TPM News

The tea partiers are coming to Nashville tomorrow for their first official convention, and the state Democratic Party is holding a counter happy hour where they'll serve "anything but tea."

As we've been reporting, former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) is the keynote speaker at tomorrow's Tea Party Nation convention at Opryland. The Tennessee Democratic Party is trying to get Democrats to show up at the Cabana Restaurant in Nashville. (See the actual invite here.)

"This event is about bringing people together to celebrate our hope for the future," the Dems wrote in an email. The "Anything but tea!" happy hour is free (compared with a $549 banquet ticket for the convention).

Harold Ford Jr. -- the former Democratic Congressman from Tennessee who may challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) -- is now blogging.

Ford, already famous for some unfortunate interviews (including one where he said he had visited New York City's boroughs by helicopter), is writing posts for an "unofficial" blog called the Ford Report.

In a post Sunday, he wrote about a recent visit to Syracuse, attacking Gillibrand for not visiting more often.

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President Obama had some advice for Democratic senators at a conference in D.C. today: stop watching TV and reading blogs.

"If everybody here turned off your CNN, your Fox -- just turn off the TV," he said. "MSNBC, blogs. And just go talk to folks out there instead of being in this echo chamber where the topic is constantly politics."

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President Obama urged Democratic senators to stand up to Republican obstructionism during remarks this morning at the Newseum in Washington D.C., urging them that "we still have to lead" -- even after losing a filibuster-proof supermajority.

"All that's changed in the last two weeks is that our party's gone from having the largest Senate majority in a generation to the second largest Senate majority in a generation," the president said. "And we've gotta remember that."

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Former Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) will reportedly announce that he is running for the Republican nomination for his old Senate seat, which is currently held by Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana journalist Brian Howey reports.

Coats was first elected to the House in 1980, and appointed to the Senate in 1989 after Dan Quayle's election to the vice presidency. Coats was then elected in his own right in 1990 and 1992, and then retired in 1998, with Bayh picking up the seat.

Coats is a late entrant to the primary race, with former Rep. John Hostettler, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, and Tea Party activist Richard Behney already in the race. The election is also approaching its filing deadline -- Coats will have to gather at least 4,500 ballot petition signatures, 500 within each of the state's nine House districts, in the next two weeks.

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Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Eric Schultz released a statement today regarding reports that Dan Coats is weighing a Senate bid in Indiana. Here's the full text:

"Dan Coats is a federally registered lobbyist whose client lists include banks, private equity firms, and defense contractors. Coats is a Washington DC insider who lined his own pockets as taxpayers spent $700 billion bailing out Wall Street banks. Indianans won't ignore Dan Coats' decade as a lobbyist working the system to gain special favors for the banking industry at the time of financial collapse and at the expense of working Americans."

Things heated up yesterday in Britain's official examination of the lessons of the Iraq War, with a former member of Tony Blair's cabinet charging that the British government was "misled" into believing the war was legal.

Since last July, a steady stream of current and former British officials have been testifying before the Iraq Inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot. But thus far, it's been relatively short on fireworks -- until yesterday's testimony by former International Development Secretary Clare Short.

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The new Quinnipiac poll of New York finds that state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo continues to have a very wide lead over incumbent Gov. David Paterson in a potential Democratic primary match-up. The poll also finds that voters do not believe race would end up being a divisive issue, if such a primary were to occur.

Among registered Democrats, Cuomo leads Paterson by 55%-23% in a primary. The poll also asked: "Some people say that if Andrew Cuomo runs against David Paterson in a Democratic primary for Governor that it would be racially divisive. Do you agree or disagree?" The top-line number was only 14% agree, 80% disagree. Among Democrats it was 15%-78%, among whites it was 13%-79%, and among blacks 22%-73%.

As the pollster's analysis notes, black Democratic voters favor Paterson in such a match-up, by a 42%-34% plurality. At the same time, though, black Dem respondents give Cuomo higher approval numbers for his job as attorney general, at 78%-12%, compared to their 60%-30% approval of Paterson as governor. So although race can often be a third rail in American politics, in this case it doesn't appear that it would end up being all that divisive.