- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The news channel goes live in less than three weeks. That would be Al Jazeera America, already peopled with veterans hailing from CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, PBS and ABC. Now add C-SPAN to the list. Libby Casey, morning host and producer for C-SPAN’s much esteemed “Washington Journal,” has signed on as the incoming network’s official Washington correspondent — one of the nine new hires who will lead regional bureaus.

“I see this as an opportunity to be part of a strong news presence in the media landscape, emphasizing serious news and serious storytelling. On C-SPAN, we have a direct connection to the audience, a respect for the audience. I want to continue with that connection at Al Jazeera America,” Ms. Casey tells Inside the Beltway.

“That is the message the network gave to me. They want genuine storytelling, they want audience connection, they want newspeople delivering straightforward information. It’s in their code of ethics,” she adds.

Al Jazeera America also has — or will have — bureaus in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Tenn., New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Ms. Casey’s last day on C-SPAN is Wednesday.

RUBIO‘S WARNING

“I know every single one of the Senate members in the Republican Party is against Obamacare. This is our last chance and our last best chance to do something about this. When this thing starts to kick in and starts to take root, it is going to be very difficult to undo major portions of this, despite the damage that it is going to create,” a stern Sen. Marco Rubio told his peers during a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

“If we pass a budget in September that funds Obamacare, you did not do everything you could. You paid for this. You doubled down on it in ways that will have irreparable harm to our economy and to our country,” the Florida Republican declared.

He was flanked by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who nodded sagely in agreement.

“Let me tell you something, if we are not willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue, then what issue are we willing to draw a line in the sand on?” Mr. Rubio demanded. “If we’re not going to go to the limit on this issue, then what issue is there? Is there an issue that we are prepared to say that we will not move forward because of this? Is there an issue that we are willing to do everything we can and lay it all on the line? Is there such an issue? If it is not this one, which one is it? That’s the choice before us.”

CRUZ AND THE BRUISERS

This should be soundbites worthy. The Republican Study Committee will assemble a fierce “bicameral panel of conservatives” on Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. The topic: “They will discuss the Obama administration’s abuses of power and its refusal to enforce current laws on the books,” a spokesman says.

On stage: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, RSC chairman Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, plus Reps. Michael C. Burgess of Texas, Trent Franks of Arizona, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina.

A good time for all likely guaranteed.

CPAC NEVER SLEEPS

Was the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference the one hoopla for conservatives this year? Why no. The American Conservative Union plans a regional follow-up in Missouri for late September: CPAC St. Louis will be a day of “blockbuster speeches” says Al Cardenas, the organization’s indefatigable chairman.

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