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:

Republican, Democratic party chiefs see victory in battle for the House

In dueling appearances on the Sunday morning news shows, the heads of the Democratic and Republican parties made the same  prediction — After the Nov. 2 elections, our guys will control the House.

mike_sarahRepublican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says his party’s going into the final campaign stretch on a winning combination of momentum, excitement and energy.

“There is a vibration out here that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, Steele said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Washington Extra – housing gloomy

Gloomy housing data today with home builders’ optimism hitting almost a 1-1/2 year low in August, which along with other recent economic reports suggests the slowdown continued in the third quarter. More to come tomorrow when July housing starts are reported at 8:30 a.m. Even if starts edge up a bit, the number to watch is building permits which are an indication of things to come. OBAMA/

President Barack Obama went with familiar themes in Wisconsin where he visited a battery plant and a fundraiser as he began a three-day trip to five states. He took aim at Republicans, saying: “These are the same folks in Washington who made the political calculation that it was better to stand on the sidelines than work as a team to help the American worker.”

The Republican National Committee also had its say today, releasing a video to coincide with Obama’s trip that was a take-off on the dramatic job-quitting flight attendant saga. It showed Democrats in tight races sliding down an emergency chute to evacuate a plane with Obama on board.

Who doesn’t want to be seen with whom?

Congress is in recess and lawmakers are gearing up for midterm elections in November.

The Republican National Committee decided to liven up a slow mid-August Monday with a video taking aim at Democrats who might not want to stand too close to President Barack Obama and his sagging approval ratings. 

It was done as a take-off on the Steven Slater exit from his job as flight attendant — showing Democrats in hotly-contested races sliding down an emergency chute from a plane that has Obama on board.

RNC drops $1,946 at risque night club but says Steele wasn’t the big spender

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Politics and money can lead to some naughty things. Take RNC Chairman Michael Steele, for example. He was forced to deny a claim that he spent megabucks at a risque West Hollywood night club last month. The only trouble is that even if he didn’t, the Republican National Committee did.

Official documents show the RNC forked over $1,946 for meals at Voyeur, a high-end nightclub in West Hollywood where guests can enjoy drinks, cucumber tea sandwiches and live female performances that will “titillate the senses while still remaining classy and tasteful.”

RNC disclosure documents on file with the Federal Election Commission include the Voyeur expense in a monthly report that also shows the committee spending $9,099 at the Beverly Hills Hotel and $6,596 at the nearby Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire.

Does Obama’s healthcare victory point to future legislative strategy?

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When President Barack Obama signed healthcare reform into law today, was he also endorsing the preferred White House strategy for legislation to come?

After months of political wrangling and face-reddening rhetoric all around, Obama’s sweeping overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system became reality without a single Republican voting for it.

Democrats say that’s because the Republicans want to render Obama’s presidency a failure. They point to a recently published account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strategic game plan to deny Democrats any support on big legislation.

Palin shops reality show as RNC fear campaign stalks Obama

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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.

Blago says he’s “blacker than Barack Obama”

Believe it or not, Rod Blagojevich is African-American — and more so than President Barack Obama. At least, that’s what the former Illinois governor tells Esquire magazine in a new interview.
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“It’s such a cynical business, and most of the people in the business are full of (expletive deleted) and phonies, but I was real, man — and am real. This guy, he was catapulted in on hope and change, what we hope the guy is. What the (expletive deleted)? Everything he’s saying’s on the teleprompter,” Esquire quotes Blago as saying about the president, without the expletives deleted.

“I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up,” he explains.

Blago is, in fact, a white Democrat who gained prominence for introducing big male hair to the national political arena during a corruption probe that led to his indictment on charges of trying to sell Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. He denies the accusations.

Liberal Democrats after Baucus over public insurance option

Senator Max Baucus is taking a bashing from liberal Democrats for leaving public insurance out of the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare reform bill.

With the committee chaired by Baucus headed for a showdown on the issue Tuesday, a new ad taken out by the liberal wing of his own Democratic party notes he took millions in contributions from the health and insurance industries and asks: “Whose side are you on?”

Baucus is a target because he kept a public option out of his healthcare bill in order to try to fashion a measure that could win both Republican and Democratic support.