In a single night, two of Washington’s most-powerful Congressional leaders –who’ve also been second in line to the Presidency - discussed how they carry themselves in public and why they carry themselves so differently.
Since Republicans won control of the House November’s election, Americans have become familiar with House Speaker John Boehner’s propensity to get emotional and even tear-up in front of cameras. Last night, he told NBC News, “It's who I am. There are some things I feel very strongly about.” He continued, “You probably heard that I don't take myself very seriously. But I take what I do very seriously. And when it comes to kids, when it comes to my own family, soldiers, I get, I feel very strongly that I want America to be the country that I grew up in.”
Conversely, last night on CNN’s “John King, USA,” House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi described how she looks within herself: “I do introspection, but I don't do public introspection.” She added, “I'm a very, shall we say, brutally harsh in any criticism. I'm an Italian Catholic. I carry every responsibility you can carry.” She continued, “I do know that what we did was important for our country to give leverage back to the people. And if we hadn't done it, if we hadn't done health care, if we hadn't done Wall Street reform and the rest of it, we still would have lost the election because we had 9.5% unemployment.”
Tonight CNN chief national correspondent and anchor John King will have an exclusive television interview with Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Tune in to John King, USA - 7pm ET/ 6pm CT/ 5pm MT / 4pm PT tonight for this interview.
Everyday we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation in and outside Washington.
Happy Friday and it’s a big one to end a consequential work week in Washington. House Republicans stage their first big muscle flex as the new majority – bringing to the floor their plan to repeal the Obama health care law. No, it isn’t going to reach the finish line; this is a House GOP political exercise. But it is also a policy marker. From here, we will see if we just have repeated full repeal efforts to make a point, and please the GOP base, or whether there is any will in DC to perhaps re-open the legislation to some changes. This one will play out for months in the budget battle, and as new GOP governors question and challenge parts of the new health care law. Elections have consequences.
Words have consequences, too, and before I get to the bullet points, an important clarification. In a conversation on the program last night, my language left the impression new White House chief of staff Bill Daley had specifically objected to Robert Gibbs staying on as a White House counselor. We do know from multiple sources that Daley before taking the job was concerned about what one ally described as “too many cooks” – meaning too many people with direct access to the president. But Gibbs and the president settled on his decision to leave for the private sector before Mr. Obama took his Christmas vacation, and Daley assured me in a conversation Thursday night he didn’t get into the nitty gritty of the White House staff structure with the president until the past 72 hours.
Now, on to Friday’s bullet points from Erick and Jane.
In No. 2, Erick is referring to the salary paid to rank and file members of the House and Senate. It’s $174,000 a year, and that number will come up in many ways in the early days of the new session, as some lawmakers look for spending cuts and others complain its hard to have a household in DC and another back home.
In polarized politics, what the rights like the left abhors, and so it is with the Daley pick, as Erick notes in his No. 3.
Jane’s focus is on liberal concerns foreign and domestic. The Republican majority won’t treat the District of Columbia’s voices in Congress as nicely as the Democrats did. And in matters of war, peace and defense spending, the costs of the war in Afghanistan, and the recent decision to send in more Marines, doesn’t sit well on the left anyway, and its even more of a sore spot as Congress begins to look for spending cuts in domestic programs.
Enjoy the day, and the weekend. – John King
RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:
– Does saying you want to punch the President really warrant a Secret Service visit? If you are a UFC fighter, apparently so.
– Since when is $174,000.00 "relatively modest"?
– Bill Daley is a great pick for Chief of Staff, but the left will not be happy. His appointment, though, suggests Mr. Obama is serious about working across the aisle.
Firedoglake.com Blogger/Founder Jane Hamsher: