FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, January 31, 2013

WATCH/LISTEN: Rep. Gosar Interview With NRA, Finds It "Despicable" That Obama Used Children As "Props"

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) spent ten minutes last week on Cam & Co., a talk show put online and on the Sportsman network by the National Rifle Association ("NRA").  There was little or nothing that he disagreed with host Cam Edwards about, and he found an eager listener as he discussed his House resolution expressing no confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder and demanding his resignation.

Gosar seemed to be interrupted and/or distracted at several points.  That might help explain the following quote from the normally well-spoken Congressman when Edwards read him an article about the Administration's urging Mayors to support its efforts to reduce gun violence:

"That sure means to me that the states with the highest gun control laws are going to have more violence. Look at Chicago and New York.   Here it comes, folks.  Be prepared for it because that's shown that that hasn't been able to help.  The hysteria of violent people up and not basing it on facts, it's cruel to people and it's submersive- subversive in it's intentions.  Cam, and, I find it despicable, the way they placated to the audience with props of children and people and their parents. I think that's not the way America has to run and work."  The host replied, "I'm glad to hear you say that."


 

 

 

 

 

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Flake Votes Against Temporary Suspension Of Debt Ceiling, Heads To President's Desk

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was among the minority voting against the House Republicans' plan to suspend the U.S.' debt ceiling until May - including the provision that suspends some or all Congressional paychecks starting on April 15 if a budget blueprint is not passed.  The measure passed this afternoon, 64-34 (it required a simple majority).


Arizona's other Senator, shrinking violet John McCain, joined 11 other Republicans in voting for the package, which now heads to the President's desk.

Here is the text of what is called the "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013".  It was designed to advance the House Republicans' talking point that the Senate Democrats have not passed a budget for the past few years.  It will force each House of Congress to pass "a concurrent resolution" by April 15, or that House's or Houses' Members will not receive their paychecks until the end of the Congressional session (or a budget is passed).  (Not yet sure if each House can pass its own "concurrent resolution", which would kind of be where we have been the past several years.)



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Arpaio Recall Group's Website "Live", Features Downloadable Petition

The website for Respect Arizona, the group heading up the new effort to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has gone "live" this morning, and features a downloadable petition that anyone can circulate.

The petition page features detailed instructions which any potential volunteer circulator must follow in order for the signatures to be valid under Arizona law.  First and foremost is to have legal-sized paper (8.5" x 14") in the printer.

Although the group is going by "Respect Arizona", the website address is www.RecallArpaio.com.  They have set up their Facebook page, but the Twitter and YouTube icons are not yet live.

There is also a "donate" page, that notes that there is no limit to the amount of contributions to their committee, and requests that people mail checks in.  There is not (yet) the ability to donate online.

Arpaio's Campaign Manager Chad Willems has already called on Respect Arizona to release a list of its donors immediately, before required to do so under Arizona campaign finance law.


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Only Two Arizona Congresspeople Co-Sponsor Measure To Repeal 'Obamacare's' IPAB; Seven Democrats Sign On

Two surprises pop up in the list of 100 co-sponsors to the newly-introduced measure in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board portion of "Obamacare".  First is that only half of Arizona's GOP delegation signed on.  On a national political note, seven Democrats attached their names to the short measure.

 Reps. Trent Franks (R-CD8) and Paul Gosar (R-CD4) are the two members of the Arizona GOP delegation to co-sponsor it.

Arizona's Politics wrote the following paragraph about the IPAB (also referenced as the Independent Medicare Advisory Board) last year, in the context of a Fact Check - Republicans have attacked it repeatedly, dating back (at least) to Sarah Palin's well-publicized comments:

The "board of unelected bureaucrats in charge" has some basis in fact but is very misleading.  The law does set up the Independent Medicare Advisory Board, which is what the ad is apparently alluding to.  However, the board is neither "unelected bureaucrats" nor "in charge."  The IMAB will be made up of people from many different walks of life and specialties - including health insurance companies, employers, consumers and the elderly - they are appointed by the President with input from leaders of both parties in each house of Congress, and they have term limits.  (Read pages 502-504 of the PPACA.)  In addition, any proposals that this Board comes up with are submitted to Congress for consideration, and they cannot propose reducing Medicare payment rates before 2018. (Read pages 491 forward, at the link above.)
* * *
That seven Democrats signed on to the repeal proposal may be even more surprising.  Those Democrats are Reps. Timothy Bishop (NY), Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands), Joe Courtney (CT), Jim Matheson (UT), Linda Sanchez (CA), Allyson Schwartz (PA), and Michael Capuano (MA).  (We have not analyzed these Representatives' past positions or the make-ups of their districts.)

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Arpaio Campaign Calls On Recall Organizers To Disclose Donors

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's campaign committee is kicking into high gear to battle the just-filed recall effort.  Besides the hard-nosed fundraising e-mail to supporters across the nation, Arpaio Campaign Manager Chad Willems sent out a news release calling on Respect Arizona to disclose its list of donors.

Willems stated that this is necessary because the recall is coming so soon after voters re-elected Arpaio to a sixth term in November.  “Therefore we call upon the Respect Arizona committee to publicly disclose their list of donors. If this recall effort is truly about respecting Arizona the committee should have no problem in being open and honest with Arizonans by disclosing who is paying for this effort.”

Under campaign finance law, the Respect Arizona group's first disclosure statement will not be due for several months.

Arpaio's campaigns have been on the other end of finance-related demands and complaints in the past.  In October, Willems claimed a complaint filed by a supporter of Arpaio's opponent suggesting that expenditures were not appropriately listed was "just another desperate tactic from one of our opponents."

In his fundraising e-mail, Arpaio claimed that his opponents had already "raised over $1.3 million to defeat me," which might explain the call for disclosure.  However, as Arizona's Politics fact-checked, there is no evidence that any money has already been raised (although some undoubtedly has and more pledged).

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WATCH: Entire Confrontation Between McCain, Hagel


http://cs.pn/Xoph3J


Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) went after former friend and fellow Republican Chuck Hagel this morning during the hearing on Hagel's nomination to be the new Secretary of Defense.  The two faced off on Hagel's comments about either the surge in Iraq (McCain's take) or the entire Iraqi war (Hagel's take) being the "most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."

The nearly-10-minute exchange was tense, and McCain assumed the role of hard-driving cross-examiner, interrupting and pouncing when Hagel paused.  Hagel eventually tried to explain himself more fully, after initially seeming to be caught flat-footed by the aggressiveness.



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READ: Sheriff Arpaio Fundraising E-Mail: "Thugs", "Clowns" Who Don't "Pledge Allegiance To Our Flag"; FACT CHECK

It took Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio less than 48 hours after Arizona's Politics asked for a response to a possible recall effort - and less than 24 after that effort was announced - to make his first hard-nosed e-mail fundraising appeal to his extensive national list of supporters.  In it, he calls the recall organizers "radical extremist forces", "sore losers", a "small band of thugs", and "clowns" who probably have not "pledged allegiance to our flag" as often as he has taken his Constitutional oath.

You can read the entire Arpaio e-mail below the jump.

Arpaio also claims as fact that the recall group has "raised over $1.3 million to defeat me!", although that number comes only from a guess by a petition circulator who was not retained to gather signatures.  Although that is a decent guess of the amount that will be spent on signatures, there is also no indication that the organizers have already raised that.  The Sheriff gets a "D" for likely intentional misleading information.

As noted earlier, Arpaio raised more than $8.5 Million for his last campaign, spent some $8.2 Million of it, and currently has $338,600.07 in the bank.

Arizona's Politics has asked Arpaio Campaign Manager Chad Willems for clarifications on some of the points in the fundraiser, as well as how much money the Sheriff plans to raise to battle the recall.

The Arpaio e-mail is below.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WATCH: Capt. Mark Kelly's Opening Statement To Senate Judiciary Committee

Retired Navy Captain Mark Kelly spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee about taking actions to reduce gun violence, minutes after helping his wife, retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), deliver her statement to the Committee.

Kelly emphasized that he and Gabby would not consider giving up the guns that they own, but that they support reasonable measures to reduce gun violence.



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WATCH: Gabrielle Giffords Arriving, Exhorting, Leaving; "Be Bold! Be Courageous!

Retired Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) exhorted the Senate Judiciary Committee - and the rest of her former Congressional colleagues - to take action on items to reduce gun violence.

She spoke for 90 seconds, and the clip below includes her entering the committee hearing room (with husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, and the Chair and Ranking Member of the committee - Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA)), and leaving the room (with staff).

Giffords told the Committee "It will be hard.  You must act!  Be bold! Be courageous!  Americans are counting on you!"


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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman 1st Major Candidate To Announce Run To Replace Brewer

Former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman (R) made it official today, he is the first major candidate to announce his candidacy to replace Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in next year's election.  Although he says that he filed the paperwork electronically last week, the Secretary of State's website shows today as the registration date for the "Elect Hugh Hallman Governor 2014" finance committee.
He's running!

His wife, Dr. Susan Hallman, is listed as the Chair of his campaign, and Julie Lind is the Treasurer.

Two others have filed paperwork for Governor, Libertarian-turned-Democrat Ron Cavanaugh and Independent Diana Elizabeth Ramseys-Rasmussen-Kennedy IV.

Arizona Capitol Times was first to report Hallman's candidacy earlier tonight.


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WATCH: Arizona Rep. Trent Franks Speech Marking 40 Years Of Roe V. Wade

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD ) last week delivered his annual speech urging the overthrow of the 1973 Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, protecting a woman's right to an abortion within limits.  As he noted near the end of the 12 minute speech after the House's regular business, he hoped that someone new would hear him and "face the very inconvenient truth".




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WATCH: Arizona Sen. Flake On PBS' Newshour Re: Immigration Reform; "We Have The Planets Aligned To Move Ahead"

New Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) may not have participated in the Gang of Eight's news conference yesterday, but he was interviewed later in the day by PBS' Newshour's Gwen Ifill on the comprehensive immigration reform proposal.  He believes "we have the planets aligned to move ahead", partly because "the election had a way of focusing our attention on the issue."

His interview starts at the 7:50 mark below:





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WATCH: Sheriff Joe Arpaio On CNN Decrying Senators' New "Amnesty" Plan

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was interviewed on CNN (by Suzanne Malveaux) this morning about the bipartisan Senate proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.  Arpaio called it "amnesty", and emphasized the unfairness to Latinos here legally.

The 6 1/2 minute Arpaio interview begins at the 4:00 mark:


Arizona's Politics is reporting that it appears that a recall effort is about to begin against Sheriff Arpaio.


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WATCH: Governor Brewer With CNN's Piers Morgan On Guns (Natch), Immigration Reform


Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) led of CNN's Piers Morgan's program tonight.  He asked her about efforts at immigration reform and to quell gun violence.  Brewer emphasized the need to address mental health issues.


Morgan asked Brewer for her personal feelings about the video of the Connecticut father who was talking about losing his son in the Newtown massacre and his question about why anyone would need the assault weapons or extended capacity magazines.  Brewer noted that it always hurts to lose a child, whether it is by guns, by knives, by swimming pools.  She again emphasized the need to address mental health issues.



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WATCH: Additional Signs Of New RECALL ARPAIO Effort; Sheriff Files For Reelection In 2016

An additional sign that Citizens for a Better Arizona is ready to launch a recall effort against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio just popped up on YouTube this evening.

Arizona's Politics has been gathering the signs that a new and serious campaign against the nationally-known sheriff is ready to start this week.  The initial report was based upon a tweet by a petition-gathering firm, and was then buttressed by conversations with persons who wished to remain anonymous that CBA had filed a new organization statement with the County, a final organizational meeting was taking place tonight and that a petition-gatherer was ready to mobilize.

CBA President Randy Parraz spoke earlier this month at an event at a Washington, D.C. law school event, "The People's Inauguration", in which he urged progressive Democrats to keep their eyes on Arizona in coming weeks for some news regarding Arpaio.

"We pledge to you, in Arizona, we're going to keep up this fight, and I wouldn't be surprised in a few weeks, you might hear about something going on in Arizona.  Another fight.  Because we are not done.  We are going to keep fighting forward."


Meanwhile, Sheriff Arpaio last week formally filed his organizational statement to seek re-election in 2016.  He had promised to do so on Election Night (Nov. 6, 2012) - when it was apparent that he would be re-elected to his sixth term.  As noted earlier, Arpaio still has $338,600 cash on hand left over from his last campaign - he raised $8.5 Million and spent $8.2 Million.

***

Arizona's Politics was asked about Arizona law, and doesn't it require a six-month waiting period before a recall effort can begin.  We checked the statutes (A.R.S. 19-202), and it actually is six months after the person is elected to the office.  The statute specifically notes that it does not apply when the person is re-elected to the same office.



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FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Democratic Governors Association Goes After Jan Brewer, Even Though She (Likely) Can't Run Again; Battle Of Online Petitions Rages On

The national powerhouse Democratic Governors Association has begun an online advertising campaign against (likely) lame duck Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

The DGA is asking people to tell the Governor to "Stop the assault on Arizona's middle class."  However, click on the button to "sign the petition", and the message is that she is "focusing on partisan attacks and defunding Planned Parenthood."


Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne (and many state lawmakers) are, in fact, continuing their court fight to defund Planned Parenthood.  After October's U.S. District Court ruling granting an injunction against a law that would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursement for any services provided to AHCCCS patients, Brewer and Horne filed an appeal with 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  That appeal will be fully briefed next month and argued subsequently; meanwhile, the case continues at the District Court level.

***
And, as Arizona Capitol Times notes, Governor Brewer is using her quasi-official Facebook page to pitch her own SuperPAC's petition to encourage the federal government to secure the border.  Online petition battles - for all that they are worth - continue to run rampant.


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Signs Pointing Toward Recall Arpaio Effort Beginning This Week

UPDATE, 4:55PM:  Arpaio Campaign Manager Chad Willems has "no comment at this time" on the possible recall effort.  Arpaio has only $338,600.07 cash on hand following November's election; he spent more than $8.2 MILLION on the campaign - but raised $8.5 Million.

After reporting on the unsourced tweet about a possible recall effort against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio beginning this week, Arizona's Politics has gathered a few additional signs pointing towards the effort.

Citizens For a Better Arizona, an organization that has been outspoken against the sheriff and that successfully led the recall against Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, filed a new organization statement with the County Elections Department in September 2012.  Also, according to anonymous sources, the organization has been considering an effort against Arpaio this year and is holding a special meeting tonight.

Additionally, a different source indicates that a petition circulating firm is prepared to begin collecting signatures for a major recall effort.
***
Here is video from 11 months ago, when Randy Parraz/CBA was attempting to convince Arpaio to resign.  Arpaio declined, and instead won a sixth four-year term last November, in a close three candidate race.











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BREAKING NEWS: New Effort To Recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio About To Begin?

The following Tweet just hit the internet, noting that a new effort to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is about to begin.

Arizona's Politics spoke with Andrew Chavez, the owner of Petition Partners.  He indicated that his firm is not handling the paid petition circulating portion of the recall effort, but that he is confident that the petition is to be filed this week.  He determined the dollar amount by doing some calculations on what circulators would need to be paid per signature and the expected compensation for the circulating company (which he identified).  Chavez says that he does not know who has committed that amount of money.

Arizona's Politics is attempting to reach those who may be involved in the possible recall effort.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

WATCH: Drones! McCain Elaborates On The Border Security Successor To Blimp, On Fox News

One hour after the press conference with four of the other Senators involved in the new immigration reform proposal, Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) went on Fox News to elaborate on the portion of the package that they say needs to be in place before the "tough but fair path to citizenship" can be implemented: border security.  McCain repeatedly raised the need for more drones along the border.

'Secure the border first' has been the mantra repeated by many opponents to comprehensive immigration reform since the last major effort in 2007.  The skeleton for the new proposal makes that a condition precedent and one of the four basic pillars:

"Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required."

The only details the Senators gave in the document about their plans for securing the border were:

"To fulfill the basic governmental function of securing our borders, we will continue the increased efforts of the Border Patrol by providing them with the latest technology, infrastructure, and personnel needed to prevent, detect, and apprehend every unauthorized entrant. Additionally, our legislation will increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance equipment, improve radio interoperability and increase the number of agents at and between ports of entry. The purpose is to substantially lower the number of successful illegal border crossings while continuing to facilitate commerce."

Fox News was firstly interested in this aspect of the plan, and McCain elaborated, repeatedly referencing the need for more drones along the border, and especially in the Tucson Sector.


McCain's references to drones immediately brought to mind the additional surveillance technology sent to southern Arizona in the wake of the previous immigration reform in the 1980's.  The drug blimp - Aerostat - flew for years over Fort Huachuca, and never received much credit for help in slowing down the flow of drugs or humans across the border.  The blimp has apparently been down for the past 18 months, since crashing into a nearby neighborhood in 2011.  (An incident residents still talk about while saying that many of the details of the wind-caused crash remain secret.)


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Arizona's Senators Vote Against Hurricane Sandy Relief Package, Split On Offsetting With Cuts

The U.S. Senate passed the House's version of a $50.5 Billion relief package in the wake of deadly Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, but Arizona's two Senators were in the minority to vote against it.  Nine Republicans joined all of the voting Democrats to overcome the filibuster-three-fifths majority threshhold, 62-36.

Before that final vote, however, the Senate considered an amendment to require that discretionary spending be cut to cover the disaster relief expenditures.  On that, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) joined 34 other Senators in voting "aye", while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) - along with 9 other Republicans - voted "nay".  The 35 votes were far short of the 60 needed to pass the amendment.

All four of Arizona's Republican Congresspeople had voted against the package, which now heads to the President's desk.

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FACT CHECK: Sheriff Joe ™ Claims Prez Obama ™ Calls VP Biden "Sheriff Joe"

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio tweeted on Friday that President Obama - not one of the Sheriff's favorite people - "keeps calling VP Biden Sheriff Joe".  Arpaio used that - and conservative webmaster Matt Drudge's reference - to re-proclaim that "there is only one Sheriff Joe and that's me."  Drudge aside, Arizona's Politics could find no evidence that Obama ever used the should-be-trademarked "Sheriff Joe" to refer to either Biden or Arpaio.

Arpaio may have to re-target his ire at Drudge and Biden alone.  Obama has called Biden "the Sheriff" from time-to-time, but has never stepped on the Arizona sheriff's spit-shineds.  The White House's website posts every word publicly uttered by the Commander in Chief, and this Google search shows no such mention.

Back in 2009, Obama did refer to his VP as "the Sheriff" ("To you, he's Mr. Vice President, but around the White House, we call him the Sheriff -- (laughter) -- because if you're misusing taxpayer money, you'll have to answer to him."), apparently carefully avoiding Arpaio's nic.

Biden's slip took place two years later, referring to Obama's declaration: "And he appointed me as “Sheriff Joe” to make sure the job gets done."

Drudge and others in the media have been much more eager to jump on the comparison.

But, Sheriff Arpaio's tweet is incorrect.  Obama has not called Joe Biden "Sheriff Joe".  Arpaio gets an "F" for "fact-free", but an "A" for "attempted humor."  (Hopefully, it was meant to be humorous.)


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Sheriff Joe™ (Arpaio) Not Happy With Deputy Biden's Promotion, Trademark Infringement

Maricopa County "Sheriff Joe" ™ Arpaio is not pleased with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.  Nor, conservative website leader Matt Drudge.  But, it has nothing to do with pending lawsuits or border security.  Arpaio believes that Obama and Drudge are calling Biden "Sheriff Joe", and he wants everyone to know that Arpaio is "the one and only Sheriff Joe".

His Friday Tweet (complete with spelling error) may have been tongue-in-cheek. Or, perhaps not.


If he has not already, it may be time for Maricopa County's 6th-term Sheriff to look into trademarking his moniker(s).  (Does Wilenchik do IP?)

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WATCH: Sen. Schumer Praises Sen. McCain, McCain Praises Late Sen. Kennedy; McCain Had To Get (Spanish) Word In Edgewise

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and four colleagues held a press release this afternoon to officially kick off their bipartisan immigration reform proposal.  After Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) heaped praise upon McCain (below), McCain turned it around and honored the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D), whom he had worked with on the issue in the past.






(click on below picture for video of entire press conference)



Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) each delivered extensive remarks in Spanish.  After Menendez' remarks, Rubio joked that McCain did not understand what the Democrat had just said about McCain.  Not to be outdone, McCain tried to close the conference in Spanish, talking about the urgency of getting this done this time: "In other words, in Spanish, VAMANOS!

Arizona's other Senator, Jeff Fllake (R-AZ) is part of the group of 8 Senators.  However, he (and two others) were not part of the news conference.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

WATCH: McCain's High Praise For Kerry's Nomination

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) joined current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the witness table this morning to "introduce" their friend and colleague John Kerry (D-MA) as the new Secretary of State nominee, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - that Kerry chairs and McCain is ranking member of.

McCain gave unconditional support and high praise to his fellow Vietnam vet:




(Arizona's Politics will post further clips of the hearing separately.)

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

WATCH: Rep. Sinema On Hiring DREAM ACTivist

Channel 12's Brahm Resnik got Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) on camera yesterday to ask her about the hiring of prominent DREAM Act activist Erika Andiola as District Outreach Director.

Sinema confirmed that Andiola is in the U.S. legally - under the President's Executive Order, and that she will be reaching out to constituents and constituencies across the district.  Also, as Arizona's Politics was the first to report yesterday, Sinema noted that she hired Andiola BEFORE ICE agents raided her home and temporarily arrested (and, planned to deport) Andiola's mother and brother; Resnik had asked her if it was "a political hire" to seize on the publicity of the raid.




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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Giffords (and Biden and Bloomberg) On Cover Of Time Magazine As "Gunfighters"

Time Magazine's next issue will feature retired Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (and Vice President Joe Biden and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg) on its cover, as "The Gunfighters".  Here is the image and synopsis up on their website:

(h/t to Tucson Sentinel)

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Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon's Staff's Strong Family Ties To State Legislature; Lone Duck On Staff Saddened Today

Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon (R-CD5) announced his Congressional staff this week, with strong family ties to the current Arizona Legislature.  His Director of Constituent Services is Sherry Pierce, mother of State Rep. Justin Pierce (R-LD25), and his Staff Assistant is Janell Biggs, daughter of State Senate President Andy Biggs (R-LD12).

Both legislators endorsed Salmon in his successful bid to return to Congress. Of course, Salmon and his previously-announced District Director, Chuck Gray, also both served previously in the Arizona State Senate.

Entertainingly, the news release announcing the staff noted basic biographical information for everyone.  Only one contained a personal note about the individual's fandom for his or her alma mater.  Deputy Staff Director Lorissa Bounds is "an avid (Oregon) Ducks fan."

Communications Director Kristine Michalson tells Arizona's Politics today that the Wildcats and Sun Devils affinities of many of the staffers was a given, and "our lonely Ducks fan wanted to show some pluck."  Michalson added that Bounds "is saddened" today, by the news that Oregon's head football Duck, Chip Kelly, surprised many by becoming the head Eagle (NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, that is).



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Arizona Rep. Kirkpatrick Misses Hurricane Sandy Relief Votes Due To Personal Obligation, Also Met With Veterans; Will Unfairly Mark Her As One Of "Most Absent"

In reviewing the Arizona Congressional delegation votes on the Hurricane Sandy relief package earlier today, Arizona's Politics noted that Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick had been absent.  We have now learned that Kirkpatrick had a "personal obligation" that kept her in Arizona, and that she had notified House colleagues "well in advance" of the conflict.  While in Flagstaff, she was also able to hold "several constituent meetings", including one with veterans at the American Legion lodge.

The votes on several of the proposed amendments to the $50.7B Hurricane Sandy relief package were very close, but none turned on just one vote.

Kirkpatrick was named as the Democrats' ranking member on the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee On Oversight and Investigations.

The 16 missed votes on Monday and Tuesday will look bad on those absenteeism figures that periodically receive attention, as she currently has a 30.4% voting record for the month.  However, as Arizona's Politics noted last session when Republican Ben Quayle missed a series of amendment votes, that can often be a misleading ranking.


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Arizona Rep. Sinema Hires Prominent DREAM ACTivist

New Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) has hired prominent DREAM Act activist Erika Andiola as her new District Outreach Director.  Andiola's home was raided by ICE earlier last week, and her mother and brother were taken into custody for deportation, then released.  Talking Points Memo was first to report the newsworthy hire.


Sinema spokesperson Justin Unga indicates that Andiola was hired earlier the same day (Thursday) as the home raid, and that today was Andiola's first day on the job.

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WATCH: Rep. Barber On Gabby Giffords' Personal Lobbying, His Proposal To Improve Mental Health Services

Arizona Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) has introduced his Mental Health First Aid Act in Congress yesterday (H.R. 274), and he spoke with ABC News/Yahoo about how improving mental health services needs to be part of the response to shooting sprees such as the ones at a Connecticut school last month and the one that injured both him and his former boss, Gabrielle Giffords, two years ago.

Barber also noted that Giffords (and her husband, ret. Capt. Mark Kelly) would be involved in personal lobbying in Congress on pending gun-related legislation.

The video is not (yet) embeddable, but here is a link to the five minute interview.



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National Republicans Aiming To Knock Off Arizona Reps. Kirkpatrick (Again) and Barber

The National Journal published a report based on a memo it obtained from the National Republican Congressional Committee (:NRCC") including Arizona Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) and Ron Barber (D-CD2) among seven "vulnerable" House seats it plans to win in 2014.

Neither are much of a surprise, as they both went into overtime vote counting in November, and both represent swing districts.  Interestingly, the NRCC is not including new Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) in their initial target list.

The article features a picture of Kirkpatrick, who the Republicans (Paul Gosar) knocked off once before (2010).  Although, after re-districting, Gosar decided to avoid a re-match with Kirkpatrick and now represents CD4.


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READ: Rep. Gosar Takes Guns/Outlaws Bumper Sticker One Step Further In Protesting "Obama's Unconstitutional Gun Grab"

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) was first out of the box to issue a response to President Obama's news conference this morning on measures to prevent future gun violence, and he took the well-known bumper sticker "If Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns" one step further in decrying "President Obama's Unconstitutional Gun Grab".

Gosar's statement says that "when you limit an individual’s ability to lawfully purchase or carry firearms you are allowing only those with the intent to break the law to have weapons.” 

His entire statement is reproduced below the jump.


NO FLUKE: Arizona GOP Delegation Again Votes As Block Against Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill; Delegation's Amendments Not Voted On

Arizona's four Republican Congresspeople all voted against the second Hurricane Sandy relief package last night, proving that their January 4 block vote against the first installment was no fluke.

However, unlike two weeks ago, the Arizona GOP delegation was not in a minority of their party members last night - only 49 Republicans joined almost all of the Democrats in passing the measure, 241-180.  179 Republicans voted against the $50.7 Billion bill.

Two of Arizona's Republicans issued statements about their votes last night.  Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6) said“Sadly, as happens so often in Washington, the debate surrounding Sandy disaster relief funding was misleading at best and rhetorically false at worst.
“This $50.7 billion bill was packed with pork and pet projects unrelated to disaster spending without the foresight necessary to determine how we could begin to pay for this new spending.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) echoed the pork line: "“I strongly support rebuilding our communities after natural disasters, and I am more than willing to support the people and businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy, but that would not take over $50 billion taxpayer dollars. I refuse to vote for a bill stuffed with pork but sold as aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. We owe it to the taxpayers.”  

Both Gosar and Schweikert had proposed amendments to the relief bill; neither made it through the Rules Committee and got to the floor.  Gosar had pitched a Rand Paul proposal to lift Davis-Bacon Act restrictions on the relief spending, and Schweikert offered an amendment to have the Treasury Department look into issuing longgggg-term (70-99 years) bonds to finance the relief spending.

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WATCH, READ: Obama's Reaction To Initial NRA Proposal That NRA Now Finds "Hypocritical"

The NRA is portraying President Obama as an "elitist hypocrite" because daughters Sasha and Malia go to a school that has armed guards and he is "skeptical" about putting guards in all schools.  The National Rifle Association is pushing an ad (below), and a spokesman defended it to NBC this morning.

But, did the President really oppose the NRA's big idea in reaction to last month's elementary school murder spree?  He spoke with Meet the Press' David Gregory last month, and he explicitly did NOT oppose the NRA's measure or even express skepticism about the idea itself.  The question begins at 16:10:
Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Here is the transcript of his full answer to Gregory about the NRA's idea:
"GREGORY: Do we have an armed guard...PRESIDENT OBAMA: But...
GREGORY: ...at every school in the country? That's what the NRA believes. They told me last week that could work.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I am not going to prejudge the recommendations that are given to me. I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools. And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem. And, look, here's-- here's the bottom line. We're not going to get this done unless the American people decide it's important.
And so this is not going to be simply a matter of me spending political capital. One of the things that you learn, having now been in this office for four years, is the old adage of Abraham Lincoln's. That with public opinion there's nothing you can't do and without public opinion there's very little you can get done in this town. So I'm going to be putting forward a package and I'm going to be putting my full weight behind it. And I'm going to be making an argument to the American people about why this is important and why we have to do everything we can to make sure that something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary does not happen again."  (emphasis added)
Was Obama being hypocritical in any way?  Or, is it the NRA that is being hypocritical today, twisting the President's comment when they were not pleased with the initial reaction to their "school shield" proposal.




But ultimately the way this is going to happen is because the American people say, “That's right. We are willing to make different choices for the country and we support those in Congress who are willing to take those actions.” And will there be resistance? Absolutely there will be resistance.
And the question then becomes, you know, whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away. It certainly won't feel like that to me. This is something that, you know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it's not something that I want to see repeated.


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Monday, January 14, 2013

Arizona Rep. Schweikert Wants Government To Look At Issuing 70-99 Year Bonds

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6) has an amendment today to the Hurricane Sandy relief package, requiring the federal government to look into and possibly issue 70-99 year bonds.  The amendment will be considered this afternoon in front of the House Rules Committee.

Schweikert, who has been trying to slow the pace of borrowing by the federal government, is putting forth this proposal as an additional method for the Treasury to borrow.  His amendment requires the Treasury Secretary to spend three months or less investigating whether there is "market interest" in the long-term bonds.  If so, the government would then have to start issuing them within six months (of the law taking effect).

Arizona's Politics has asked for more details from the Congressman on his proposed amendment, and will update as necessary.  The text of the proposed amendment is listed below the jump.

UPDATE: Arizona Rep. Gosar Picks Up Sen. Paul's Anti-Davis Bacon Amendment; Gosar Also Picks Up Paul Spokesperson

(UPDATE: 3:30PM: Here is how Rep. Gosar described his amendment moments ago, on his Facebook page:  "I’m about to introduce an amendment that will make sure recovery dollars go towards recovery investments, and not inflated and wasteful wages.")


Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) will fight today for his proposed amendment suspending the Davis-Bacon Act - which requires government contractors to pay workers local prevailing wages - during relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy.

On Friday, Arizona's Politics relayed that The Hill was reporting that Gosar had filed the amendment, and updated the story with a response from Gosar's spokesperson that the Congressman was "looking into" the amendment.

Turns out that the Gosar amendment was filed on Friday, and that it will be considered this afternoon at a House Rules Committee hearing (3:00pm, Arizona Time).  The amendment is one sentence that would ensure that none of the disaster relief monies authorized by the bill would be permitted to "administer or enforce" the Davis-Bacon Act:


"None of the funds made available by this
Act may be used to administer or enforce the wage-rate
requirements of subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40,
United States Code (commonly known as the ‘‘Davis-
Bacon Act’’), with respect to any project or program funded by this Act."
Not yet apparent is how that sentence is more than symbolic.  The Department of Labor is the agency which enforces the Act - originally pushed and passed by the two Republicans for whom the Act is named - and would not be impacted by this funding bill.

The last time that the Davis-Bacon Act was suspended was in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  In that instance, Arizona Rep. (now Sen.) Jeff Flake was one member of Congress who took the lead.  However, it took the form of writing to President George W. Bush and urging him to "make a  Presidential proclamation to suspend Davis-Bacon."  That is what Bush did.

Gosar's amendment is identical to the one put forward by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) last month when the Senate initially passed a Hurricane Sandy relief bill.  Paul spoke for his amendment, saying that it would allow Congress to be "frugal" by permitting "competitive bidding on wages."  Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) spoke against it, "The foundation for communities is good jobs with fair wages."

Paul's amendment was rejected on Dec. 28 by a 42-52 vote, with five Republicans joining the Democrats in knocking it down.  (Arizona Senators Kyl and McCain voted for it.)

***

Interestingly, this is Gosar's 2nd pickup from the Kentucky Senator within the past several days.  Starting today, Sen. Paul's deputy press secretary Orlando Watson takes over as Rep. Paul's (Gosar's) spokesperson (as Apryl Marie Fogel goes on an extended leave).






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Sunday, January 13, 2013

WATCH: Sen. McCain Moves To Saddle Obama With Iraq, Afghanistan Outcomes

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today made a stronger case than ever that President Barack Obama will receive all responsibility for any future problems in either Iraq or Afghanistan.  Or, Pakistan or anywhere else, for that matter.

McCain was the first guest on CBS' Face the Nation program, and he noted that the President's most recent decision to accelerate the reduction of combat troops in Afghanistan is "one of a series of decisions the president has made basically overruling his military advisers. So whether it be in Iraq, which is now unraveling very significantly, or whether it be the decisions about a surge and how many and how soon they leave. There's a series of decisions, all of which the president and the vice president have overruled our military leaders and their advice and counsel, which is the president's right to do. But each time I believe that it has ensured the risk of failure."

The full transcript of McCain's 8 1/2 minute interview is below the jump.


Here is the President's weekly address on his agreement with Afghanistan's President Karzai:



Friday, January 11, 2013

Rep. Gosar Voted "Nay" On Hurricane Sandy Aid Package, Now Proposes Suspension Of Davis-Bacon To Reduce Costs

(UPDATE, 1/12/13 10:45AM: updating to reflect spokesperson's response that Rep. Gosar is "looking into" proposing an amendment)

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) voted against the first Hurricane Sandy relief package last week (as did Arizona's other three GOP Congressmen, although AZ's two GOP Senators voted for it), and in advance of next week's second relief package, he is "looking into" proposing language to suspend the federal Davis-Bacon Act requiring the government's contractors to pay their employees a prevailing wage.

The Hill reported this afternoon that Gosar "has proposed language suspending the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements from all spending associated with the main bill and the Frelinghuysen amendment.  However, the Representative's spokesperson, Apryl Marie Fogel, tells Arizona's Politics that Gosar is "looking into" such an amendment.



The last time the 1931 law was suspended was by President George W. Bush in the aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina.  Democrats complained that it was designed to permit contractors to import immigrant workers who would work for less than the prevailing wage.  However, the law is also criticized by some as being obsolete.

Arizona's Politics has requested a statement from Rep. Gosar on his amendment, and will update this post as warranted.  (It may be complicated by jet lag - Gosar is just returning from his trip to the Mideast.
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS THIS ARIZONA OFFICEHOLDER, PART 2: Rep. Gosar Turns Up In Mideast, Inspecting EmbassiesC

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) swore in for his 2nd Congressional term last week, then took off for the Mideast with six GOP colleagues to inspect U.S. embassies and consulates.

The seven members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (Democrats need not apply) are checking the security situation in the wake of the attack in Benghazi which left four Americans - including Ambassador Chris Stevens - dead in September.

The Congresspeople - led by Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) - have visited Jerusalem, Tel Aviv in Israel, and facilities in Turkey and Lebanon.  Three more unspecified stops were planned before heading back to Washington.  The House reconvenes on Monday.

The other committee members are Reps. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Raul Labrador (R-ID), John Mica (R-FL) and Tim Walberg (R-MI).

Gosar and his office has maintained radio silence since he left the country.  The Tennessean was the first to report the Committee trip, yesterday.  Seven of the 22 Republicans on the Committee are on the trip.

It was one month ago that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) received a lot of national attention for her unannounced overseas trip, to Afghanistan.

Arizona's Politics has contacted the Congressman's office to inquire about his observations to date.


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Sunday, January 6, 2013

WATCH: Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon Agrees GOP Should Be Prepared To Shut Government Down

Arizona had two representatives on Sunday news show "Face the Nation" today, new Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-CD5).  Salmon was the only one of the Republicans on the program to endorse Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) op-ed piece that the GOP should be willing to let the government shut down if they cannot get enough spending cuts.





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Friday, January 4, 2013

DOUBLE UP: Arizona Sen. Flake, Rep. Salmon Both "Face The Nation"

CBS' "Face the Nation" this Sunday will feature not just one Arizonan, but two.  Newly-elected Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) will appear with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy (CT), and newly-returned Rep. Matt Salmon (R-CD5) will then be on with three other House members, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA).




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Arizona Rep. Gosar Cautiously Praises Obama Administration For New Plan For Navajo Generating Station

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) cautiously praised the Obama Administration's new Joint Agency Statement regarding the Navajo Generating Station.

Because it is a large coal-fired power plant that emits large amounts of nitrogen dioxide gas that is partly responsible for visibility issues at the Grand Canyon and other parks in the West.  The three agencies that issued the statement today are the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy.

Gosar issued a statement explaining that the statement "seems to imply that the Obama Administration is abandoning a previous proposal that would have done little to improve haze while imposing catastrophic costs on the Arizona economy."

Here is the full Gosar statement, and the Administration's Joint Statement can be found at the above link.


Representative Gosar: Navajo Generating Station Working Group Is A Good Start
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar (R - AZ) released the following statement regarding the Obama Administration's formation of a Navajo Generating Station Working Group to develop recommendations on the important Northern Arizona power plant:  
"After years of mixed messages and uncertainty, today’s joint statement seems to imply that the Obama Administration is abandoning a previous proposal that would have done little to improve haze while imposing catastrophic costs on the Arizona economy.  While there are many unanswered questions pertaining to this working group, I hope it signals that the federal government will work with, and not continue to dictate to, Arizona and tribal stakeholders. 
Protecting the affordability and security of our state’s water and power supply has been one of my top    priorities in Congress.  Rest assured, I will continue to fight for Arizona’s interests and ensure the NGS does not become a victim of the Obama Administration's regulatory ‘war on the west.’"
The Navajo Generating Station and the associated coal mine directly employs over 1,000 northern Arizonans with more than 80 percent being Native American. The plant powers the Central Arizona Project, the country’s largest aqueduct system, which delivers more than 500 billion gallons of Colorado River water to cities, towns, industries, Native American communities, and irrigation districts that serve more than 80 percent of Arizona’s population.   Additionally, the plant is critical to the federal government’s ability to meet federal trust responsibilities under Arizona Indian water rights settlements.


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WATCH: Rep. Grijalva On Codifying DREAM Act and "Going Further"

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) was on cable network MSNBC earlier today discussing "gun safety" and codifying the DREAM Act and "going further".



Here is what the Congressman wrote on his Facebook page this afternoon:

"I did an interview earlier today on the prospects for immigration reform and gun safety legislation in the 113th Congress. We simply have to codify the DREAM Act and go further, because we're facing a moral cliff that this country can't afford to go over. At the same time, we can't keep letting 40 percent of gun sales go through without a background check. It's terrible public policy."



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Arizona House Republicans Vote As Block Against Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill

Arizona's four Republican House members joined a minority of GOP Representatives in voting against the emergency Hurricane Sandy relief bill today.  The $9.7B borrowing package passed 354-67.

Representatives Paul Gosar, Matt Salmon, Davd Schweikert, and Trent Franks all cast their votes against the bill.  The overall GOP count was 161-67 (4 no votes). No Democrats voted against it.  (Arizona's five Democratic Representatives included.)

The bill (short text here) permits FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to borrow $9.7 Billion to help pay claims related to the October hurricane/superstorm. The Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent, and it is headed to the Presdient's desk for signature.  A second bill is expected to be voted upon on January 15.


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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema Getting Lots Of National Attention

The new/old Arizona members of the House of Representatives are about to get sworn in.  And, though returning Reps. Matt Salmon (R-CD5) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) - two of only eight people to be making a return to the House this year - are getting their share of attention from the media, so is freshman Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9).

I heard Sinema on NPR's Talk of the Nation program yesterday, along with another incoming Democrat and Republican.  She often stood out during that 17-minute panel discussion, with direct and humorous answers.  (Audio below, interview begins at approximately the 13-minute mark.)


Yesterday, she also received the full-length profile treatment from the Washington Post.

It could be an interesting session for Arizona politics watchers.


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WATCH: Rep. Flake's House Farewell Speech, Says Congress At Its Best Is Often Late At Night

Arizona Rep.-today-becoming-Senator Jeff Flake (R-CD6) delivered his House farewell speech on December 20, 2012.  (Arizona's Politics blames the holidays for not having found and posted this sooner.)

He lamented that more people do not see the genuine moments of debate and persuasion, noting that those moments "frequently happen(s) late at night when members are less concerned about whether folks are watching at home; I wish more people would tune in during such non-scripted discussions. It represents Congress at its best."

Flake also noted that he - like many in the House - used to refer to the Senate Chamber as "enemy territory", and that he will now have to repent for that. "But, at least my penance will be practiced during a six-year term," he joked to an audience of a few House members serving two-year terms.



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