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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Walt Minnick

Obama speech reax: Bipartisan support for now

A generation after serving in Vietnam, Rep. Walt Minnick sat in the auditorium at West Point Tuesday surrounded by men and women in cadet gray uniforms being told by a president their lives could be sacrificed in another Asian country.


“It was an honor to be here, a generation later,” said Minnick, an Army veteran who was one of seven members of Congress asked to attend President Barack Obama’s speech on raising troop levels in Afghanistan. “There was rapt attention in that room. Their futures are on the line.”
 

For more reaction, or to leave a comment, go inside the blog.

Minnick joins defund ACORN movement

U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick was a primary signer of a letter demanding that ACORN be barred from receiving any funds in the upcoming transportation, housing and urban development spending bill.

Minnick was one of 35 Democrats asking their leadership to add “no money for ACORN” language that has already passed the Senate.

It’s just one more smack to an organization that’s been taking a beating ever since workers were caught on video explaining how actors posing as a pimp and a prostitute could set up what my grandmother would have called “a house of ill repute” with federal funding.

More recently there were allegations that as much as $5 million was embezzled by the brother of ACORN’s former chief executive, but replaced and covered up. ACORN sent out a press release this morning saying “nothing could be further from the truth” than the claim of a $5 million embezzlement. That was really the possible maximum total cost of fixing things after the embezzlement, bringing in lawyers and accountants, changing policies and proceedures, ACORN officials said.

The real amount embezzled was $948,607.50, they said.

OK, the dollar amount is wrong. But it seems like zero dollars embezzled would be a truth further from $5 million than $948,607.50.

Obama reax from WA & ID delegations

When a president talks, congresspersons listen…and then they talk, too.

Such was the case Wednesday night when Barack Obama talked about health care reform, and members of Congress talked about Obama’s talk.

Go inside the blog to see what the honorables who represent the Inland Northwest had to say.

Idaho 1st in the spotlight in 2010?

Most years, Idaho’s congressional races inspire yawns among the nation’s political cognoscenti. It’s likely 2010 will not be one of those years.

Idaho’s sprawling 1st District House race is at or near the top of several lists of races to watch in the mid-term election. Washington, D.C., publications like Congress Daily and the Hill both flagged it last month, as did the Rothenburg Report, and it’s on top of the “Swing State Prospect” list of races featuring a Democrat – Walt Minnick – in a Republican-leaning district.

This comes as no surprise, considering The Hill put Minnick at the top of its “most vulnerable” list the day he was sworn in. No points, apparently, for beating freshman Republican Bill Sali in 2008 and becoming the first Democrat to hold the seat in bright red Idaho since 1994.

In the six months since, Minnick has attempted to put as much distance as possible between himself and House Democratic leadership. He voted against the stimulus package in February, the AIG package in March and cap and trade last month. As of last week, he was at the top of another list, the Washington Post’s tabulation of Democrats who don’t vote with their party leadership.

His earliest and best-organized Republican challenger is Vaughn Ward, a candidate with so much going for him one might think the National Republican Congressional Committee ordered him from central casting. He’s a photogenic 40, with an attractive wife and two cute kids; grew up in Twin Falls, worked on the family farm in Shoshone, is a Marine Corps Reserves major, worked for the CIA in the Middle East and Africa, and as a legislative aide for Dirk Kempthorne and Nevada state campaign official for John McCain’s presidential run. He’s already snagged McCain’s endorsement as well as some other GOP notables.
   Ward is understandably happy to find Minnick on the lists of most vulnerable…

Idaho could get stuck in this knife fight

There’s a switchblade fight going on in Congress. Depending on who wins, North Idaho could bleed jobs at some point.

This is not some latter day version of the Sharks and the Jets, minus the choreography. It’s even nastier than some back alley knife fight, because it takes place in an even more dangerous neighborhood: Federal regulations.

The U.S. Customs Bureau recently proposed rewriting the rules governing imported knives to broaden the definition of switchblades. It would expand the ban from the classic switchblade — think James Coburn in “The Magnificent Seven” — to any knife that can be opend by one hand with “inertia, gravity or both.”

In other words, a knife that can go from fully or partly closed to open with the flick of a wrist. They’d be illegal, just like the classic springloaded switchblade that opens with the press of a button.

That definition, in the words of C.J. Buck, covers a lot of knives. And as the president and chief executive officer of Buck Knives, he’d know.

Word.

For the record, Patty Murray’s favorite word is “help.” Maria Cantwell’s is “oil”. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ is “students.”

In the Idaho congressional delegation, Mike Crapo’s fave is”energy”. Jim Risch’s is “guard”. Walt Minnick’s is “Idaho”.

That’s the conclusion of Capitol Words,  a new Web site that combs through the Congressional Record for speeches and comments by members of Congress, then counts how many times they use words other than a or the or and or…well, you get the picture. 

The record for some of the region’s honorables is much longer, because they’ve been around for years. For Minnick and Risch, who just arrived in January, it’s sparse, but the site also tracks their predecessors Larry Craig and Bill Sali.

Go inside to see the top 5 for each.

Earth Day Greetings

Happy Earth Day. Sorry I didn’t get you a card or a present.

To make up for it, Spin Control is passing along (without harming the environment as far as we can tell) Earth Day sentiments from elected officials. Inside the blog are paperless reproductions of E.D. statements from Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, and audio from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Others will be posted if they come in

About that “stimulus package” clinic

The White House and Washington state’s two Democratic senators were very happy to announce this week that a small piece of the stimulus package was headed to Spokane for a new medical clinic.

Community Health Association of Spokane was awarded a $1.3 million grant  Monday from the Health and Human Services Department’s portion of the Recovery Act. (Forgive me for referring to seven figures of money as small, but we’re becoming so used to trillions that a million sounds picayune.)

Good for jobs, with unemployment moving up to 10 percent around here. Good for health, considering that those unemployed workers are also, mostly, uninsured. Good for the stimulus package.

Except that the clinic isn’t going to be in Spokane… 

Minnick to auto industry: Yer grounded

Well not exactly. But U.S. Rep. Walt MInnick did repeat his call today for “tough love” for the auto industry as it seeks federal bailout.

By that he means they need to submit reorganization plans to a bankruptcy judge, rather than coming to Congress. Go inside to read more of his comments from an appearance down in Lewiston.

Aww dad, does that mean we can’t borrow the car, or that there will be no car to borrow?

Go inside the blog to read his official statement.

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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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