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Newt Gingrich's 527 group sent a letter to porn exec Allison Vivas Wednesday telling her she'd won their "Entrepreneur of the Year" award and inviting her to an "intimate event" with Gingrich.

"I'm honored, and more than a little surprised, to receive this prestigious award," Vivas said today in a cheeky press release. "Rest assured, I'll take the opportunity to inform Mr. Gingrich of some of the major challenges facing the adult entertainment industry in the current market .., from obscenity prosecutions to content piracy, I'll make sure he walks away from that dinner educated about the realities of the online porn market."

The statement made the rounds, and now Media Matters reports that the group's spokesman sent a short statement clearing things up: "We have notified Allison Vivas that the notice she received was sent by mistake. We regret the error."

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Long before President Obama met yesterday with a coterie of conservative Senate Democrats to discuss health care reform, he had invited key Congressional liberals to the White House, ahead of his health care speech before Congress, to brief them and hear them out on the public option.

Except that meeting never happened. According to a House Democratic source, the White House never called back.

Today, I asked Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) whether he thought that sequence of events was reflective of the White House's priorities. He mostly played it down.

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Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) has announced that he was recently diagnosed with Bell's palsy, a nerve condition involving the paralysis of half of the patient's face. The disease usually heals within weeks, and Coleman expects to make a full recovery -- though some cases can be permanent.

In an interview with local Minnesota reporter Rick Kupchella, Coleman sure seemed to be in good spirits, and even cracked a joke about two-faced politicians. He talked about how odd it feels that his smile, a real part of who he is, isn't working correctly. He said he decided to give the interview rather than hide his condition.

"When I was in the Senate, I spent a lot of time on health-care issues," said Coleman. "There are folks who have conditions that are not temporary, their prognosis is not excellent. So I count my blessings. We'll get through this one."

As you may know, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) is now threatening to invoke the Tenth Amendment in order to keep his home state of Minnesota out of any health care reform package that gets passed, and raising the possibility of governors filing lawsuits against it. As it turns out, this is not the first time that a Minnesota governor has been embroiled in a battle of states' rights with the federal government -- and the last time it happened, it involved political action from the left.

The last time, in the 1980's, Democratic Gov. Rudy Perpich unsuccessfully went to the Supreme Court, leading a group of governors who argued that the federal government had no authority to send the state National Guards for what were officially billed as training missions in Honduras, in which they would be building roads, over the governors' objections. The governors and other opponents had argued that this was a pretext for aiding the Contras in neighboring Nicaragua, according to an April 12, 1987, article in the Chicago Tribune (via Nexis).

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As we've been reporting, Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Max Baucus (D-MT) responded to Rep. Joe "You Lie" Wilson (R-SC) with incredulity by implicitly affirming his false accusation that Democratic health care legislation will be a boon to illegal immigrants.

That move hasn't gone unnoticed, and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)--a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus--has some pretty harsh words for the two.

"The senators are knee-jerking and over-reacting," Grijalva told me today, denouncing the move.

Grijalva has emerged in recent weeks as one of the House progressives most committed to insisting health care reform legislation include a public option.

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A new Rasmussen poll finds that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) continues to trail former Rep. Rob Simmons, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

The numbers: Simmons 49%, Dodd 39%. Former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley also leads Dodd by 43%-40%. Dodd leads state Sen. Sam Caligiuri by 43%-40%, and edges out financial commentator Peter Schiff -- a favorite of the Ron Paul crowd -- by 42%-40%.

The state remains good ground for Democrats overall, though. Connecticut voters approve of President Obama by 59%-39%, and they also favor the health care reform plan by 52%-46%. Dodd, however, is still stuck in the mud for now.

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.


I'm here!