In The Know

Liberal group tells supporters: No healthcare reform? No sex

They say that politics doesn't matter in the bedroom, but a new skit from a liberal advocacy group aims to convince young voters that it does.

Rock the Vote, the youth-focused voters' group known for its longtime partnership with MTV, has released a new internet video called "Hold Out for Healthcare," produced by the comedy website

In it, actors Zach Gilford, who stars as Matt Saracen in the NBC hit show "Friday Night Lights," and Eva Amurri, who plays Jackie in the Showtime hit "Californication," jointly narrate a lecture encouraging young people to put their sex lives on the line for healthcare reform.

Unlike most stars who appear in advocacy ads, the pair never identify themselves by their TV shows. Instead, they deliver their lines with a funny, soap-opera style melodrama that's almost tongue-in-cheek; but not quite.

Their message to viewers? "Rock the Vote" by denying sex to potential partners who oppose healthcare reform. "Politics is personal," they say, and a person's political beliefs are critical to determining their sexual attractiveness.



First couple gets H1N1 vaccine

President Barack Obama said Monday that he and First Lady Michelle Obama got their H1N1 vaccinations over the weekend. Their daughters, Sasha and Malia, had already been vaccinated.

In an Oval Office interview with American Urban Radio Networks' April Ryan, Obama stressed how safe it is to get the vaccine.

"Malia and Sasha actually had it several months ago, right when it was first being made available to school-age children," Obama said. "That's the most important population because this flu, unlike seasonal flu, disproportionately affects children and young people -- healthy children and young people as well as people with underlying conditions like asthma or neurological diseases."

Obama said he and First Lady Michelle Obama waited to get the vaccine when they were sure there was enough nationwide for children to be vaccinated.

"I think people just need to understand:  If I had the two people that are most important in my life, my two daughters, get it right away -- and they've been just fine with it and in fact haven't gotten sick this entire flu season -- then you need to know that you need to make sure your children get it as well," Obama said.


Seven-year-old challenges Obama to game of foosball

President Barack Obama made an unannounced visit to a boys and girls club in Northeast Washington on Monday afternoon, toting a basket of gingerbread cookies baked in the shape of Christmas trees, gingerbread men, maple leaves and First Dog Bo Obama.

"Have you guys been good?" Obama asked the group of 27 children at the Richard England Clubhouse and Community Center.

"Yes!" the kids between the ages of 6 and 11 answered.

"Do you think you deserve cookies?"


"You sure, now?"

"Yes!" they cried in unison.

Obama handed out cookies before sitting down to read the award-winning classic children's book "Polar Express," complete with a special Santa Claus voice for the "Ho Ho Ho's."

After he finished reading, the president asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas. Their responses included cell phones, video games, and iPods.

"Whatever happened to, like, asking for a bike?" Obama asked, surprised by the high-tech requests.

"Everbody has a bike," he was told.

One child told the president he wanted a cell phone.

"Who you gonna call?" Obama asked.


"Like who?"

After sharing a few observations about Christmas, Obama passed out more cookies. They must have been good, because the children clamored for him not to leave.

Before departing, seven year-old Niko Letterlough presented the president with a win-win deal.

"Will you come back and play me at foosball?" Letterbough asked Obama.

"You know, I hate getting beat," Obama replied.

"I'll let ya win," said the second-grader, before giving the president a fist-bump.

"That's what I'm talking about," Obama said.


(Photo: Reuters)


The biggest political 'Lies of the Year': Palin, Wilson, Biden

The votes are in, and Sarah Palin's claim that the healthcare reform bill would include government-run "death panels" has earned the dubious honor of "Lie of the Year," according to a survey conducted by a political fact-checking website.

PolitiFact surveyed more than 4,800 of its readers, and 61 percent of them picked Palin's August 2009 statement, posted on her Facebook page, that the elderly and disabled "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."

Palin wasn't the only politico caught with pants on fire; others included:

-- Orly Taitz, who claimed that she had proof that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii where his birth certificate states he was born (8.7%).

-- Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who shouted "You lie!" to Obama during an address to Congress, when the president said the healthcare bill wouldn't pay for illegal immigrants (5.8 %).

-- Vice President Joe Biden, who claimed that "When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft," in response to questions about the spread of swine flu (1.7 %).

Click here for PolitiFact's list of the best tall tales of 2009.


Sen. Pryor 'leaks' a story of poison gas

The word 'leak' has its own meaning in politics, and plenty of political careers have been killed by leaks of information.

But Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) revealed that another kind of leak almost killed him years ago.

During a Senate hearing on Thursday, Pryor said that shortly after law school, he lived with a life-threatening carbon monoxide gas leak emanating from a hot water heater in a house he shared with two roommates.

"One of my roommates, his bedroom was just a few feet down the hall from a bathroom," Pryor recalled, "and it had a hot water heater ... and the carbon monoxide was just leaking out of that hot water heater.

He added, "we had no idea."

And the men would have likely remained clueless if the odorless, invisible toxic gas hadn't finally made his roommate sick enough to seek help. "He's getting these flu-like symptoms -- headaches, you know, the whole thing."

Pryor still doesn't know how his roommate figured out the cause of his symptoms, saying only that the guy "knew something was wrong and he figured it out."

The three men replaced the water heater, installing a new one "properly, with the right venting and everything," said Pryor.

But, he said, the leak could easily resulted "in a tragedy."

"It was a near miss."


Dirksen Cafeteria open; modified schedule this week

It wasn't just loyal Senate staffers who braved the snow to come to work in the Capitol on Monday; Dirksen Cafeteria employees did too, despite the city-wide closure of federal offices, schools, and numerous businesses following Saturday's record-breaking snowfall.

A spokeswoman for Restaurant Associates confirmed that the Senate restaurant will be open Monday through Wednesday of this week, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. to serve hungry staffers, many of whom will be working on the healthcare legislation moving through the upper chamber.

On Thursday, Dec. 24, only Dirksen Cafe will be open, not the full cafeteria. Neither will be open Christmas Day.


PHOTO: Bo Obama's first snowfall

First Dog Bo Obama romped in his first Washington snowfall this weekend, as the White House lawn was blanketed with 16 inches of downy flakes.

The Portugese water-dog was a gift from the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and his wife Victoria.

H/T: Huffington Post


Rahm Emanuel's brother to sue iPhone app developer

Ari Emanuel, the famous Hollywood talent agent and brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, announced Friday that he intends to sue an Irish iPhone app developer over its newly released game, SuperAgent.

Emanuel's lawyers say the game infringes on his rights because the main character in the game is clearly based on him and that the Irish firm, FactorySix, is using his name to promote the game.  Emanuel's firm, WME, represents clients such as Martin Scorsese and Matt Damon.

The game's Web site even uses Ari's name. It's headline: "Think you're SuperAgent Ari? Then prove it."

Oisin Hanrahan, co-founder of FactorySix, refutes Emanuel's argument.

"This game is based on Hollywood, not one very important person in Hollywood, and simply because Mr. Emanuel identifies with the lead character does not mean it is based on him," he said in a press release late Friday. "We are taking it as complement that we got the game so close to being real."

The game sells for $1.99 on iTunes.

It isn't the first time Ari Emanuel's likeness has been used for entertainment purposes. One of the main characters in HBO's "Entourage," played by Jeremy Piven (shown here) is based on him and even shares the same first name. But HBO apparently cleared it with Ari first.

FactorySix says its trying to clear up the misunderstanding. In the meantime, it's sending a free copy of the game to Emanuel.



Gibbs goes to bat for U.S. press corps

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has been known to spar with reporters during briefings in the West Wing, but on foreign soil he's looking out for them, even if it means using President Barack Obama as leverage.

Minutes before a photo op on Friday in Copenhagen with Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Chinese journalists pushed American reporters aside, filling a small room and preventing most of the American press pool from entering.

A ticked-off Gibbs demanded that "my people" (the American reporters) be allowed equal access to the photo op. If not, Gibbs said,  "we're leaving."

Faced with the possibility of not having a photo op at all, some of the Chinese journalists were removed from the room to make space for the U.S. press corps.


GQ picks the best and worst dressed in Washington

GQ magazine released a list of the best and worst dressed men in politics this week, and they weren't afraid to be a little harsh.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and White House chief economist Larry Summers were chided for looking "messy," while Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was panned for wearing "boxy, high-cut jackets." Senior presidential adviser David Axelrod, the magazine wrote, represents "The Schlubby."

On the positive side, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Vice President Joe Biden were praised for their taste in power suits, while House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) were both abeled "District Dandies," for their well-coordinated accessories.

The highest marks were reserved for President Barack Obama, who the magazine said was the best dressed president since John F. Kennedy Jr.

To see the slideshow, click here