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One element of the "tea party" movement will stage a national convention next month where it’ll cost $549 to hear Sarah Palin make the keynote speech. Will the event help to organize a disparate political movement or alienate grassroots protesters who don’t have that kind of money? Who are the tea-partiers, anyway? Also, Also, the Proposition 8 same-sex marriage trail begins in federal court, and President Obama says "the book is closed," but Republicans accuse Senate Democrat Harry Reid of a "racist" comment.

Banner image: 'Tea Party' conservatives joined doctors and other medical professionals to protest against Congress' and President Barack Obama's healthcare reform efforts during a rally at the US Captiol September 10, 2009 in Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Making News Proposition 8 Trial Gets Underway 7 MIN, 47 SEC

In a federal court in San Francisco opening arguments began today in a challenge to California's Proposition 8, passed last year to make same-sex marriage illegal. Dale Carpenter is a professor of civil rights and civil liberty law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Dale Carpenter, Professor of Law, University of Minnesota

Main Topic Are 'Tea Parties' Real Politics? Can They Make a Difference? 36 MIN, 46 SEC

In the first year of the Obama Administration, the “tea party” movement made almost as much news as the federal stimulus, Wall Street, healthcare and the President himself. But tea-party participants often insist they are “principled conservatives,” not scornful Republicans, even as some Republican leaders try to soak up their energy. Who organizes tea parties?  Who goes to them?  Do they believe in “principles” or the slogans they chant for TV news cameras?  Could they become a coherent “movement” that could be seized by a charismatic candidate, like Sarah Palin?

Dale Robertson, President, TeaParty.org
Mark Leibovich, New York Times (@MarkLeibovich)
Thomas Frank, Salon / The Baffler
Joe Bageant, journalist

Reporter's Notebook Harry Reid Accused of Racism, Time for Another Beer Summit? 6 MIN, 24 SEC

game_change.jpgThe new book Game Change, about the 2008 presidential campaign, quotes Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid describing Barack Obama as "a light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." The Nevada Senator has apologized to Obama, who says "the book is closed" on Reid's attitudes about race. But some Republicans, like GOP Chairman Michael Steel, who called the comments "racist," don't want it to go away. Clarence Page is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Chicago Tribune.

Clarence Page, Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Chicago Tribune (@chitribpage)

Game Change

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

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