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The fourth ballot has been counted in the RNC Chairman's race, and we're still stuck, with Priebus enjoying a modest, but by no means overwhelming lead.

The overall tally, in descending order:

Priebus: 58 Cino: 29 Steele: 28 Wagner: 28 Anuzis: 24 Anonymous Write-In: 1

Priebus enjoys a small, four vote gain. If somebody doesn't drop out soon and endorse him, we're in for a long night. Speculation is that Steele will throw his support to Wagner, which would put her in a dead heat with Priebus. Stay tuned.

As TPM was first to report Wednesday, conservatives found themselves up in arms about T-shirts that were given out during the Tucson memorial for victims of last Saturday's shooting.

Some said the T-shirts, which read "Together We Thrive: Tucson & America," were an inappropriate political statement orchestrated by the White House, since President Obama spoke at the memorial.

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The third ballot has been cast in the RNC Chairman's race, and the winner, again, is Reince Priebus, with 54 votes.

The overall tally, in descending order:

Priebus: 54 Steele: 33 Wagner: 32 Cino: 28 Anuzis: 21

Strange results. Cino's lost all momentum, and Wagner's slowly climbing, but Priebus isn't building on his lead.





Optimists of the country take note! In the wake of the tragedy in Arizona, could it be that our nation's leaders and media figures may actually try to turn down the hate. First people from both parties united to appreciate President Obama's memorial speech. Then a plan was set in place to end the partisan seating arrangements that have, for years, plagued State of the Union Addresses like the awkward gender split at middle school dance (beware of bipartisan cooties!). Now, Fox News' Chris Wallace is making the startling assertion that we should discuss the health care law without the use of terms like "socialist" and "fascist." Whoa.

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There's a least one group not taking kindly to President Barack Obama's call for civility this week in the wake of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ): the Westboro Baptist Church.

Not surprisingly, a spokesperson from the infamous congregation (best known for protesting the funerals of soldiers killed in action with anti-gay signs) blew off Obama's plea to bring it down a notch in a phone interview with TPM on Friday.

Read More →

The Tea Party Express took in $7,500 in donations over the past two years under the name of a woman who died in 2007, the Center for Responsive Politics reports today.

FEC filings show that the Tea Party Express, which funnels most of its contributions straight to the GOP consultants who founded it, reported a total of $2,500 from Joan Snyder Holmes of Guam in 2009, and another $5,000 in September 2010.

Holmes passed away on Feb. 1, 2007.

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The second ballot has been cast in the RNC Chairman's race, and the winner, again, is Reince Priebus, with 52 votes.

The overall tally, in descending order:

Priebus: 52 Steele: 37 Cino: 30 Wagner: 27 Anuzis: 22

Maria Cino underperformed compared to round one, which will fuel speculation that Priebus parked some votes with her to set her up as his mano-a-mano opponent. This is just one of many unsourced lines of speculation floating around the convention center, bu it's got plenty of traction. Steele, predictably, is sinking quickly -- he lost seven votes between the first and second rounds.

Here's a sampling of the analysis completely unsubstantiated spin, gossip, speculation, and conspiracy theorizing I'm hearing from operatives after the first ballot at the RNC Chairman's race.

1). Priebus threw some of his votes to Cino in a bid to pick his opponent after Steele goes down.

2). John Boehner's public endorsement and private whipping for Cino has actually paid off, giving her an unexpectedly strong first round showing. (Note, this directly conflicts with theory 1.)

3). Steele has cooked up a deal with (pick one) Anuzis or Wagner to throw his support to him/her after he drops out, creating a three-lane bottleneck in later rounds of voting.

Pick one. It has a...something, something chance of being accurate.

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