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Candidates Sneak Back to Work in the Senate

With a crucial procedural vote on the economic stimulus package happening in the Senate this evening, the Capitol has been atwitter at the news that the chamber's three mostly absent presidential candidates -- Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- might actually, you know, show up for work today to cast their votes.

As the roll call began, a coterie of photographers set up behind a specially placed velvet rope at a bank of elevators outside the chamber, hoping to get a nice shot of one of the contenders -- particularly the two superstar Democrats -- walking purposefully to the floor.

An elevator door opened, and out walked Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who stopped in his tracks, leaned back into the car and said, "Barack, stand back here." Snap snap snap, went the photographers -- until they realized Leahy had tricked them and Obama was nowhere to be found.

"Thanks for the quote, Senator," one of the lensers said sarcastically, as Leahy grinned, clearly pleased with himself.

A few minutes later, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) came off the Senate floor, looked at the photographers and said, "Now who's coming out this door?" General laughter.

"Is it McCain?" Nelson asked, gesturing toward the Senate chamber. "Because the other two are in there." Loud groans.

Obama and Clinton's neck-and-neck race so far has shown that there may be more than one path to the Democratic nomination. And today they managed to remind the press that there's more than one way to get to the Senate floor. As for McCain -- he didn't show up.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 6, 2008; 6:46 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Senate  
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Comments

If John McCain gets in office it will be the same old thing ,BUSH, we have had enought of Bush and his administration, we need a Demo.

Posted by: Yerda Marie Berger | February 6, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton camp's claims of a victory today, after spending weeks retreating from a much stronger position vis-a-vis Hillary's other competitors, reminds of the story told by John Kenneth Galbraith of the debriefing of the German Albert Speer at the close of World War II.

How was it, Galbraith asked, that Speer knew his Germans were losing?

It was, Speer replied, because the glorious victories of the Fatherland were growing ever closer to Berlin.

Let's liberate the Democratic Party from the occupation forces of corruption and moral relativism!

The Big "O" has got the Big Mo !!!
Go Obama !!!

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 6, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

To draw a parallel between the Nazis and the clintons as blogger martinedwinadersen above implied is reprehensible and should make the Obama people asahmed. The Washington post should not allow such bigoted and biased commentary. Please WP remove the ridiculous comment from your pages.

Posted by: jk | February 6, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

The Speer quote did not draw parallels between Clinton and the Nazis (for that, you just have to look at the way she plans to govern. It's all the rage now--been going on for almost eight years!). No, it merely pointed out a common theme in propoganda: you are always winning, even in defeat. Spin.

Posted by: Uh--Reason Calling! | February 6, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

jk, Martinedwinandersen's point wasn't to compare the Clintons to the Nazis. The point was to illustrate the (perceived) pyrrhic nature of Hillary's victories yesterday. Quoting a story by Galbraith hardly makes one a bigot.

Posted by: Whiskeyjack | February 6, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

There is a back stairwell, I will not tell anyone where it is.......

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

It is not quoting the story by Galbraith that bothers me or other fairminded individuals. It is rather the sentence: "Let's liberate the Democratic Party from the occupation forces of corruption and moral relativism!" If put in context, in this sentence it is obvious that martinedwinadersen draws a parallel between the Nazi rule in Germany and the Clinton's status and leadership in the Democratic party. And that is reprehensible. While we have the freedom to express our opinion, we should refrain from hateful, vitriolic and sensless angry statements. I strongly beleive martinedwinadersen's statement falls in this category.
We should not forget that the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, brought the democrats to power after 12 years of republican rule. The Clintons pushed a fairly progressive agenda successfully, and the country was much better off during those years that it is now, or than it was under Reagan/bush-the father.
The hateful, angry attitudes displayed by Obama supporters against the Clintons come mostly from younger supporters of the Senator from Illinois and are not good for our country or for the democratic party.

Posted by: JK | February 6, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Ben- Is The Senate Armed Services Committee going to look at the real defense budget?
http://jtaplin.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/military-budget-follies/

Posted by: Trumbull | February 6, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Senate Republicans Blocks Dems' Bid To Add $44B In Aid To Elderly, Disabled To Stimulus Plan:

I see no newspapers in the US are revealing the actual roll call vote; I got it from the Guardian (UK).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/7288703

Basically, 5 out of the 8 Republicans who voted for it are up for reelection this time: Coleman (MN), Collins (ME), Domenici (NM), Dole (NC) and Smith (OR). They know they have to face voters in 9 months. But to their credit, Grassley (IA), Snow (ME) and Specter (PA) voted for it and are NOT up for reelection.

GOP Senators who are up for reelection and voted NO are: Alexander (TN), Allard (CO), Chambliss (GA), Cochran (MS), Cornyn (TX), "bathroom boy" Larry Craig (ID), Enzy (WY), Graham (SC), Hagel (NE), Inhofe (OK), McConnell (KY), Roberts (KS), Session (AL) and Sununu (NH). REMEMBER THESE GUYS AT ELECTION TIME IF YOU'RE SUFFERING!

Posted by: GinPDX | February 6, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you WhiskeyJack. You are spot on.

That is why I used the word "German" rather than "Nazi"--the point was to poke fun at the Clintons' collapsing house of cards.

As for the Democratic Party being "occupied" by corrupting and morally relativistic forces, I submit as Exhibit No. 1, the Clinton White House.

Legal reporter Stuart Taylor's reporting in the National Journal on just how bad it was is definitive on that issue, I think.

I also have some first-hand knowledge about how the fish rotted from the head during the Clinton Administration, having won the U.S. Office of Special Counsel's "Public Servant Award" in 2001 for uncovering what the U.S. Department of Justice's IG called "egregious misconduct" and "willful disregard for national security" on the party of senior Janet Reno aides in the Criminal Division.

JK whines about the humor used and apparently confuses me with a "young" Obama supporter.

Actually I am 53 and a life-long Democrat who believes that a party of change should not also be a party to corruption.

And yes, Barack Obama inspires me.

The Democratic Party should also not be a party to torture, a reprehenisble practice that Hillary said she supported--by name--until a little over a year ago.

When "triangulation" replaces fundamental moral stands the Democrats lose, in power or out.

And remember, war hero John McCain is a principled and authoritative spokesperson against torture--something the human rights community has to take into account in November.

Best,
Mick Andersen

Posted by: MARTIN EDWIN ANDERSEN | February 6, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's camp is now asking for more debates, as if we didn't know her and her husband well enough already, and how they will use any opportunity to distort and defame. ...

However, if Obama agrees to another debate, I hope someone will ask Hillary the following question:

"Ma'am, your husband's presidency was marked by scandals running from the salacious to national security, you've run a campaign based on race coding, and both you and your husband have scant regard for the truth.

"Personal responsibility is the key to government accountability.

"What could you--or your husband--say to young people, what could you possibly bring to the table, for those who need to hear a message of honesty and integrity?"

Posted by: MARTIN EDWIN ANDERSEN | February 6, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Nice and witty comment, Martinedwinadersen!
It is so seldom to meet an intellegent and witty statement in comments here.

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 7, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

The news about Hillary Clinton donating $5 million of her own money to her presidential bid struck me as odd.

How was it that someone of once modest means who claimed to have worked selflessly for 35 years ("fighting for YOU!") in the notoriously badly-paid public interest sector had become so wealthy?

Sure there's been some financial scandals.

And as the late Sen. Everett Dirksen used to say, "A million here, a million there" it adds up to real money."

But why focus on the negative?

Then, suddenly, a tune entered my head and I thought, maybe if I offered a tailored version of it to the Clinton campaign, they'd use it to replace that awful Celine Dion song that used to be Hillary's campaign anthem.

And maybe they'd give me some of that moolah.

I promise I wouldn't ask what account at Clintons, Inc. it came from, or which lobbyist forked it over.

(I'm sure it was in a gesture of sheer generosity--why think evil of people, K Street lawyers have hearts too, no? Wasn't it those nice medical insurance lobbyists who hired that couple, Harry and Louise?)

If you ask me, it's like Bill with that race coding thing. How unfair the criticism! (And how slick he was ;) )

Always leave just a little wiggle room, small enough to fit the word "is" through. Or maybe a cigar. ...

Anyway, remember that girls" song, "It"s My Party," written by Wally Gold, John Gluck and Herb Weiner and recorded by Lesley Gore?

Well how about this version for HRC?

IT'S MY (DEMOCRATIC) PARTY

Nobody knows where my Bill has gone
Monica (Gennifer/Kathleen/Paula/etc.) left the same time
Why was he holding her/their hand(s)
When he's supposed to be mine?

It's my Democratic Party, and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

Playin' my constituents, flip-flopping like a Wallenda,
Leave me alone for a while
'Till Bill's dancin' with me
I've got no reason to smile

It's my Democratic Party, and I'll cry if I want to ...

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 7, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Go to hell, dirty murderous gangsterine! Enough of corruption, bliid, trickerage, and swindling of people's money. JK, does it look more accetable for you? I honestly think that Mr. Andersen way of the presentation was more polite and diplomatic. But diplomacy is the waste of time with gangsterines and murderers. So, my way of the expression of the same notion is easier to comprehend, is it not?

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 7, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Mrs. Clinton is a champion of torture, I-personally could testify on the subject to any committee.

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 7, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing that the Clinton's have the unmitigating gall and brazen audacity to think that everyone has forgotten how president Clinton's term was riddled with corruption and scandal. What should have been a time of great achievment became a moment of great disgrace that divided the country.

To Hillary's credit she has an amazing ability to unite the wrong people. Should she win the nomination she will unite the Republican party and mobilize them for the general election.

It's time for genuine change in Washington and not the time to recycle.

Posted by: Dan Levin | February 7, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

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