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White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said President Obama and the Senate Democrats have "100 percent, absolute confidence" in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid following the publication of old comments Reid made on Obama's race.

"What's important is not what was said a year ago, it's the challenges they are facing here today in the country," Emanuel said, appearing on the new MSNBC show "The Daily Rundown."

The defense of Reid comes after weekend revelations that the majority leader talked about Obama being "light-skinned" and not having a "Negro dialect" and his private support for Obama during the 2008 presidential primary.

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Carlos Allen, who allegedly attended November's state dinner at the White House without being on the guest list, showed what he said was an invitation but couldn't produce anything with his name on it today on Good Morning America.

"I was invited. I actually got an invitation in the mail. I have the actual invite," he said. Allen showed what he said was his official invitation, which did not have his name on it. He could not produce a seating card or anything else with his name on it.

Allen, who runs a magazine purportedly focused on philanthropy as well as a party venue out of a home in D.C., has maintained his innocence since being named as the third crasher. He allegedly tagged along with the official Indian delegation to the dinner, and had no contact with President Obama.

"I didn't want to embarrass anyone. I did not want to embarrass my president," he said today.

We'll have video shortly.

Gov. John Hoeven (R-ND) will officially kick off his campaign for Senate today, Politico reports, as the Republican frontrunner for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan.

Hoeven led Dorgan himself in the polls that had been done before Dorgan announced his retirement, though Hoeven was not actually in the race yet. With Hoeven's entry into the race, he is now the undeniable frontrunner, and the seat is at least a leaning pickup for the Republicans.

Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who is already elected statewide to North Dakota's only House seat, decided last week that he would not run. Other possible Democratic candidates are liberal talk show host Ed Schultz, who has been courted by the state Democrats, and former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, who lost the 2000 gubernatorial race to Hoeven.

It was a rough week for Tea Party Nation.

The group first accused MSNBC's Rachel Maddow of joining as a sort of liberal spy, and after TPMDC's coverage of the issue (and Maddow denial) the site seems to have gotten a flood of liberals engaged in apparently suspicious activity.

Organizers with Tea Party Nation, planning a convention in Nashville next month starring Sarah Palin, sent out an email blast late Friday detailing what they have seen, and noted they will "correct these problems."

"They have joined en masse, coming on the site to offend, disrupt and interfere as much as they can," organizers wrote. "They have uploaded inappropriate content, sent us obscene messages and even uploaded pornographic images."

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In the latest sign of rancor in Tea Party circles, a convention billed as an effort to bring together conservative activists from across the country is being attacked by some leading Tea Partiers as inauthentic, too tied to the GOP, and -- at $549 per head -- too expensive for the working Americans the movement aspires to represent.

The National Tea Party Convention, scheduled for early February in Nashville, grabbed headlines after announcing that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann would appear as speakers, Palin as the keynote. According to a message on the convention's website, the event "is aimed at bringing the Tea Party Movement leaders together from around the nation." But organizers are a long way from unifying the notoriously fractious movement.

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In a new interview with Esquire, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- who's under indictment for federal corruption charges -- takes issue with President Obama's image.

It's such a cynical business, and most of the people in the business are full of shit and phonies, but I was real, man -- and am real. This guy, he was catapulted in on hope and change, what we hope the guy is. What the fuck? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter. I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up.

Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat for anything he could get, including a cushy job for himself or his wife, but maintains his innocence.

Late update: Blagojevich apologized today in an interview with a local radio station.

Obama: 'No Intention' To Send Troops To Yemen In an interview with People, President Obama said that he is focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaida, and has no plans to send U.S. troops to Yemen. "I never rule out any possibility in a world that is this complex," said Obama, also adding: "in countries like Yemen, in countries like Somalia, I think working with international partners is most effective at this point."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, and meet at 10:30 a.m. ET with senior advisers. He will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with labor leaders. He will at 5:30 p.m. ET with U.S. Combatant Commanders. At 7 p.m. ET, the President and First Lady will host a dinner with the Combatant Commanders and their spouses.

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In a remarkable example of how bad information can travel far and wide, dozens of media outlets around the world have said Umar Abdulmutallab was traveling on a one-way ticket to Detroit when he allegedly tried to blow up Flight 253, even though that has never been substantiated and appears to be flat wrong.

Abdulmutallab's "one-way ticket" has been cited in recent days by the AP, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, even though the Nigerian government said Dec. 28 that Abdulmutallab had a round-trip ticket, and provided details to back it up.

The "one-way ticket" meme was originally sourced to anonymous U.S. officials and has since been recited as an undisputed fact.

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