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Capitol Briefing: May 11, 2008 - May 17, 2008

Controversial FEC Nominee Withdraws

Controversial Federal Election Commission nominee Hans von Spakovsky has withdrawn his name from consideration for the post, potentially clearing the way for a deal that could get the crippled agency back up and running. Von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department lawyer and Republican nominee to the commission, told the White...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 16, 2008; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Fundraising Circuit  
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Player of the Week: Chris Van Hollen

Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez once famously said, "I'd rather be lucky than good." So which one is Chris Van Hollen -- lucky, good or both? Chris Van Hollen can't get no respect ... from the media. While everything goes right for House Democrats, the press focuses on everyone...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 16, 2008; 4:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Dem. Leaders , Player of the Week  
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Antiwar Forces Resigned to Another Loss

Lost somewhat amid the hubbub yesterday of Republicans using a parliamentary trick to bring down funding for Iraq and Afghanistan was the fact that another piece of the supplemental package, backed by antiwar members, did pass the House and will now move on to the Senate. But does that mean...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 16, 2008; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Iraq  
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House Republicans Block War Funds

Republicans this afternoon pulled off an ambush on Democrats on the House floor, helping to vote down a $160-billion plus measure for military operations in Afghanistan. The GOP has grown increasingly angry in recent weeks over the procedures the majority has used to bring the supplemental package to the floor....

By Ben Pershing  |  May 15, 2008; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Iraq  
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Cole Still in Charge at NRCC; GOP Agenda Emerging

The dust is still clearing after House Republicans' humiliating loss in a Mississippi special election, but for now it appears that Tom Cole (Okla.) is still standing and that the GOP caucus-members are already moving to try to remedy their broader message and agenda problems. Cole, chairman of the National...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 15, 2008; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Agenda , GOP Leaders , House  
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Pelosi Slams Bush for Israel Speech

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lashed out at President Bush this morning and his speech to the Israeli Knesset, particularly for comments on "appeasement" that some have interpreted as a veiled swipe at Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). "You know we have a protocol ... that we don't criticize the president...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 15, 2008; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Dem. Leaders  
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What Does It Mean?: Miss. Special Election (Pt. 5)

Read Capitol Briefing's original post Read Capitol Briefing's second post Read both of The Fix's responses Dear Fix: The shadows grow longer this afternoon, as does the list of questions raised by yesterday's special election in Mississippi. You closed your last message with: "I'm interested in what you think the...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 14, 2008; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  What Does It Mean?  
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What Does It Mean?: Miss. Special Election (Pt. 3)

Read Capitol Briefing's original post Read The Fix's response Dear Fix: Thanks for responding to my e-mail. I know you're a busy, busy man. Before we move on to the Obama and Tom Cole questions, let's stick with this "wave" topic for a moment. You wrote, "It's too early to...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 14, 2008; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  What Does It Mean?  
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Tom Cole Watch, Day 1

UPDATE 2 PM EST: At the Republican Conference meeting this morning, NRCC Chairman Tom Cole reportedly accepted blame for the party's loss last night in the Mississippi special election. But in a conference call with reporters a short while ago, Cole seemed to indicate that the blame lay elsewhere. Asked...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 14, 2008; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , GOP Leaders  
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What Does It Mean?: Miss. Special Election

This is the first installment of a new occasional, collaborative feature between Capitol Briefing and The Fix. When interesting political news happens, we'll exchange a series of e-mails offering (we hope) trenchant analysis of "what it means" along with some informed, witty banter. Please let us know, via the comments...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 13, 2008; 11:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , What Does It Mean?  
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Democrats Complete Special Election Trifecta

Democrats have completed a trifecta of special election victories in GOP-held House seats, narrowly winning a hard-fought contest in Mississippi's 1st district Tuesday and raising the specter of an expanded playing field in November. The Associated has called the contest for Democrats, and with 80 percent of the votes recorded,...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 13, 2008; 10:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Hoyer Testifies on 'Stolen Vote'

In an apparently unprecedented session, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) testified this afternoon before the special committee that was set up to investigate whether Democrats "stole" a controversial House vote last August. The vote in question was on a Republican motion to bar illegal immigrants from receiving taxpayer-funded benefits....

By Ben Pershing  |  May 13, 2008; 9:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , Ethics and Rules , Hearing Watch , House  
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Pelosi and Her 'San Francisco Values'

Labels are the mother's milk of electoral politics, and while GOP congressional campaigns are already thinking of politically negative ways to refer to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), they can always fall back on the old standby in labeling Nancy Pelosi: "San Francisco liberal." The first-ever female Speaker has been a...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 13, 2008; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Dem. Leaders  
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Fossella and Fay's European Vacation

The latest New York Post report on the saga of embattled Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) caught Capitol Briefing's eye this morning. Fossella, of course, is on resignation/retirement watch after being charged with drunken driving and admitting that he has a three-year-old daughter with Laura Fay, a retired Air Force colonel...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 13, 2008; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , GOP Leaders  
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Barr Has Been Spending Freely

Former GOP Rep. Bob Barr (Ga.) announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination today, saying that Americans deserved a choice beyond what the Democratic and Republican candidates can offer. But if Barr really is disillusioned with the two major parties, he hasn't shown it with his wallet. Barr,...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 12, 2008; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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GOP Rep. Hits Bush On 'Signing Statements'

A House Republican lawmaker has fired a shot across President Bush's bow over his frequent use of "Presidential Signing Statements" to give his opinion on -- or to even express his intent to ignore -- laws passed by Congress. Though signing statements have long been used by past presidents, they...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 12, 2008; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch  
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The Week Ahead: War and Politics

Both parties have plenty to gain and lose this week, as congressional Democrats face a tall order on the legislative agenda -- particularly on Iraq -- while Republicans grapple with multiple crises on the political front. Tomorrow, voters in Mississippi's 1st district will go to the polls to elect a...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 12, 2008; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda  
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