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Sarah Palin will headline first-ever Tea Party Convention

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Can the Tea Party movement unify itself?

Indeed, the Nashville event is not about chartering a new political party to represent conservative ideals like low taxes and states’ rights, but more about unifying to take on “Obama, Pelosi and Reid this year,” writes Judson Phillips, head of Tea Party Nation, one of many Tea Party groups and the lead sponsor of a convention that will feature conservative firebrands such as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) of Minnesota.

Already, tea-colored races are appearing around the country, including the looming matchup between Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (seen as Republican Lite by many conservatives) and Cuban-American conservative Marco Rubio, who has gotten the stamp of approval by Tea Party folks.

But courting what many call a fringe and inchoate movement carries huge risks, argues Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, in Atlanta.

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