TPM News

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)--who's running to replace retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) in this year's midterm elections--has a position on health care reform that may prove unpopular, even with conservative voters. Blunt says adults with pre-existing conditions should not be prevented from suffering discrimination at the hands of insurance companies.

"Access for kids who have pre-existing conditions, who would be against that?" Blunt asked a group of health care professionals in Springfield, MO. "But access for adults who've done nothing to take care of themselves, who actually will have as I just described every incentive not to get insurance until the day that you know that you're going to have medical expenses--that's a very different kind of story."

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), the fiery liberal best known for his insults and punchlines against the Republicans, has sure been able to parlay his notoriety into financial support.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Grayson's campaign expects to report raising an astonishing $803,000 in the first quarter of 2010, and that he has $1.5 million on hand. (Over half appears to have come from a March 27 money-bomb online fundraiser, which took in $470,000.) Grayson's campaign said that the donations came from approximately 25,000 individual donors, with an average contribution of $32.

Beyond his grassroots fundraising, it should also be noted that Grayson himself is a multi-millionaire, and self-financed his 2008 campaign with about $2.6 million of his own money. But he could very well end up needing all of those small donors plus some of his own cash, hailing from a swing district that voted narrowly for Barack Obama in 2008, after a previous history of supporting Republicans.

The Tea Party movement has gained a foothold in the armed forces.

A new Tea Party group, Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots, has grown quickly since being launched last month by an active duty Marine Corps sergeant. The group, which vows to "stand up on the very soil we defended to preserve common sense conservatism and defend our Constitution that is threatened by a tyrannical government," currently has over 400 members, who have signed up through its Facebook page, though many are not active duty military. And it has close ties to the broader Tea Party movement.

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In the face of poll after brutal poll, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's re-election campaign has maintained that Reid is doing just fine, thank you very much. Their latest defense, after a Mason-Dixon poll found Reid trailing one potential challenger by eight points, is that the poll didn't include every possible option voters will have -- including "none of the above."

Reid told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which commissioned the survey, "I'm not a poll guy."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) campaigned in Iowa over the weekend, appearing at an annual fundraising event for her ally Rep. Steve King (R-IA). And while she was there, Bachmann said that maybe King should run for president -- and he praised her for a "shoot from the hip" political style.

"We've got to shoot from the hip sometimes," King said. "It's not always ready, aim, fire. Sometimes it's just time to fire and you'd better have good instincts so that you can shoot and it might look later like you didn't shoot from the hip but you took careful aim. That's 'cause your instincts brought that about."

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In a mass email sent out last night to the supporter list of the Columbus Tea Party and obtained by TPMmuckraker, leaders of the group issued a set of "do's and dont's" for protesters attending an April 15 Ohio State House event -- chief among them: absolutely no pre-gaming.

Specifically, the email warns those planning to attend the "Tax Day" event, "No alcohol (or other mood-enhancer) or pre-drinking."

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In a new web video, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) paints his primary challenger J.D. Hayworth as a birth-certificate-searching, horse-marriage-fearing, Dracula-believing whackadoo.

Hayworth, a former congressman, is mounting a challenge from the right and attacking McCain as overly moderate. Although Hayworth is still lagging in the polls, he could give McCain a serious run for his money.

The video, using clips from the Lion King and Mars Attacks, says Hayworth considers the "most pressing challenges" to be President Obama's birthplace, interspecies marriage and whether Dracula is real. Also, martians.


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The White House quickly tamped down a suggestion, made by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) this morning, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would make a good replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters in his daily briefing today that President Obama has no plans to move Clinton to the judiciary branch.

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Prosecutors allege that a dizzying array of drugs, weapons and even a collection of speeches by Adolf Hitler were found at the homes of several of the alleged members of the Hutaree Christian militia.

The AP got a look at the search warrant records in the case, in which prosecutors allege that nine Hutaree members were plotting to kill police. At the trailer of Hutaree leader David Stone, three DVDs labeled "Waco," a grenade holder, over 35 guns, and materials for a "funnel shape charge" were allegedly found.

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Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA), who is widely viewed as being one the most vulnerable House Democrats this year, announced a strong fundraising quarter over the weekend, bringing in over $600,000 and having $1.4 million in cash on hand.

Perriello's district voted 51%-48% for John McCain in 2008, while Perriello narrowly unseated incumbent Republican Rep. Virgil Goode by margin of just 727 votes out of over 315,000 cast. There is currently a crowded Republican primary to face Perriello.

Meanwhile, Politico reports that unlike other House members in vulnerable seats, who are lying low after voting for the health care bill, Perriello has been actively campaigning in the district, meeting with voters and discussing how it will affect them.