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Inside the Beltway: Clooney to get Capitol Hill cameo
No red carpet, but there are sure to be gawkable moments and a few screams Wednesday morning when a celebrity with a cause celebre comes to call on the U.S. Senate. That would be George Clooney, who has the lead role in a hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, chaired by Sen. John F. Kerry. The script is based around the security and disposition of Sudan and South Sudan.
Mr. Clooney is representing the Satellite Sentinel Project, which he founded and bankrolled in 2012 with human rights activist John Prendergast after multiple trips to the troubled African region, most recently last week. Mr. Prendergast also will testify before the committee.
“We’re the anti-genocide paparazzi,” Mr. Clooney has said of his project, which uses satellite imagery to document “chilling warning signs” that things are amiss — evidence of mass graves, forced displacements, troops and artillery buildups. See their findings here: http://satsentinel.org.
The supporting cast? In his third appearance before the committee, Mr. Clooney shares the stage with Princeton Lyman, special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan at the State Department, Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Jonathan Temin, director of the Sudan Program at the United States Institute of Peace.
No leaks or comments, though. Mr. Clooney will answer only to Mr. Kerry and company, says his District-based spokesman Jonathan Hutson. Then it’s on to the National Press Club, where the actor will chat with PBS Newshour correspondent Judy Woodruff, while the regular paparazzi will clambor for more Clooney-centric content.
Uh-oh. Health care reform turned out to be the “doomsday vote” for Democrats that dealt party lawmakers a crippling backlash, according to research that gauged public perception and sentiment toward the massive legislation.
“The study suggests that a yes vote on health care reform led voters to perceive their member of Congress as more ideologically distant from themselves, even after considering the member’s overall voting record,” says Seth Masket, a political science professor at the University of Denver. “This vote appeared to have an even greater effect than the member’s overall ideology or party voting record in making them appear out of step with voter wishes.”
In all, 63 Democratic incumbents were defeated in 2010, handing Republicans their largest gain in the House since 1938.
“We further found that had it not been for health care reform, Democrats likely would have at least 25 additional House seats today, maintaining control of the chamber,” says Mr. Masket, who co-authored the study with researchers from Dartmouth College, the Public Policy Institute of California, George Washington University and North Carolina State University.
The findings were published in American Politics Research, an academic journal.
Timed to precede three days of highly anticipated Supreme Court consideration of health care reform, the Tea Party Patriots plan a sizable “Road to Repeal Rally” at high noon on March 24 in Upper Senate Park. The event showcases an enthusiastic Herman Cain; the former presidential hopeful plans his own anti-tax “Cain’s Revolution on the Hill” on April 15, incidentally.
Joining Mr. Cain: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Tom Price of Georgia, among others.
Americans for Prosperity plan a “Hands Off My Health Care Rally” the following day, also in Upper Senate Park, drawing such Republican luminaries as Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rand Paul of Kentucky, plus another former presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann.
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