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Family Research Council's Tony Perkins said today on Fox News that a group of conservatives who signed a "manifesto" at Mount Vernon are not trying to create a third party but reclaim their principles.

"What's happened is, I think, over the last 10 to 15 years, is that the the conservative movement has become too aligned with the Republican Party. In the sense that the Republican Party began to speak for the conservative movement," he said.

Perkins said now you start to see conservative leaders and members of the tea party movement speaking out to say, "We're not going to let the Republican Party define what conservatism is, we are."

He said if the GOP wants to "thrive" they will adopt the principles they lined out in the statement today.

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During an interview on Sean Hannity's TV show last night, Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher said that he does not support the reelection of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), whose campaign made him famous as an icon of conservatives during the 2008 election.

"And you know, I went around with John McCain because it was the lesser of two evils, to be quite frank. You know, I'm not afraid to say that," said Wurzelbacher, discussing his experience in 2008. "John McCain exactly doesn't represent true conservatism. He does represent the Republicans, but not true conservatism."

Hannity asked Wurzelbacher whether he would support McCain's reelection. "Absolutely not. I mean that's what the Tea Party movement is against. You know, John McCain is of Washington. He's a career politician. He's had plenty and ample opportunities to fix things and get things done, and yet here we are," said Wurzelbacher. "I mean, he's just the face of what's going on in Washington. And I'm not necessarily trying to pick on John McCain. I mean, we need to get rid of most of those guys that are in there that are career politicians -- your Barbara Boxers, your Nancy Pelosis."

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Did Michael Steele pull the wool over the eyes of the Tea Partiers he met with last night? Or is the RNC chair just not so up on what his party's doing? Or was there just a big misunderstanding?

An Indiana Tea Partier, Greg Fettig, said he asked Steele whether national Republicans had recruited Dan Coats into the GOP Senate race, CNN reports. There were already several Republican candidates before Coats entered the race, and Fettig said Tea Party activists in the state are "adamantly against" Coats, a former senator who now works as a Washington lobbyist.

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It's not exactly "We the people."

Conservatives have published their "Mount Vernon Statement" -- which is modeled after the Sharon Statement of 1960 -- states that America's "founding ideas" are "under sustained attack" and have "been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics."

The change we urgently need, a change consistent with the American ideal, is not movement away from but toward our founding principles. At this important time, we need a restatement of Constitutional conservatism grounded in the priceless principle of ordered liberty articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

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A man who was working at the newspaper distribution center where police apprehended a fleeing Amy Bishop after she killed her brother in 1986 tells TPMmuckraker that investigators never followed up with him, even though Bishop had threatened him with a shotgun, demanding to know if he had a car.

The revelation is at least the second -- and possibly the third -- known instance of Bishop pointing her gun at people she encountered after fleeing her home. And it provides more evidence of possible police missteps in the investigation of the shooting of Seth Bishop -- which was ruled an accident, mainly on the word of Seth and Amy's mother.

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Everyone loved Google's "Parisian Love" Super Bowl ad, right? Well, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is borrowing its style in a new web video slamming Democrats.

Implying that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid takes bribes and that the stimulus is an "epic fail," the GOP video isn't quite as touching as Google's original.

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Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) told Morning Joe today that he's opposed to changing the Senate's filibuster rules. He also spoke to the virtues of partisanship.

Dodd, who recently announced he will retire from the Senate this year, said he thinks it would be "foolish" to change filibuster rules.

"I'm totally opposed to the idea of changing the filibuster rules. I think that's foolish, in my view," he said.

The problem, he said, was a lack of civility in the Senate, stemming from a lack of "chemistry" among senators.

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The Conservative Political Action Committee is the most establishment of all the gatherings on the right, but the tea partiers will be in on the action.

When CPAC kicks off tomorrow in Washington, members of the tea party movement will be on hand. They are sort of strange bedfellows, since tea party members insist they aren't about the Republican party and CPAC is viewed as the marquis event for the GOP and its potential presidential candidates. As we've been writing, Republicans across the country have been trying to harness the tea party energy for their own races as anti-establishment sentiment sweeps the nation in the leadup to the midterm elections.

There are plenty of divisions from within the tea party umbrella as well - a split between groups like the Tea Party Nation which charged $549 for its recent convention and citizens who say the last thing they want is to be an official third party.

Despite these fissures, top officials with tea party groups will speak and the documentary about the Tea Party will be on hand. Rapper Hi-Caliber, who stars in Tea Party material, even plans to perform.

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