Tales from the Trail

Massa: some tickling, nothing sexual, and it’s about healthcare vote

One day after resigning as a freshman congressman from Upstate New York, Eric Massa has found his 15 minutes of fame. USA-CONGRESS/MASSA

He landed on two major talk shows Tuesday — Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck and CNN’s Larry King — and they both wanted to know about allegations of sexual harrassment against male staffers.

Larry King asked him outright if he was gay. Massa, who is married, said it was an insult to every gay American that such a question was being asked in this day and age, and he refused to answer it.

Glenn Beck wanted Massa to name names in his allegations of a conspiracy to oust him from Congress. When the talk show host didn’t succeed in eliciting the answers he was seeking, he apologized to his audience for wasting their time with the interview.

The following are some highlights from the Massa interviews.

“Now they’re saying I groped a male staffer – yeah I did. Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe. Then four guys jumped on top of me,” Massa told Beck. “It was my 50th birthday. It was ‘kill the old guy.’ You can take anything out of context.”

White House responds to naked House Democrat’s satanic tale

OBAMA/

Eric Massa was a little-known freshmen House Democrat only a month ago. Now he’s a political media sensation and a darling of Talk Radio/TV commentators capable of provoking the White House on healthcare reform.

Why the metamorphosis? Massa abruptly resigned from Congress, revealed he had an angry run-in with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel while the two were naked in a congressional gym shower, and now claims he was pushed out of office by the White House to keep him from voting against healthcare reform.

Oh, and he’s come to the conclusion that Emanuel is a “son of the devil’s spawn.”

Democrat gets naked with Rahm Emanuel, labels him “son of devil’s spawn”

USA-OBAMA/

Eric Massa knows all about awkward. The House Democrat, who leaves Congress today over a sexual harassment complaint by a male staffer, says he’s been up-close, personal and naked with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel — all at the same time.

Emanuel, Massa has decided, is a blood relative of Satan.

“Rahm Emanuel is son of the devil’s spawn. He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive,” Massa says in a recording from his radio show posted to the RealClearPolitics Web site.

Massa’s close encounter with Emanuel occurred in the showers of a congressional gym about eight weeks after he entered Congress in January 2009.

Massa public resignation letter: scar tissue, ethics complaint, car rides

USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSICongressman Eric Massa (you would be forgiven for asking who?) posted on his web site one of the more “interesting” public resignation letters seen from a government official in some time.

The first-term Democrat from upstate New York starts by talking about a CAT scan that may or may not show scar tissue. In the next breath of his “open letter,” Massa mentions an ethics complaint in which a male staff member had felt “uncomfortable” due to statements made by the congressman.

Massa readily agrees that the ethics issue is “my fault and mine alone” because after 24 years in the Navy he did use language in his home and inner office that “might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable.” (Defies the imagination because we have it on good authority that there is no language that would make most Navy Chief Petty Officers uncomfortable).

Obama bests Republicans on healthcare reform in public confidence poll

USA/OBAMA

Barack Obama appears to be winning the popularity contest over healthcare reform that’s been playing out in public since his White House summit on Feb. 25.

A new Gallup poll suggests that 49 percent of Americans have confidence in Obama to make the right recommendations.

That’s not a majority. But it’s way higher than the 32 percent who think Republicans in Congress would do the right thing.
USA-HEALTHCARE/
The findings appear to contradict Republican claims that the public favors their decentralized, piecemeal approach over Obama’s comprehensive reform plan.

Prospects for healthcare up, insurance stocks down

obama

It may be a gamble, but at least one tell says that President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress may win the big bet they have made to push healthcare reform legislation over the finish line, despite public doubts and Republican opposition.

Just look at the healthcare provider stocks.  Health insurer shares were lower on Thursday in afternoon trading after the White House announced Obama would meet with several House Democrats in an apparent  bid to lock in votes.

“It looks like he’s really getting involved at the very micro level, and I think that probably shows the administration is really going to put everything on the line for this initiative,”  Morningstar analyst Matthew Coffina told Reuters correspondent  Lewis Krauskopf in New York.   ”They’re kind of going for broke at this point.”

Palin shops reality show as RNC fear campaign stalks Obama

USA-ELECTION/

Sarah Palin may be about to add another high-profile credential to her resume by taking TV viewers moose hunting in Alaska.

She can already boast about being a mayor, a governor, a vice presidential nominee, a bestselling author — she’s also writing a new book about American virtues and strengths — a TV political pundit and a Big Name campaigner for candidates in the 2010 congressional elections.

Now she wants to be a reality show TV star, too.

One of the most visible Republican figures on the White House wannabe stage, Palin is teaming up with TV producer Mark Burnett to shop a proposal for a reality show based on her family and their life in picturesque Alaska to at least three major broadcast networks.

Will presidential weight carry healthcare through?

President Barack Obama spoke. Republicans talked back.

USA HEALTHCARE/OBAMA SPEECHNo sign that anyone shifted positions after the president’s remarks today in the East Room at the White House with lots of white hospital coats in the audience.

In fact, it appears that the two sides — Obama and the Republicans — hardened their resolve, setting the stage for a political tug-of-war that’s only going to turn more fierce as the November elections near.

Obama wants it, Republicans oppose it. But it’s the congressional Democrats left trying to push through Congress an issue that has created discord within their own ranks. Democrats in the Senate differ from their colleagues in the House on what the legislation should look like — and not all Democrats support it.

Bunning pitches fit, Republican team uncertain how to play it

Senator Jim Bunning has put his foot down. And his own Republican teammates are trying hard not to call a foul.

The former professional baseball player who is retiring from his Kentucky seat this year has basically decided this is where he draws the line. BASEBALL/

If we were to mix sports metaphors, Bunning has become a football lineman – a one-man blocking machine of legislation to renew jobless benefits, highway construction and other programs that expired on Sunday night. His reasoning is that until there is a definite way to pay for the bill, he does not want to add to the debt.

Healthcare reconciliation: easier said than explained

The process intricacies that go into lawmaking can stump the hardiest of congressional watchers.

Now that Democrats may decide to use reconciliation to get healthcare legislation passed in Congress, everyone has been scrambling for the easiest possible explanation. OBAMA/

What we found were lots of words and several reports aimed at explaining the process that everyone’s talking about, but no one-line, easy-to-understand, explain-it-to-your-grandmother, definition.