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GOP watch: Tea Party, exaggerated?

Politico wonders if the media, the left, and the right are all exaggerating the Tea Party's influence and impact.

The Boston Globe profiles Mark Williams, a talk radio host and chairman of Tea Party Express. The Globe calls him "the traveling voice of the insurgent political group," who "has thrust himself onto the national stage with fiery, polarizing rhetoric that has won him both adoration and scorn, even in his own party. The 54-year-old Massachusetts native regularly lambastes President Obama as a communist bent on undermining the Constitution, and last week likened him to such dictators as Stalin and Pol Pot. On his blog and elsewhere, he rails against Obama as an 'Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug,' and 'racist in chief' for his comments about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his own home. His incendiary remarks, which include long-discredited assertions, have alienated some Republicans and fellow Tea Party members, and raised fears that such extreme rhetoric will marginalize the movement and undercut its momentum as a political force." Yet he says, "I refuse to cater to the lowest common denominator," he said. "We need to restore our constitutional balance."

Does Michele Bachmann stand by her "gangster government" comment on the Obama administration? You betcha. "Absolutely, I do," she told The Hill. "When government comes in and decides who the winners are, who the losers are and there's no recourse, that's what happened to 3,400 dealerships across the country. That's one example of gangster government," Bachmann said.

Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol testified yesterday in a hearing about emails from her mother's account being posted online during the 2008 election. She said she "received countless phone calls and hundreds of text messages when her cell number was posted online after her mother's e-mail account was hacked."