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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Maria Cantwell

Today’s fun video: Brown, Cantwell try comedy

 

Washington Democrats got together recently to give out awards, and the prize for “Rising Star” went to former legislative and congressional aide Marcus Riccelli, a current candidate for the state House of Representatives.

One might think that Democrats might want to hold off on proclaiming stardom until Riccelli actually beat Republican Tim Benn for that seat — imagine something akin to the political equivalent of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx — but apparently they believe the 3rd Legislative District is blue enough that winning the primary makes him a sure bet in November.

To mark the occasion, two of his former bosses, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and state Sen. Lisa Brown, performed a Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” style tribute to Riccelli. While it has a few good lines and cute bits — notice the big map behind them is a state map — it makes clear that Cantwell and Brown should not quit their day jobs.

But wait a minute. Brown actually did quit her day job as Senate Majority leader, and the dominoes that fell, with Rep. Andy Billig running for her seat created the opening that Riccelli is trying to fill. So cancel that. Let's just say that when Brown figures out her next career, it probably won't be in standup comedy.

Cantwell outraises Baumgartner 3-to-1

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell raised more than three times as much money for her re-election campaign in the last quarter as her Republican challenger, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner, raised in his effort to unseat her.

The Cantwell campaign reported last week she had raised more than $1 million in the three-month reporting period that ended Sept. 30. That brought her total to about $11.5 million for this election cycle, and she has about $2 million on-hand for the last five weeks of the campaign.

The Baumgartner campaign said today he had raised almost $312,000 in that same three-month cycle, which would bring his total contributions for the campaign to slighly over $1 million. Totals for expenses aren't yet available, a campaign spokeswoman said.

The two U.S. Senate candidates are scheduled to  debate on Friday at the studios of Seattle's public television station, KCTS-TV. The debate will be taped, and will air in Spokane on KSPS-TV, Channel 7, on Oct. 16, after the second presidential debate. It's the only debate in the U.S. Senate race scheduled thus far.

Sunday Spin: A Republican says yes to a tax hike

Early last week, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Mike Baumgartner may have raised some eyebrows by endorsing I-502, the ballot measure that would legalize marijuana for adults in Washington. Later in the week he offered up another surprise.

He backed a tax increase. Seriously. A Republican. Not making this up.

Baumgartner said he would support a 1 cent per gallon tax on gasoline, provided the money went to a special fund for veterans care. The Spokane Republican made the statement after a visit to Joint Base Lewis McChord’s Madigan Medical Center, and said would help ensure returning troops get the care they need.

“Equally important, this small tax will remind each and every American every time they fill up at the pump there is still a war going on with nearly 70,000 troops in harm’s way,” he said. “War isn’t free.”
With the way the price of gas fluctuates these days, drivers might not notice an extra penny. But the no-new-tax crowd probably would. He may get a nasty-gram from them.

Maybe he’ll get a chance to talk about it later this week in the one debate he has scheduled with Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell. That debate will air Oct. 16 on KSPS-TV.
  

Cantwell has big lead in poll, fundraising

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell's re-election campaign was crowing about two bits of good news for her:

Federal Election Commission reports filed this week showed she raised more than $1 million fo the third quarter of this campaign year. And a new poll by Rasmussen Reports shows her with a 20-point lead over Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner.

Rasmussen also has President Obama up by 11 points over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and Washington's gubernatorial race in a virtual dead heat, with Democrat Jay Inslee at 46 percent and Republican Rob McKenna at 45 percent. (Editor's note: Earlier versions of this post had the numbers for the governor's race reversed.)

A spokeswoman for the Baumgartner campaign says they expect to have a figure for third quarter contributions by Friday.

Baumgartner endorses marijuana initiative

State Sen. Mike Baumgartner, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Maria Cantwell, today announced support for a state initiative that would legalize marijuana for personal use in Washington.

The Spokane Republican said it was time for a new approach to the nation's drug policy, and called Initiative 502 a “thoughtful step forward.” Time spent as an advisor to a counternarcotics team in Afghanistan convinced him that drug cartels are gaining from the United States approach to criminalizing marijuana for adults, he added.

“By failing to regulate and tax marijuana in a responsible manner, we are allowing billions of dollars to flow into their coffers,” he said. “And American lives are put in danger at  home and abroad.”

Cantwell supports the state’s medical marijuana law, which is already in conflict with federal drug regulations, but said she does not support I-502. In a statement released by her campaign, she said it should not be “legalized for recreational purposes based on concerns from law enforcement”.

“Whatever the result, I will honor the will of the voters’ decision in November,” she said.

Baumgartner said the states should have more independence to experiment with drug laws. . .

To read the rest of this post, click here to go inside the blog.

Snip-snip: N. Spokane Corridor photo op today

Break out the giant scissors. We're having a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the North Spokane Corridor.

Make that another ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Today at 11 a.m., the powers that be will be holding a “Celebration of Progress” for the much-discussed roadway, a thoroughfare so deeply ingrained in the Spokane mythos that Mike Lowry once said that the oldest politician was the one who could claim the oldest date when he first made a speech mentioning what was then called the North-South freeway.

The celebration is to mark the opening of the northern half of the corridor. So that would be the North North Spokane Corridor, presumably.

This being an election year, the celebration will include politicians, including Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who disagree on many things, but not on whether the roadway deserves federal money.

It's at 11 a.m., where the corridor intersects with Parksmith Road. For directions, go inside the blog. (One interesting thing to note in the directions: “The event cannot be reached from the North Spokane Corridor. You must use Market Street.)

Let's hope the scissors have been sharpened, because nothing ruins a good photo op like a ribbon that refuses to be cut.

1 U.S. Senate debate set

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell will debate her Republican challenger, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner, at least once this fall.

The Cantwell campaign announced it has agreed to an Oct. 12 debate in Seattle at KCTS, the public television station. It will be taped, and shown on other public television stations around the state. The station and the League of Women Voters of Seattle, which are co-sponsoring the debate, will each provide a moderator.

Up to this point, the Cantwell campaign had been, to say the least, noncommittal about debates. She'd do some unspecified number, at some unspecified time, her spokesman said last month.

This, of course, has frustrated the Baumgartner campaign, whose candidate once proposed a debate in each of Washington's 39 counties, but later pared down the challenge to 10, spread around the state.

The Cantwell campaign remains noncommittal about more debates, saying in the announcement press release it “continues to review a number of outstanding invitation” but insists it is happy to fit the Seattle debate into her busy schedule.

“While Senator Cantwell's  focus remains squarely on fighting to pass legislation like the Veterans Job Corps Act and an extension of the sales tax deduction, she looks forward to discussing her record of tireless advocacy for Washington jobs, from apples to aerospace, along with her vision ot grow jobs and boost Washington exports in the future,” spokesman Kelly Steele said.

Baumgartner has something else in mind besides some salutory comments about Cantwell's “tireless advocacy.”  Responding to the fact that she had finally “conceded that she has a responsibility to Washington's voters” to debate, he suggested in a press release the debate start on another area: foreign policy.

“She needs to explain her record in the Middle East and her support of the war in Afghanistan,” he said.

Baumgartner is still pushing for more debates, but with days falling off the calendar toward the Election, he's winnowed it down to a total of three: one in Spokane and one in Southwest Washington to go with the Seattle debate.

9/11 remembrances

Flag placed in a name of a victim of the 9/11 attacks at the Ground Zero memorial in New York.

Sept. 11 is traditionally a day for politicians to reflect on their thoughts and remembrances of that day in 2001.

Today was no different. Inside the blog are some comments from local office holders about the day. You can read them by clicking here.

Baumgartner schedules ‘Empty chair’ debate

 

 

Some people think Clint Eastwood's 12-minute schtick with an empty chair at last week's Republican National Convention was great theater. Others think it was bizarro sad.

Your opinion may depend on your political leanings.

Republican Mike Baumgartner, the state senator from Spokane hoping to  unseat U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, is apparently a fan. So much so that his campaign is staging its own Eastwood moment on Friday, announcing that Baumgartner will debate an empty chair at  the Spokane Republicans Breakfast Club.

Baumgartner has been frustrated for months at Cantwell's refusal to commit to debates. At one point, he proposed one debate per county, which would be 39; he has since lowered the number to 10. Last week, her campaign said they would debate, but declined to say when, where or how many times.

So at 7 a.m. Friday at the Riverview Thai Restaurant, 1003 E. Trent, he will debate an empty chair, the campaign announced this morning.

“Participating in a debate during an election campaign is a civic duty of a public servant. It is admirable this empty chair is willing to serve the voters of Washington so graciously and without hesitation,” Baumgartner said in a press release.

This strategy is not without risks, of course. Suppose, for example, the empty chair were to win the debate?

McMorris Rodgers: I’ll debate 10 times if Cantwell will debate 39

Democrat Rich Cowan and Republican Mike Baumgartner seem to have a shared problem of getting the incumbents they want to unseat to debate with them as many times as they want. Or at all.

Cowan, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives against Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, proposed 10 debates, one in each county for Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District. McMorris Rodgers agreed to two, both in Spokane. One would be sponsored by Greater Spokane Inc., the other by KSPS-TV, which has handled a 5th District debate for years, even in those elections when no one else cared to.

Baumgartner has proposed 39 debates, one in each county of Washington state, against Democrat Maria Cantwell. So far, Cantwell hasn't agreed to any, although there are several invitations pending.

In replying to Cowan's letter requesting 10 debates, McMorris Rodgers used Cantwell as her leverage in accepting two: “I contemplated following the lead of our junior senator and only schedule debates with my opponent when she has scheduled debates with hers.”

But folks in Eastern Washingo deserve to hear a discussion of the issues, so she was agreeing to the GSI and KSPS invitations. “Additionally, if you are able to encourage Senator Cantwell to debate Mr. Baumgartner in all 39 counties, I would be happy to debate you in all 10 counties located in the 5th Congressional District. We could arrange our debates in tandem with senate debates as well.”

A spokesman for the Cantwell campaign said she has dozens of invitations for a variety of forums, debates and editorial boards, as well as “a large chunk of September” that will be taken up by the Senate's work schedule.

“We will debate,” Kelly Steele  said, but there's no commitment at this time on how many times, when or where. That will likely become clear in early September, he added.

This leaves us at Spin Control pondering the question of which is stranger: Ten debates in Eastern Washington, which would essentially be one a week between now and the election? 39 debates across the state, which would essentially  be one every other day between now and the election? Or one candidate conditioning her debate schedule on her opponent convincing a candidate for another office to debate an opponent of another party?

Feel free to weigh in, in the comment section.

McMorris Rodgers agrees to two debates

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has decided to debate her Democratic opponent twice before the November election.

After this month's primary, Democrat Rich Cowan challenged McMorris Rodgers to debate him in each of the 5th Congressional District's 10 counties. After her town hall meeting on Thursday in Spokane, McMorris Rodgers said that she responded to Cowan in writing by agreeing to his request - but only if Washington's Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell agrees to debate her Republican rival in all 39 of Washington's counties.

So, in orther words, her answer was no — though it's worth noting that her decision to debate twice is twice as many as she agreed to in 2010.

Baumgartner: No apology for expletive

OLYMPIA — U.S. Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner said Wednesday he never apologized to a Seattle reporter for suggesting the reporter “(bleep)” himself, even though his campaign released a statement Tuesday quoting the Spokane Republican doing just that.

“It went out before I'd seen it,” Baumgartner said of the press release that contains a direct quote of him offering an apology to Josh Feit of PubliCola. Later that day, Baumgartner told a Seattle television station he wasn't apologizing.

Campaign staffers said there was an “internal glitch” in communication in preparing the press release.

In a phone interview with The Spokesman-Review, Baumgartner attempted to clarify the on-again, off-again apology to Feit over an e-mail the candidate sent the reporter on Monday night after a question-and-answer item appeared on the Seattle-based blog.

The item was an expansion of Baumgartner's position on abortion for rape victims, coming on the heels of a Missouri Senate candidate's comments over the weekend that women rarely get pregnant from a “legitimate rape.” Baumgartner called U.S. Rep. Todd Akin's comments ignorant and inexcusable, as he had in an earlier press release issued that day. The blog item noted that Baumgartner also opposes abortion in cases of rape. He said he believes rape victims should be treated with compassion and empathy, but that life begins at conception so he opposes abortion on those grounds. Extremists on the abortion rights side of the debate are not questioned about their positions on late term abortions or blocking parental notification, he added.

The article went on to quote Baumgartner as saying his campaign isn't about the culture wars but about jobs and ending the war in Afghanistan. That tracked with comment in the campaign's press release on the Akin comment, that he wished everyone would “call a truce in the culture wars and get back to finding real solutions needed to balance our budget and create real job growth.”

Late Monday, Baumgartner sent Feit an e-mail with a picture of him standing next to a Navy SEAL who had recently been killed in Afghanistan. He suggested Feit “take a good look and then go (bleep) yourself”, using an all-too-common Anglo-Saxon word.

Feit posted the photo and e-mail's contents on PubliCola.

Baumgartner said he considered the e-mail personal and a followup to an ongoing personal discussion he'd had with Feit about Afghanistan. Feit wrote that's not the case, that the Afghan war comments came during an on-the-record conversation about the Akin situation, which was “the news of the day.”

 By late Tuesday afternoon, the Baumgartner campaign was clearly scrambling to put out an official response to the back and forth. His spokeswoman sent out a press release quoting Baumgartner as apologizing to Feit. It also said he believed the news media don't want to talk about the men and women being killed in Afghanistan and Cantwell's stance on the war.

Baumgartner later told KIRO-TV on camera that he wasn't apologizing, and that Feit had it coming.

Spokeswoman Jami Herring said Wednesday the campaign discussed a range of responses that included an apology for the strong language. Asked if Baumgartner saw the press release with a direct quote from him before it went out, she replied “We thought he had, apparently he did not. We got the quote wrong.”

Herring and Campaign manager Dan Bisbee called the press release “an internal glitch.”

In an interview Wednesday, Baumgartner repeated his contention that the news media isn't spending enough time holding members of Congress from both parties responsible for backing poor strategy on the war in Afghanistan. He believes the initial decision to invade Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks was correct, but more recent expansions of the war are the wrong strategy and the United States should withdraw troops from the country as soon as possible.

Baumgartner to Publicola: Go (bleep) yourself

U.S. Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner thinks too much attention is being paid to comments by another Republican candidate running for another Senate seat in another state.

As noted yesterday, Baumgartner, who is running against U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, called the comments of Todd Akin ignorant and inexcusable. This was after Akin, who is running against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, defended his stance against abortion for cases of rape by telling a St. Louis radio station that women rarely get pregnant from a “legitimate rape” because their bodies have a means to “shut down the whole thing.”

His campaign even put out a press release detailing his views on why Akin's comments were insensitive, and suggested it was time to stop focusing on the culture wars and get back to substantive issues like the economy and fiscal problems.

Publicola, a Seattle-area political and public affairs blog, followed up and asked for further details on how Baumgartner's views differed from Akin's views, because they both oppose abortion for cases of rape and incest. The Spokane state senator provided them more details, but again said his campaign is not based around culture wars, and that's not why he's running against Cantwell. He's running on issues about the economy and ending the war in Afghanistan.

Later in the evening, Baumgartner — apparently unhappy with the follow up — sent the writer Josh Feit a picture of picture of a friend who recently died in Afghanistan. He suggested Feit “take a good look, and then go (bleep) yourself.” (This word is used freely by today's teenagers as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an interjection and even a conjunction, but this blog is still run by a family newspaper, so we don't print it.)

This afternoon, Baumgartner's campaign released a statement in which he said he thought the e-mail to Feit was personal, but nonetheless apologized “for my strong language.” He reiterated criticism that the news media aren't talking about ways to end the war or Cantwell's support of it.

For a copy of the statement, click here to go inside the blog.

Baumgartner picks up ‘D’ endorsement

OLYMPIA — With the primary over for everything except the certification, losers are apt to be endorsing winners who will move on to the general.

So it's no surprise that U.S. Senate candidate Art Coday, who finished third, has endorsed fellow Republican Mike Baumgartner in his run against incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell. Republicans endorsing other Republicans, or Democrats endorsing other Democrats don't qualify as news, even in the dog days of summer.

But Baumgartner picked up the endorsement of another of his primary rivals. Democrat Timmy (Doc) Wilson.

Wilson finished fourth. He ran on what some people would consider a “progressive” platform, calling for an immediate end to wars and higher taxes on the upper income segments, more investment in infrastructure and technology. This week he endorsed Baumgartner, who doesn't share his views on taxes, over fellow Democrat Cantwell, saying he thought the challenger would do a better job of working with both parties to get things done.

So that's good news for Baumgartner. Bad news: adding Coday's votes and Wilson's votes to his total — and all the rest of the challengers, for that matter — still leaves Baumgartner about 150,000 votes behind Cantwell.

Mapping the vote: Another way to look at the U.S. Senate race in Spokane

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell easily finished first in last week's state primary, and topped Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner in many Spokane County precincts, as the map below shows.

But when one considers the ABC vote — Anyone But Cantwell — she won fewer precincts, as the map above shows.

For a closer look at the map, click on the PDF version below.


Documents:

Mapping the vote: One way to look at the U.S. Senate race in Spokane

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell easily topped the field in last week's state primary, and finished on top in Spokane County, which is the home of her general election challenger, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner.

Using Monday's ballot report, here's a look at how Cantwell did against Baumgartner in Spokane County.

For a closer look, check out the PDF version of the map.


Documents:

How excited are voters for the primary?

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell talks with Daryl Romeyn, a candidate for Spokane County commissioner, at the county Democratic Party's fund-raiser in Riverfront Park.

Every couple of weeks, some national pundit or cable news talking head ruminates about the “enthusiasm gap” for a certain set of voters.

Sometimes the gap is diagnosed among Democrats, who were oh so excited to vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but now, not so much. Other times the gap is prognosticated among Republicans who backed a different candidate in the primaries and now the best they can say about Mitt Romney is “at least he's better than Obama.”

If there is an enthusiasm gap in Spokane, it may be for a primary that takes place the first full week in August. This observation comes not from polling or deep analysis of ballot returns (cursory analysis, however, says they are nothing to brag about) but from a brief stop at the Spokane County Democrats' salmon bake and Obama birthday celebration Saturday night.

Normally, if you put together a warm clear summer night on the north bank of the Spokane River, offered baked salmon and  liquid refreshments whose containers must reveal their alcoholic content, you could draw a decent crowd of Democrats. Throw in the chance to see the party's U.S. Senate candidate, the wife of its gubernatorial candidate and a passel of other local office seekers, and offer cupcakes to mark the president turning 51, you could count on what used to be called a rip-snorter of a time. 

Saturday's turnout was, in the view of several longtime Ds there, disappointing. Not abysmal, but not outstanding, either. Sen. Maria Cantwell and other candidates dutifully worked the crowd. Supporters of one or another of the Democrats in that crowded 3rd Legislative District state rep race eyed each other warily, and asked those on the sidelines “Who do you think will win?”

(My answer at various times: 1. I live 300 miles away; I don't know. 2. It may come down to turnout. 3. It's possible the two Republicans could split the GOP vote in such a way that two Democrats will make it into the general. 4. The wild card could be the Tea Party vote. 5. The wild card could be the Christian Conservative vote. 6.  It could depend the independent vote in Hillyard, or the lower South Hill, or the northwest part of the district. 7. Ask me who will win the state treasurer's race. There's only one candidate in that one. I actually believe any combination of 2 through 6 could happen, but 1 and 7 are the only things I'm sure of.)

The real problem for the salmon bake may be the problem for the primary. It's summertime, and the living is easy, as “George Gershwin once astutely observed. Easy living does not often galvanize people to political action. (Editor's note: Earlier version of this post wrongly attributed the lyricist of the song until an alert reader pointed out our mistake.)

 A weekend political event must compete with a trip to the lake place or the favorite campsite or that promised trip to grandma's, or even a backyard barbecue. Yes, the ballots were mailed out some two weeks ago, but for voters who've been gone on some multi-week peregrination and are just returning from the mountains or parks or beaches or Disneyland or wherever, they are tucked in among the bills, the offers of new credit cards, back-to-school ads and outdated magazines.

Some uncast primary votes could easily be lost in the summer shuffle. If that's the case,  pundits may spend much time dissecting the upcoming returns for an enthusiasm gap. 

Sunday spin: Is this tanker tout accurate?

 

A reader had a question about a claim in a recent campaign commercial for Sen. Maria Cantwell, in which the incumbent Democrat touts her record on expanding aerospace jobs: “I also helped Boeing win the Air Force tanker contract worth billions.”

What gives? wrote a reader, who wondered if the contract even had been awarded.

It was, in 2011, after a torturous back and forth between Boeing and Airbus. It’s for more than $30 billion, so they pulled out all the stops, including heavy lobbying by officials of the places that stood to gain from the contract. Everyone from the Spokane business community to Gregoire to the state’s congressional delegation, Democrat and Republican, linked arms and said that the plane Boeing would use for the new tanker, a modified 767, was a wonderful aeronautical marvel and that Airbus A330 was a flying hunk of foreign junk.

Under the axiom that success has many fathers, Cantwell was a part of that lobbying effort.

But as taxpayers and people who may someday have the KC-46A flying over Spokane, we should fervently hope that the Air Force paid no attention to the lobbying, and picked the best plane for the mission. Or is that too naïve?

Feds to give N. Spokane Corridor $10 million

The U.S. Department of Transportation will give the state $10 million for the North Spokane Corridor, to be used to help relocate some railroad tracis and extend a bike trail.

A joint announcement from U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers says the state will get the money from the feds on Friday.

The money is known as a TIGER grant, which stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. It will be used to relocate 7.5 miles of BNSF rail lines near the Freya Street interchange, and to extend a bike and pedestrian trail for 1 mile into Hillyard.

All three members of Congress described the North Spokane Corridor — also known by some as the North-South Freeway — as a top priority for them and the community.

To read the announcement of the grant, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Day 1 Filing Week. Some races fill up quickly

OLYMPIA — Some races are starting to fill up quickly on the first morning of filing week as many of the expected candidates and a few surprises turn in their forms and fees.

The top of the ballot for the Aug. 7 primary, the U.S. Senate race, had three names before lunchtime: Incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane's 6th Legislative District were “givens.” But filing first was a previously unheralded candidate, Chuck Jackson of Snohomish. He listed Republican as his party preference, and scaryreality.com as his e-mail provider.

The statewide race attracting the most attention so far is secretary of state. Incumbent Sam Reed is retiring, and five candidates already want to take his place. First in the blocks, and perhaps the first person to file this morning at 8:00 a.m., was Sam Wright of Olympia, who lists his preference as the Human Rights Party. Perhaps more recognizable to a larger chunk of the state's electorate is former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, listing Democrat as his party preference. Democratic State Sen. Jim Kastama also wants that job, as does Democrat Kathleen Drew, a former state senator, and Karen Murray of Quincy, who lists the Constitution Party as her preference.

On a local note, Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase filed for the County Commissioner seat being vacated by fellow Republican Mark Richard.

For more candidate filings, go inside the blog. We'll update the list several times a day.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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