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Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), a member of the Blue Dogs, has announced his opposition to the current health care bill from the House Democrats:

"After careful review of the current legislation pending in the House and the Congressional Budget Office's analysis, I believe the bill will not help control the long-term costs of health care and puts in place an infrastructure that is not fiscally sustainable over time. I am unable to support this legislation in its present form.

"Most of us realize that serious reforms are needed to fix what is broken in our health care system. Specifically, we should work to reform health insurance; ensure no one can be denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition; and slow the upward curve of health care costs. I will continue talking with Tennesseans and working with others to achieve these goals, improve our health care system and ensure our reforms help solve, rather than contribute to, our nation's long-term fiscal challenges."


Nov. 5, 2009: Thousands gather in front of the US Capitol to hear from a star-studded collection of Republican representatives and assorted conservative personalities in an anti-health care reform rally organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). So many Republican members of Congress rushed to join the party that some missed voting on some much bally-hooed amendments to the PATRIOT Act. Go here for full coverage from TPM.

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Bachmann called the event "the Super Bowl of freedom." See more pictures here.
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Randall Terry's anti-abortion folks make an appearance.
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TPMDC's reporters estimate the crowd at about 8,000 people.

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Rep. Joe "You lie!" Wilson (R-SC) meets with supporters who gathered for the rally. Wilson was welcomed to the tea party stage with cheers.

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A janitor sweeps up copies of the health care bill discarded by protesters outside Nancy Pelosi's office.

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Yesterday, the Club For Growth launched a new attack ad against Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL), a moderate who is facing a challenge in the GOP primary for Senate from the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio -- which was, in fact, a change from the Club's previous skepticism about getting involved in this race.

Back in July, when Crist was much further ahead in both polls and fundraising, the Club's executive director David Keating had said the Club was still looking at where it could best spend its money: "We have to look at his race versus all the others we're interested in, and there are going to be a lot of competitive races."

Today, Keating told TPM that Rubio's recent pick-up in fundraising, taking in about $1 million for the previous quarter, was an encouraging sign.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on a kick. Personally frustrated, and under pressure from the left, Reid has decided to take direct aim at Republican obstruction, and he's doing so in angry terms.

"For anybody watching, what's taken place the last three years knows the Republicans have become experts in wasting time, the American taxpayers' time, the American people's time, and yesterday was no exception," Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Democrats can't pass off all of the blame for the glacial pace of progress in the last several months. With a 60-member caucus, they in theory have sufficient numbers to overcome GOP filibusters of key agenda items, if they could only agree to stay united. But even if they did muscle their agenda through the procedural labyrinth of the Senate, they still wouldn't be able to stop the foot-dragging.

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In the wake of the NY-23 right-wing revolt, could the GOP be on the verge of seeing even more challenges from the activist right? Some recent developments suggest that the natives are getting restless.

• NRCC chairman Pete Sessions is being challenged in the Republican primary by David Smith, a corporate financial analyst. Smith told us that the NY-23 mess was not a factor in his decision -- but it should help him in attacking Sessions: "It's nice to have my opponent in the national news for a bad reason at the same time I'm announcing my candidacy."

• Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) is facing a Republican primary challenge from Jason Sager, a currently unemployed audio-visual engineer. Sager specifically cited Brown-Waite's having campaigned for Dede Scozzafava, the moderate Republican nominee in NY-23 who ultimately dropped out of the race and endorsed Democrat Bill Owens, as a reason for his challenge.

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At yesterday's tea party rally on Capitol Hill, at least one protester brandished a large graphic photograph of the victims of the Dachau Nazi concentration camp, comparing health care reform to Nazi policies. Today, Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-VA) spokesman called the photograph "inappropriate."

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) has also condemned the poster.

Cantor, in an interview today with Bloomberg, also offered some criticism of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's comparison of President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

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Perhaps we didn't give American Police Force chief Michael Hilton enough credit earlier this week when we reported on his excuse for not handing over works of art to help pay off a hefty fraud judgment in California. Now Hilton, who has admitted the APF deal in Hardin, Montana, was bogus, has allowed a courier for one of his victims to take the art from his Santa Barbara home.

But, as the Billings Gazette reports, Hilton's description of the works, which he claims are his only assets and include a rendering of Mother Theresa, was false:

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The RNC recently sent out a fundraising letter that includes a "survey" about President Obama's "agenda" that the Washington Post is calling a dishonest push poll.

"Are you in favor of reinstituting the military draft, as Democrats in Congress have proposed?" one question on the 15-question survey reads.

TPM obtained a copy of "2009 Obama Agenda Survey" sent to one Kansas voter. Read it here.

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Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) has posted this YouTube video, condemning the use of Holocaust imagery at yesterday's Capitol Hill Tea Party, and calling out Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for organizing the event, as well as the Republican leaders who attended.

Israel made it clear that he believes in the basic right to free speech, and that he took an oath to defend the Constitution and the rights of people that he disagrees with: "But with that right comes a responsibility by leaders to condemn that kind of expression. I just cannot believe that Congresswoman Bachmann sponsored and brought to the American people the use of images from the Holocaust, actual photographs of the skeletal remains of people from the crematoria, in order to make a point about the health insurance bill."

"I can't believe that Congresswoman Bachmann would stand where she stood, and see those images, and not have the common decency to say, 'I disagree with the use of those images.' I think that she owes the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust an apology. She owes us all an apology. And I'm waiting. We're all waiting.

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