Republicans Begin to Define Agenda; Tea Party Tests Its Strength

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rand Paul, Kentucky's Senator-elect, and his wife, Kelley, talk with reporters after casting their ballots November 2, 2010 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. (Tom Pennington/Getty)

Freshmen senators, insider fighting, and a need to publicly shape the next moves for the party after the midterm election: the Republican party has spent the past week regrouping. In the middle of it all, the candidates elected with Tea Party enthusiasm have begun to flex their new political muscles with mixed results. Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, one of the initiators of the Tea Party movement, has dropped her bid for a leadership role in the Republican House Conference. Delaware's Senator Jim DeMint, the undeclared leader of the group, is pushing for an unpopular ban on earmarking — in an attempt, perhaps, to show how much power he can wield. And new arrivals, like Florida's freshman Senator-elect, Marco Rubio, are finding themselves caught between Tea Party ideals and Washington's realities. How is the party tackling its goals, voter expectations and new majority? 

The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, gives us his take on the Republican reshuffle and how a show of force in the coming weeks might set the tone for the coming Congress. We also begin to talk about the Republican party and the legacy of former president George W. Bush with journalist Russ Baker. 


Russ Baker and Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Kateri A. Jochum

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