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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

McMorris Rodgers a VP contender (and other speech analysis)

Here's what's being said about Eastern Washington's Congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers after (and a little before) her speech responding to President Barack Obama's State of the Union:

The Washington Post says she's a vice presidential contender in 2016:

"Talk of a possible veep slot in 2016 is in the air, as is the possibility that McMorris Rodgers will rise through the House Republican ranks, should Boehner decided to step down in the coming years. Even though she has been part of the brass for a while, it’s as if Republicans are suddenly waking up to the focus-group charm of CMR."

The Daily Kos calls baloney on McMorris Rodgers claims about "Bette in Spokane":

Sorry, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, your story doesn't pass the smell test, and certainly doesn't withstand any level of detailed analysis.

McClatchy puts the honor of giving the opposition speech in perspective:

On Tuesday, she’ll become the 12th woman to give the opposition speech and only the second chosen from the House Republican ranks, joining the late Rep. Jennifer Dunn, also of Washington state, who got the nod in 1999. Two Washington state Democrats took the assignment, too: Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson in 1970 and then-Gov. Gary Locke in 2003.

Read more here:

The New Republic calls her '"Supermom":

In short, McMorris Rodgers is the quintessential Republican counterpoint to the contraceptive-popping, In-Leaning feminist Democratic voter. She’s Supermom.

Roll Call notes that McMorris Rodgers never said "Obama" or "Obamacare" in her speech:

It was a notable choice for the Washington state lawmaker, who has focused her leadership role over the past year on trying to change the public perception of the GOP through, among other things, more refined talking points and carefully considered rhetoric.

Before the speech, Time said the opposition speech effect would be watered down by competing Tea Party opposition speeches:

The scrum is a symptom of the civil war that threatens the party over the next two election cycles. In 2014, party bigwigs will drop millions to contest congressional primaries, sums that might be better spent in the battle to take back the Senate. In 2016, Republicans are facing a bloody presidential primary (just count the number of darts Paul has hurled at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lately) that threatens to hobble the eventual nominee. If the GOP can’t find common ground on a response to Obama, it may struggle to find its way back to the White House when he leaves.

The Guardian compares the three opposition speeches:

McMorris Rodgers framed her criticisms of Obama in positive and forward-looking terms, in stark contrast to much of the toxic rhetoric that has been directed by leading conservatives against the president in recent months.

The Tampa Bay Times' PolitFact gives one of her claims about joblessness a rating of "Half True":

McMorris Rodgers said more people stopped looking for a job than found one in December. The congresswoman relied on figures that included a large fraction of people who retired from the workforce and she cherry-picked one of only two months in 2013 that supported her claim.

And, of course, here is our coverage:

The Eastern Washington Republican’s response to the State of the Union was a clearly calculated rebuttal. But a Democratic political consultant and a public relations expert with strong GOP ties gave McMorris Rodgers high marks for her 12-minute speech.

Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

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