Lawmakers defeat journalists in trivia contest

Lawmakers got their revenge for any bad press they might have received when they defeated some of D.C.’s brightest journalists in a political trivia contest Thursday night.

The four politicians — Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) — came from behind to eke out a 10-point win at The Hotline’s Political Pursuit event.

The “Members Only” team of lawmakers faced off against the Broadcast News team, consisting of CNN’s Dana Bash, NBC’s Chuck Todd, ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Fox News Channel’s Molly Henneberg; and an “Old School” team of print reporters — Bloomberg’s Al Hunt, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, The Washington Times’s Christina Bellantoni, and The Wall Street Journal’s Sue Davis.  

The “Members Only” team trailed badly in the beginning but made up enough ground to win with 290 points to the “Broadcast News’” team's 280. The “Old School” team came in third with 220 points.

The political-friendly questions helped. For example, Kirk, who is rumored to be a 2010 Senate candidate, was easily able to answer what year Roland Burris lost the Democratic Senate nomination to Paul Simon: 1984.

And Davis knew the Peking Gourmet Inn (in his old congressional district) was President George H.W. Bush’s favorite Chinese restaurant.

Cheering on the “Members Only” team were Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

McCaskill, one of the most prolific lawmakers on the social networking site Twitter, Tweeted several times during the event and even posted a photo of the contestants.

And when Brown spotted her in the audience, he joked "Claire's going to Tweet us the answers." (For the record, she didn’t.)

McCaskill claims to get 500 to 600 responses from her followers a day. But three people won't follow her — her kids.

McCaskill told The Hill her son and two daughters don't mind her Internet use but they don't want to be a part of it.

"They won't let me look at their Facebook pages," she said.

McCaskill has been vocal about encouraging other lawmakers to join her online. She argues it's a great way to communicate directly with constituents, even if the short, often pithy, posts cause a controversy.

The freshman lawmaker admits she enjoys it when her postings cause a sensation.

"I love it," she said. "I love that it's out there."