Tales from the Trail

Valentine’s Day with the GOP

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by sending your special someone a pink e-card, covered in hearts, with a message from the president: “Hope you like this Valentine’s card, your grandchildren are paying for it.”

In the GOP version of My Funny Valentine and a way to raise some sweet cash, the Republican National Committee is poking some fun at the White House and its Democratic cohorts with GOPvalentine.com, and more than 30,000 of the snarky messages had been sent as of Friday morning.

The site boasts 18 card options, including “This card entitles you to one free hug ¬†full-body pat-down” with a photo of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and “Don’t censure this Valentine” with a photo of Rep. Charles Rangel, who was censured by the House of Representatives for ethics violations.

The media isn’t safe either. A card featuring Keith Olbermann, whose contract with MSNBC was terminated following a suspension for donating to Democratic candidates, reads “MSNBC just wants to be friends this Valentine’s Day.”

The one for incoming White House spokesman Jay Carney, a former Washington bureau chief for Time who left to become Vice President Joe Biden’s communications director, takes an even more pointed swing:

You can take it to the bank: Unbowed Maxine says she won’t cut a deal

She broke no rules, she has no regrets, and she won’t cut a deal with the U.S. House of Representatives ethics committee. That was the message a defiant Democratic lawmaker Maxine Waters had for the media on Friday.

The 10-term California representative brought her trademark feistiness to a lengthy news conference in the bowels of the U.S. Capitol. Her chief of staff Mikael Moore (who also happens to be her grandson) went through the ethics charges against her, and her defense against them in mind-numbing detail.

BLACKS/BERNANKE“I won’t go behind closed doors. I won’t cut a deal. I will continue to talk about the fact that I have not violated anything,” Waters declared at the news conference in the Capitol Visitors’ Center, which is below ground. She flayed the ethics committee for having not yet set a hearing in her case.

House investigators recommend reprimand for Rangel

USA-CONGRESS/RANGELSome of Representative Charles Rangel’s colleagues thought the New York Democrat merited a reprimand rather than a more serious punishment of censure or expulsion for alleged violations of ethics rules in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The recommendation we had was a reprimand,” Representative Gene Green, who led the two-year House ethics committee investigation into Rangel, told reporters on Friday.

The investigation by a subcommittee of four members of the House Ethics Committee has ended and Rangel, 80, has been charged with 13 counts of violating House rules.

House Democrats fret over Rangel case

rangelTwo top Democrats met with Rep. Charles Rangel on Monday, an aide said, while their colleagues fretted about whether his ethics woes will hurt them in the November election.

Rangel had separate meetings with Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, and Jim Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, the Democratic Party aide said.

The aide declined to elaborate on the talks, other than to confirm that Van Hollen shared with Rangel some of his “observations.” Many Democrats fear that if Rangel’s case goes to trial before a congressional panel in September it could become a “political circus” and undermine Democrats’ chances to retain control of the House.