By The Hill Staff - 03/19/07 06:34 PM EDT
Nothing heals the partisan wounds of fierce Iraq debate like a little March Madness talk, as the Senate’s two fans-in-chief showed on the floor late last week.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) congratulated his chamber on completing consideration of its Iraq resolution, then saluted Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): “Being the great fan of basketball that he is, I thought he would note that Louisville won the first game today.”
McConnell thanked Reid for giving props to his hometown team, adding, “I might say to my good friend, it is on the DVR, and I expect to watch it at home tonight.”
The GOP leader’s TiVo time was cut short by the weekend, however, as Louisville fell to Texas A&M, while the Runnin’ Rebels of Reid favorite UNLV knocked off heavily favored Wisconsin.
Hillary makes fast friends over the weekend
Everyone needs friends. But if you’re running for president, you need a lot of friends.
White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) had yet to get one buddy on her official MySpace page on Saturday, 24 hours before MySpace launched its new presidential network site at http://impact.MySpace.com.
It’s clear from the site that some presidential candidates are more popular than others, or at least are a lot more tech-savvy.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) listed 64,888 friends as of Saturday, while former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) had 13,359.
Clinton didn’t go lonely for long. By the time the 2008 MySpace channel premiered Sunday, she had acquired 358 new online friends and by yesterday afternoon was up to 964 (that’s a busy weekend!).
We do want to note that Clinton has tens of thousands of friends on an unofficial MySpace page, but unofficial for our purposes doesn’t count.
The Republican frontrunner for friends is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has 1,051, followed by Mitt Romney’s 910. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani may be leading in the polls, but his MySpace account was still set to “private,” so we couldn’t find out how Web-popular he is.
Not every presidential candidate is participating. Among the missing (and now dodging vicious rumors that they have no friends) are Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R), Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R).
Clinton’s campaign did not comment by press time.
Department of Justice gender-benders
On the same day that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said the country might be better off with a different attorney general, the Department of Justice (DoJ) took a step to endear itself further to the congressman.
Not only did Justice take more than two months to answer his question about the case of two imprisoned former Border Patrol agents, but acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling also addressed the response to “Congresswoman Rohrabacher.”
It seems with all of the trouble that Justice finds itself in, it would not try to dig the hole deeper, so maybe it is better that the department did not return calls seeking comment.
“It’s borderline-comical, the level of ineptitude and disconnect coming out of the DoJ, where they do not even have enough respect for our congressional inquiries to properly address a member of Congress in official correspondences,” said Rohrabacher spokeswoman Tara Setmayer. “Are we really persona non grata already?”
More proof that election season never really ends
It’s been more than four months since the midterm elections, but tempers are still flaring for a couple freshmen and the incumbents they knocked off in the fall.
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) has asked the General Services Administration (GSA) to investigate damaged equipment she inherited from ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley (R) in her Manchester office, according to Foster’s Daily Democrat.
Shea-Porter’s office is not pointing fingers — at least not yet. As her chief of staff said, “We want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.”
Bradley said GSA inspected the equipment in December and didn’t raise any concerns. He added, “Had we not been given a clean bill of health, I would have gotten the bills personally to compensate GSA and federal government for equipment that had been damaged.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Health Shuler (D-N.C.) has claimed that ex-Rep. Charles Taylor (R) didn’t fork over constituent files. Taylor claims he’s never heard from Shuler’s people.
A spokesman for Shuler, however, told the Hendersonville Times-News that attempts to contact Taylor’s camp have been unsuccessful.
Bradley wants a 2008 rematch with Shea-Porter, while Taylor is eyeing another go-around with Shuler.
Cynthia McKinney beg-fest
Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) wants you to help retire her campaign debt of $60,000, and she’s got a long way to go.
McKinney has raised just $9,794.02, but she’s just getting started. Her website implores, “Please give generously … Within the bounds of federal campaign finance law, no contribution is too large.”
It adds, “Together we can help prepare our Congresswoman for her next step in service to our nation’s people.”
On her new website, www.allthingscynthiamckinney.com (seriously, it does exist), we learned that McKinney spoke at the March 17 anti-war rally outside the Pentagon and last month addressed the Kuala Lumpur Peace Conference in Malaysia.
— Klaus Marre and Elana Schor contributed to this page.