Latest from The Spokesman-Review
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, on Thursday backed a proposal creating a national park at three sites central to the creation of atomic weapons, including Hanford.
The vote was bipartisan in its support and opposition. It failed 237-180. It needed supermajority support to move forward. The bill's sponsor was U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Washington.
You can read more about the proposal here.
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.
State Rep. Kevin Parker has plenty of time on his hands, politically speaking.
The Republican from Spokane's 6th District doesn't have an opponent in this year's election. So over the weekend, he signed on as honorary chairman of Cathy McMorris Rodgers' congressional re-election campaign.
According to the press release, she is pleased and he is honored. She wants him to help her campaign “move forward”. He wants to make sure the campaign stays in touch with voters while she's back in that other Washington.
The press release also contains some bio information on Parker, such as his co-ownership of coffee shops, serving as a leadership instructor at Fairchild Air Force Base and adjunct business prof at Whitworth University.
He was also “honorary commander for Fairchild” last year, it notes. We're guessing as honorary commander of the base, Parker didn't get to order launches of any of the planes. Perhaps this honorary gig will be more action-packed.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has kicked off the last two nights of the Republican National Convention as the gathering's host.
She hasn't generated much national attention, though as the host, she probably isn't supposed to.
Here is her first night's speech:
Click inside this post to watch her speech from Wednesday.
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.
Tropical Storm Isaac might be bad news in general for the Republican National Convention, but the storm clouds at least have a silver lining for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
The storm is shortening the convention by one day, by knocking out all but the official opening from today's agenda. McMorris Rodgers was among the long list of people scheduled to speak from the podium tonight on the theme of “We can do better.”
Now, the Eastern Washington congresswoman won't be making that speech, but will be on the stage for the three remaining nights as the convention's “host.” This may sound a bit strange when one considers her district is pretty far from Florida — you can't get much farther without leaving the lower 48. When one throws a party, the “host” is usually the person whose house the party is at, or who is paying the bar tab at the restaurant, and neither of those descriptions fit.
“I wouldn't look at it from a geographic perspective, but from a national political perspective,” her spokesman Todd Winer said.
McMorris Rodgers has been involved in the Mitt Romney presidential campaign for months, and is currently campaign co-chairwoman for Washington state, campaign liaison to the House of Representatives, co-chairwoman of Farmers and Ranchers for Mitt and co-chairwoman of Women for Mitt.
The title of convention host is a new rule for this GOP national convention, Winer said. McMorris Rodgers, who had been slated for a seven-minute speech in the original game plan, will speak from three to five minutes at the beginning of each night's events, explaining who the speakers are and the evening's theme. (There's a different theme for each night.) . She'll be on the stage a fair amount, throughout the convention, Winer said.
For the complete “Order of Business” for the convention, click here.
The Republican National Convention is in Tampa this week, if Hurricane Isaac doesn’t blow the GOP into the next county. They just released a revised schedule, because Monday is going to be a quick opening and then folks will mostly hunker down.
That moves the speech by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, of Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, to Tuesday. She still has a prime-time speaking gig, at least on the East Coast, sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. The original speech was going to go 7 minutes, her staff said. We'll see if she has to cut back.
State Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, who would like to be U.S. Sen. Baumgartner, R-Wash., also will be in Tampa. No speaking slot, but his campaign says he’ll be available for interviews through Tuesday. Not sure if the national press corps knows to use a five-second delay on live broadcasts, in case they need to bleep out anything.
Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and his brother Roger Reed, a Spokane attorney, are both Romney delegates to the convention. Sam is an avid Coug, so look for WSU colors during shots of the state delegation.
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.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is doing about everything she possibly can to make sure Mitt Romney gets elected.
She's his campaign co-chairwoman for Washington state. She's is the campaign liaison to the House of Representatives. She's a co-chairwoman of Farmers and Ranchers for Mitt. She's a co-chairwoman of Women for Mitt.
Later this month, she'll get to make a prime-time pitch for Romney at the Republican National Convention.
McMorris Rodgers is on the list of speakers announced today for the first day of the convention. She'll be following House Speaker John Boehner and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and preceeding Mike Huckabee, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Ann Romney. Announced theme for the night: We can do better.
The evening schedule starts at 7:45 p.m. Eastern, so that's 4:45 p.m. Pacific.
Earlier in the day, viewers can see the “roll call of the states” for president. That's when people in funny hats stand at a microphone and say things like “Madam Chairman, the great state of West Dakota, home of a buncha things you never heard of but we think are damn special so we're going to take this opportunity to list them all…cast their six and one-third votes for the next president of the United States Mitt Romney, 2 and one-third votes for the other next president of the United States Ron Paul, and one-third vote for the bartender at our Holiday Inn who made the best margaritas we ever had last night.”
Got a question for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers?
The congresswoman, a Republican, will be meeting with constituents this week across parts of the sprawling 5th congressional district, including a town hall event Thursday in Spokane.
Here's the details:
WALLA WALLA — 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Port of Walla Walla, Airport conference room, 310 A St.
DAYTON — 3 p.m. Wednesday, Weinhard Hotel, 235 E. Main St.
SPOKANE TOWN HALL — 6 p.m. Thursday, Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln.
Waves from a comment by a Missouri politician Sunday that women are rarely pregnant from a “legitimate rape” rippled across country to Washington state today, with fellow Republican Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner calling it ignorant and Democrats trying to tie a link to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, who won a primary for the right to challenge U.S. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, stepped in it Sunday during a radio interview. According to an Associated Press report, he was asked if he would support abortion for a woman who was raped, and replied: “It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
He later said in a statement he misspoke and insisted he has “deep empathy for the thousands of women who are raped and abused each year.”
But some Republicans were already calling for him to get out of the race, GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney termed the comments offensive and other candidates were quick to follow suit.
Among them was Baumgartner, who this morning issued a statement that the comments were inexcusable: “To belittle the trauma rape victims go through is extremely offensive and I am horrified that he would show such little empathy.”
He also suggested candidates “call a truce on the culture wars” and go back to talking about the economy and fiscal problems.
That's probably not going to happen soon. Sen. Maria Cantwell's campaign quickly fired back that Baumgartner signed on to a Spokane County GOP platform that defined life as stretching from conception to natural death, and said he would make an exception for abortion in cases in which a woman's life is in danger but not an exception for rape cases.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was trying to tie Akin's comments around McMorris Rodgers' neck, saying they co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which as originally written tried to change an exclusion in the law from rape to “forcible rape.” That suggests that some kinds of rape and incest are consensual and health care could be restricted accordingly, the group said. Wouldn't be surprised if the DCCC was sending out a cookie-cutter press release in most of the bill's 227 co-sponsors.
Spokane area Republicans are apparently pooling their resources for the fall campaigns to open a “Victory Center” where GOP candidates and their supporters, from the presidential level on down the ballot, can set up.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said statewide candidates and campaigns will run their Eastern Washington operations out of the center, to “reach out to voters and to make certain Republican voters mail in their ballots.”
They're holding a grand opening at 5 p.m. Monday at the center, which is in the Pier 1 Building, off Division oat 111 West North River Drive.
In defending her budget votes to a group of activists this week, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Gov. Chris Gregoire and legislators are in a better position to know what’s best for Medicaid, the program that provides medical care for low-income residents.
“I voted to save these programs,” McMorris Rodgers said of her vote for a House GOP budget plan crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
But the budget plan she supported makes a significant change to Medicaid that Gregoire strenuously opposes. It would turn the federal share of that program into a “block grant”, a lump sum payment.
“I remain strongly opposed to any congressional effort to impose Medicaid as a block grant program in Washington,” Gregoire wrote in a recent letter to the Wall Street Journal. . .
Take all 535 members of Congress, and select out 30 for special recognition via a “Best of Congress” award.
In that group of 30, place Washington Sen. Patty Murray and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dave Reichert and Adam Smith, and Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo.
That kind of list was just announced. Who gave them the award, and for what?
We have posted the answers to a Spokesman-Review candidate questionnaire from each of the four candidates for the Congressional seat representing Eastern Washington.
You can read the candidates' opinions on 15 topics, including taxes, same-sex marriage, immigration, marijuana, abortion and the North Spokane freeway at the following links:
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers made the cover of a national magazine, and landed on its Top 25 list.
She's sharing the list and the cover with some pretty high profile Democrats. And while the cover of National Journal is not the cover of the Rolling Stone, for political types it might be better.
The political magazine named the Eastern Washington Republican to its list of Top 25 Influential Women in Washington, D.C.
She made the list with First Lady Michelle Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Nancy Pelosi and California Sen. Diane Feinstein. The list included some other Republicans, too, including Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and former Rep. Susan Molinari.
The list is alphabetical, so there's no numeric ranking. A link to the whole story is here.
A copy of their article on McMorris Rodgers can be found inside the blog.
OLYMPIA – When a divided Supreme Court settled the question of whether federal health care reform is constitutional Thursday, it turned up the spotlight on the issue for Washington’s hotly contested governor’s race.
Now the question is, how long before that light dims?
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, one of the original plaintiffs in the failed multi-state challenge, said he was surprised at the ruling but insisted he was relieved, not disappointed.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, Inslee’s likely Democratic opponent for governor this November, was happy: “I always believed this was constitutional. I had no qualms in voting for this bill.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire, who disagreed so strongly with McKenna’s decision to draw Washington into the court battle that she filed as a “friend of the court” on the other side, was both celebratory and caustic.
As his Republican opponent continues to call for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic congressional candidate Rich Cowan said it's time to “put aside the partisan bickering.”“
Cowan's likely opponent in November, four term Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, was one of the go-to commentators for the House GOP on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today and called for Congress to “repeal and replace the law” in the face of the narrow decision that said the law is constitutional. She also blasted some scatological messages she said that came from national Democrats in the wake of the decision, and sent out a fund-raising appeal for the National Republican Congressional Campaign that asked those who also find the messages crass to donate $3 to “show Democrats what Mom-power looks like.”
Cowan said the court “did the right thing for our health care today” and cited some popular features that will continue, such as extended coverage for young adults on their parents' insurance and an end to coverage denials for pre-existing conditions. And he played the “I understand these things because I'm in the private sector” card.
“As a business owner I have experienced first hand how important basic, affordable health care is to employees,” he said in a press release. “here are parts of this law that can be improved, like cost containment and access issues, but it is time to put aside the partisan bickering and put America back to work.”
Even if the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning, it's still unworkable, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers insisted.
The Eastern Washington Republican was sent to the court as one of the GOP spokespersons to address the gathered media hordes. After listening to the decision, she issued a press release that vowed her party will continue trying to repeal the law that she called “an unprecedented expansion of government power.”
To read the full press release, go inside the blog.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will be one of two House Republicans providing instant comments — they're calling it “messaging” — when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.
Except she's more likely to be calling it by its favored GOP term, Obamacare, particularly if the court throws out all or part of the law.
A press release this morning from McMorris Rodgers's office said she'll be at the Supreme Court building Thursdah morning for the announcement of the opinion with Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who serves on the Ways and Means health subcommittee. They will “lead the House GOP's messaging in response to the ruling,” the announcement said.
Later, she'll lead a group of at least eight House Republican women talking about the decision at a press conference in front of the Capitol.
Last week, like most weeks, among the hundreds of e-mails that made it through the spam filter were some cheery yet urgent missives from politicians.
Among them was one from Patty Murray, Washington’s Democratic senior senator, andanother from Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. Not surprisingly, they both wanted the same thing. Money.
To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog.
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.
National political groups try to find deep meaning in local elections, so it's not surprising the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants to spread Tuesday's victory in Arizona over as much of the country as possible.
But they may need a new calculator before they use it as a bellwether for Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District.
Wednesday afternoon the group dedicated to electing Democrats to the U.S. House sent out a press release with this headline:
Democrats Win Special Election in More Republican District Than Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’
That, not surprisingly, had us at Spin Control scratching our heads. Didn't the district in question, Arizona's 8th Congressional District, have a Democratic congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, for the last five years? Whereas Eastern Washington's 5th hasn't had a Democratic congressperson since 1994.
How do ya figure “more Republican”? Spin Control asked Steve Carter, the DCCC representative for western states.
There's no one way to rate how partisan a district is, Carter said. “That's one way to look at it,” he said when we brought up the 18-year gap for electing a Dem to the House. The DCCC, however, chose to look at it a different way…
GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney has at least one thing in common with President Barack Obama: He's treating the Puget Sound like an ATM machine.
Romney will make a stop somewhere in King County today for a fund-raiser. There are no public events and the Romney campaign has been closed mouthed about where the money even takes place. Even State Chairman Kirby Wilbur said over the weekend he hadn't been told where it would be.
Two days earlier and he could've had a really high-profile venue with a stop in Tacoma on Saturday at the GOP State Convention, fired up his supporters, won over some Ron Paul supporters with a good speech to the 1,500 or so Republicans in attendance. Oh, well.
One of the co-sponsors of today's fund-raiser is U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who was given a new campaign job Monday in advance of the event. She's already the state co-chairwoman of the Romney campaign as well as a Romney delegate to the national convention.
The new job: Campaign liaison to the Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The campaign actually announced the new position for early this morning, way in advance of the fund-raiser, via press release with the expected quotes from Romney and McMorris Rodgers about how each is honored to be working with the other. It can be read in full here, for those who want the “full scoop.”
Obama was in Seattle last month, for two campaign fund-raising events and anyone who wanted a glimpse of something other than the motorcade had to buy a ticket. But there was news coverage of both events.
As previously mentioned in Spin Control, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has been given command of GOP forces counterattacking Democrats on the “War on Women.”
Along with her appearance yesterday on Chris Matthews, she also appeared on CNN's John King U.S.A. show.
The message is essentially the same, as it has been for more than a month, that the war is a “Democratic myth” designed to capture women's votes in 2012 after losing them in 2010, and that women really care about the economy. Compare the two clips, if you are so inclined, to see which matchup she handled better.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, was put on the defensive Monday by Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball.
McMorris Rodgers, who has become the GOP's chief spokeswoman against attacks on the party related to women's issues, defended the House leadership's position against adding protections for lesbians and others in the Violence Against Women Act, which expired last year and is under consideration for reauthorization by Congress.
She said the House GOP leadership is committed to the act but not as the reauthorization has been approved by the Senate. The version approved by the Senate includes the protections as well as extra visas for female immigrants facing abuse.
Everyone thinking about running for political office this year, take note: You have less than a week to make up your mind. Everyone talking about running and acting like they’re already a full-fledged candidate, take note: It’s not official until you file your paperwork and pay your fee.
Candidate filing week starts Monday morning, and ends when the office where that paperwork and fee must be deposited closes on Friday. Here’s a tricky part – because of budget cutbacks, some county elections offices close as early as noon on Fridays, others at 4 p.m., and some stay open until 5 p.m. Anyone planning to wait until the very last minute to build suspense would be wise to make a phone call to the appropriate office and check when that last minute is.
For some positions that’s the county elections office in the county seat; for others, it’s the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia. How do you know what goes where?
Go inside the blog to read more, or to comment.
Washington candidates are scrambling to announce endorsements this week as filing week approaches.
The gubernatorial candidates are taking turns touting nods from “first responders.” Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, the likely Democratic nominee, is in Spokane today to pick up the endorsement of Fire Fighters Local 29. They'll have a formal laying on of the hands at 2:15 p.m. at the union hall, 911 E. Baldwin.
Attorney General Rob McKenna, the all-but-certain Republican nominee, announced Monday that he'd been endorsed by the Washington State Troopers Association.
The State Labor Council weighed in over the weekend with its endorsements, which were, depending on one's point of view, strongly pro-Democrat or anti-Republican. The council is backing Rich Cowan against U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the 5th Congressional District, and picked a D in eight of the other nine districts. For District 3 in Southwest Washington, they didn't have a good Democratic option, so they came out opposed to Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.
In Spokane Legislative races, the labor council showed an ability to shift quickly to the winds of Sen. Lisa Brown's surprise retirement last week. endorsing Andy Billig for the now open Senate seat and Marcus Riccelli for Billig's former House seat. One problem with the quick turnaround: They misspelled Riccelli's name. Also on their list: Amy Biviano in the 4th District and Dennis Dellwo in the 6th.
Speaking of that potentially crowded 3rd District House race, Democratic leaders seem eager to jump in line behind Riccelli. Brown endorsed her former aide this morning, as did former state Sen. Chris Marr, former Reps. Alex Wood, Jeff Gombosky, John Driscoll and Don Barlow, and most recent past county party chairpersons.
That's a pretty quick closing of the ranks, considering the seat became open less than a week ago, and at least two other candidates — Spokane businessman John Waite and Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder — have expressed interest in filing.
Filing week, by the way, begins Monday morning.
If you tune in to NBC’s “Meet the Press” this weekend, you’ll see a familiar face from the Inland Northwest getting some network air time.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Spokane Republican serving as vice chair of the House GOP Conference, will be among the guests on the nationally televised news show, which airs in Spokane at 8 a.m. Sunday on KHQ TV. Topics include the presidential race, the economy, immigration and the continuing debate over what some are calling the “war on women.”
McMorris Rodgers, seeking a fifth congressional term, is the Washington state chair of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and has led the Republican rebuttal against Democratic attacks that the GOP’s agenda harms women.