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Murray, Crapo, McMorris Rodgers on list of “Best”

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?

Answer inside the blog.

Congressional candidates take stand on 15 topics

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:

Rich Cowan

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Ian Moody

Randall Yearout

McMorris Rodgers makes a Top 25 list

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.

High court may be done with health care act, governor’s race is not

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.
  

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Cowan: Stop bickering over health care law

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."         

To read the Cowan press release and the McMorris Rodgers fund-raising e-mails in their entirety, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

McMorris Rodgers: Constitutional but unworkable

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.

McMorris Rodgers a designated hitter for Health Care ruling

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.

Sunday Spin: Asking for money a waste of an e-mail

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.

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.

DCCC needs to check its math

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…

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click to go inside the blog.

Romney stopping somewhere in WA today, with McMorris Rodgers

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.

McMorris Rodgers: GOP designated hitter on War on Women

 

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.

Matthews takes on McMorris Rodgers

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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.

Filing week is nearly here. Candidates take note

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.

Into endorsements

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.

McMorris Rodgers to appear on “Meet the Press”

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.

Other guests in the panel discussion include Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow, and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos.

Cowan opens HQ for race against McMorris Rodgers

As a political novice running against a member of the congressional leadership, Rich Cowan said he hopes to use what some would consider his weakness against what many would consider Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ strength.
“This is the worst Congress ever, and she’s part of the leadership of it,” said Cowan, who opened a campaign headquarters Tuesday in Spokane.
  

McMorris Rodgers talks gender politics on CNN

 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers may be a longshot for the veep nod as today's story explains, but she was the designated hitter for the GOP this morning on CNN's State of the Union news magazine when it talked about the "war on women."

She and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., were interviewed by Candy Crowley

Verner opts against run for Congress, but keeping ‘options open’

Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner won't challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers this year.

Verner emailed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Jan. 30 revealing her decision not to run, said Dwight Pelz, chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party.

Verner had talked to Democratic officials late last year and early this year about a possible run.

McMorris Rodgers has used a possible a Verner challenge in fund-raising letters.

"Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner is considering a run against me, too. My former aide, David Condon, defeated her last November, so we should expect she'll pull no punches in trying to defeat me also," McMorris Rodgers' letter from March 14 says.

(That's a pretty interesting analysis of Verner's mayoral campaign, which some might argue barely lifted a finger in response to Condon's effective campaign ads.)

Verner's decision about Congress isn't surprising. A Democratic candidate for Congress in eastern Washington would have to win big in the city of Spokane in order to win. Given that she lost a city-wide election so recently, Democratic leaders weren't eager about her candidacy and have lined up mostly behind Rich Cowan, the founder of North by Northwest, a local film production company.

Asked in an email about McMorris Rodgers' fund-raising letter and if she might run for office this fall, Verner said that she is "keeping her options open."

Of course, Verner could be referring to other offices, such as county commission. No Democrat has announced for Spokane County Commission District 2 (Mark Richard's district), and that's where Verner lives.

Camden: Fighting Over War On Women

Whether there’s a War on Women being waged by politicians around the country is open to debate. There is definitely a War over the War On Women, and Washington has a top commander on both sides of the battle lines. Field marshal for the Democrats is Sen. Patty Murray, who has been using the phrase “War on Women” for months, often in fundraising appeals for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In simple military terms, the committee’s strategy is to elect as many Democrats to the Senate as possible; its tactic, raise as much money as quickly as possible. … Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers became the new brigadier general in the field last week, assigned to turn the tide for the Republicans. Trying to switch to offense from defense, she wrote a guest column for a conservative news website, took to the microphone at the House GOP leadership press conference and went on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” to declare there is no Republican WOW/Jim Camden, SR. More here.

Question: Is the "War on Women" a reality or a propaganda ploy to raise funds and congressional seats?

Health exchange bill signed

Gregoire signs Health Insurance Exchange bill.

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire and other Democratic officials marked Friday’s second anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act – which Republicans prefer to call Obamacare – with a signing ceremony of their own.

Gregoire signed legislation to help set up health insurance exchanges in Washington, a system that would help individuals and small businesses shop for medical plans by 2014. . .

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

CMR: No Republican ‘War On Women’

For weeks, President Obama, Democratic activists and their friends in the media have relentlessly pushed the idea Republicans have launched a "War on Women." After weeks of this carefully orchestrated campaign, the consensus among administration officials and Beltway insiders is clear: Women are outraged by Republican policies, the GOP has done enormous damage to its brand among women and the Democrats are going to reap the benefits at election time.If you're David Axelrod or Debbie Wasserman Schultz, it's a great story. But is it true? The Washington Post has no doubt. A few days ago, they ran a story titled "Recent debate over contraception comes as GOP loses gains among women." And the story is filled with quotes and anecdotes about how knuckle-dragging Republicans have badly damaged themselves by daring to stand up to the latest Obamacare mandate. But what are the facts? What does the polling actually say?/Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington. More here.

Question: Do you believe Republicans have launched a "War on Women"?

McMorris Rodgers for Veep meme continues

Yet still another website is doing a post on the prospect of U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers getting the No. 2 spot on the GOP national ticket this fall. This time it's Human Events, Powerful Conservative Voices.

It has the standard bio information that's familiar to most Spin Control readers, or at least the ones in our main readership area of the Inland Northwest. It talks about her spot in House Republican leadership. It also suggests the whole thing was "conceived in cyberspace", being first mentioned online, then picked up in print in Washington, D.C., news outlets.

It also contains the standard "it's an honor to be considered or even mentioned" comment that is de rigeur for any potential veep candidate at this stage. What it doesn't ask — or at least answer in print — is, "Have you talked to Mitt Romney about this?"

Which seems a logical question, considering McMorris Rodgers is the Washington state chairwoman for the Romney campaign, and Mitt was in the state just last week in advance of the precinct caucuses.

Spin Control did ask that question on Saturday night, in discussing Romney's win in Washington with McMorris Rodgers. The answer: No, they haven't talked about it at all.

Which is about what you'd expect, considering that it is March.

So let's start a new meme: HBO's movie about the 2008 campaign, "Game Change", has Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. If McMorris Rodgers is selected as the GOP vice presidential candidate, and the 2012 campaign is made into a movie, who will be cast as Cathy?

Click the comment link to weigh in.

McMorris Rodgers gets another veep mention

No. 6 in line? McMorris Rodgers at a recent press conference.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is ranked No. 6 on a list of 10 possible Republican vice presidential candidates by a GOP leaning election blog, Race 4 2012.

It describes her as "the biggest potential dark horse candidate" and plunks her down between Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.  It also commends her "gravitas."

As nice as it is to have a Washington congresswoman on someone's short list, it should be noted that this blog doesn't even seem to know that the state's precinct caucuses are being held this weekend. So we'll take their Veep list with a grain of salt.

McMorris Rodgers: Romney should emphasize fiscal issues

OLYMPIA – In this year’s volatile Republican presidential campaign, Mitt Romney’s success in the March 3 Washington caucuses may depend on how well he does in the two contests earlier in the week, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairwoman of his state campaign, said Wednesday.
“It’s up and down,” McMorris Rodgers said in an interview with reporters. “Some of it depends on how things turn out in Michigan and Arizona.”
Those states have primaries on Tuesday; the Washington precinct caucuses are next Saturday…

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.
  

Friday Quote: Cathy McMorris Rodgers response to a constituent concern about coal export terminals

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding coal export terminals. It is an honor to represent the people of Eastern Washington and I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Like you, I believe that we must protect our communities, the people that reside in them, and the environment. However, our nation has energy needs. We need a comprehensive energy strategy that advances our independence. Coal has been and must continue to be a part of this discussion. Advanced developments in technology make it a clean energy source and the construction of export terminals creates jobs and trade opportunities, all of which benefit Washington State. Be assured that I will continue to monitor this process.

Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. As your Representative in Congress, I am committed to putting the best interests of Eastern Washington first. I invite you to visit my website at www.mcmorrisrodgers.house.gov for additional information or to sign up for my e-newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Best Wishes,

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Member of Congress



  

McMorris Rodgers names district director

Spokane attorney Dick Leland is the new district director for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

The congresswoman's office made the announcement today that Leland, who worked for the Farm Credit System before becoming a lawyer, is her pick to replace the former director of  her Eastern Washington offices, David Condon.

Condon stepped down last May to run for mayor of Spokane. That worked out so well for  him that he is now otherwise occupied.

Sunday Spin: McMorris Rodgers for Veep?

A political blog in the other Washington, The Daily Caller,  suggests a certain congresswoman from this Washington could have a shot at the No. 2 spot on the GOP presidential ticket this fall.

The blog quotes a Republican strategist, Kellyanne Conway, as saying Cathy McMorris Rodgers would fit the bill as a vice presidential selection that "needs to be a surprise, but not a shocker."

The blog goes on to recount the parts of McMorris Rodgers bio that would make her a good pick on paper: daughter of fruit farmers, first in her family to attend college, married to a retired naval pilot, only woman to have two kids while in Congress, founder of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus after her first child, Cole, was born with that condition, leadership post in the House Republican Caucus, from a Western state…

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

VP: 1st Palin, Now McMorris Rodgers?

A political blog in the other Washington, The Daily Caller,  suggests a certain congresswoman from this Washington could have a shot at the No. 2 spot on the GOP presidential ticket this fall. The blog quotes a Republican strategist, Kellyanne Conway, as saying Cathy McMorris Rodgers would fit the bill as a vice presidential selection that “needs to be a surprise, but not a shocker.” The blog goes on to recount the parts of McMorris Rodgers bio that would make her a good pick on paper: daughter of fruit farmers, first in her family to attend college, married to a retired naval pilot, only woman to have two kids while in Congress, founder of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus after her first child, Cole, was born with that condition, leadership post in the House Republican Caucus, from a Western state/Jim Camden, Spin Control. More here. (SR file photo of Cathy McMorris Rodgers celebrating re-election in November 2010)

Question: Would Cathy McMorris Rodgers be a better pick for a Republican vice presidential candidate than another woman with roots in the Inland Northwest, Sarah Palin?

McMorris Rodgers gives GOP prebuttle

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, vice chair of the House Republican Conference, gave Fox News a preview of the GOP's rebuttle to tonight's expected themes in President Obama's State of the Union address. The congresswoman from Spokane took repeated shots at Obama's rejection of the Keystone pipeline, saying America needs the private sector jobs.

"At a time when we need to be putting Americans back to work, the President, unfortunately, is saying ‘no’ to American energy and ‘no’ to American jobs," McMorris Rodgers told Fox News commentator Bill Hemmer.  "That’s the wrong answer.

Here's a clip of the TV appearance:

The president is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address at 6 p.m. PT tonight, and is expected to call for higher tax rates on America's millionaires.