a checkpoint system resembling the plan Baucus and Conrad have adopted. In 2007, a Government Accountability Office report (PDF) found that "the DRA documentation requirements have led to widespread declines in Medicaid enrollment and increased administrative costs [and] have cost significantly more to implement than they have saved in expenditures by excluding undocumented immigrants from Medicaid coverage. For every $100 spent by federal taxpayers to implement the new requirements in six states, only 14 cents in Medicaid savings can be documented."

So not only is this particular method of avoiding systemic abuse by low-wage, undocumented residents ineffective and politically dubious. It's also extremely wasteful. Thankfully, though, Congressmen like Joe Wilson will no longer be tempted to scream "you lie!" at President Obama. Or maybe it won't even accomplish that.

It turns out that "Hot Mike" Duvall wasn't the only lawmaker to take a political hit from the exposure of his lewd sexual braggadocio.

Yesterday, the colleague who sat next to him and heard his raunchy tales, fellow Republican Jeff Miller, was removed from the Ethics committee which is probing the scandal. But could Miller, whose Orange County district is close to Duvall's, have been more than just a passive listener in this scandal?

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Just because President Obama set out to fully debunk the "death panel" smear in his speech to Congress last night, it doesn't mean for a moment that Republicans are actually going to stop playing that card, as Greg Sargent has noticed.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential presidential candidate, appeared today on Morning Joe, and admitted that the health care bill does not create death panels -- but warned that people should be worried about it happening ten years from now, in order to lower costs:

"Joe, there is nothing int he legislation that directly says that," Pawlenty admitted. "It's the indirect concerns that I'm trying to articulate, that I think are at least worth raising."

Pawlenty need not worry about death panels hurting Minnesota, though. If it ever gets to that point, he could always run for governor again and then nullify them.

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Obama Prepares For DHS Shutdown

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama convened a meeting with key administration officials on Friday…