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Inside the Beltway: The bipartisan side of the March for Life
Question of the Day
Lawmakers are not ignoring the March for Life, scheduled at high noon Wednesday on the National Mall, and currently the largest pro-life demonstration on the planet, according to organizers.
"In a rare feat for the nation's capital, representatives from both sides of the aisle will come together," the organizers say, pointing out that keynote speakers include House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Dan Lipinski, Illinois Democrat. Also speaking, though the House is in recess this week: Republican Reps. Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey and Vicky Hartzler of Missouri.
"Support for life pervades American society, regardless of party affiliation. These representatives have all courageously defended life during their time in office, and we could not be more thankful for that," says Jeanne Monahan, president of March for Life, established four decades ago by the late Nellie Gray following the Roe Vs. Wade decision.
Members of the Republican National Committee — who will be attending their annual winter meeting in a nearby hotel — have also made time to march, along with Rick Santorum and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. It is clear that the group draws interest from pro-life evangelicals as well as Catholics, and has a surprisingly strong following among high school and college students.
Despite such dynamics, the very well-attended march, which typically draws from 300,000-650,000 people, inspires little mainstream media interest. Even on its 40th anniversary last year, the event garnered a total of 15 seconds of coverage from NBC, ABC and CBS, this according to a Media Research Center analysis.
ROGERS ON THE SNOWDEN WATCH
Did NSA leaker Edward Snowden act alone or have help in his act? A Michigan Republican suggests the possibilities.
"This was a thief, who we believe had some help — who stole information — the vast majority of which had nothing to do with privacy. Our Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have been incredibly harmed by the data he has taken with him, and we believe is now in the hands of nation states," Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told NBC News on Sunday.
"Some of the things he did were beyond his technical capabilities. That raises more questions. How he arranged travel before he left, how he was ready to go — he even had a go bag. I believe there's a reason he ended up in the hands and loving arms of an ... agent in Moscow. I don't think that's a coincidence," Mr. Rogers said.
NANNYING THE NEWS
Even a billionaire ex-mayor must do something to keep busy? Like teach, speak, create a new foundation, travel? That is not what former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has in mind, however. Now three weeks out of office, and he's already back at work at the Manhattan headquarters of Bloomberg News. Mr. Bloomberg showed up at every daily news meeting in recent days to have his say, and weigh in on the big stories; those meetings begin at 7:30 a.m., incidentally.
"Mr. Bloomberg's dive back into the news side of the organization has not only caught employees by surprise, but it has also worried some that the division's editorial independence could be called into question," points out New York Times media writer Nathaniel Popper.
"There's a discussion of the ethics of it," a current Bloomberg employee told the paper. "There's this feeling that no one is there to say no to him."
'REJOICING ABOUT THE GOOD'
"There are many who will mark the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King's day by lambasting America and the American people for not having done enough in the area of civil rights. The fact is, America is a decidedly changed and better place than the America that existed during the lifetime of Dr. King," says Bishop Council Nedd II, the presiding bishop of Episcopal Missionary Church, and a founding member of Project 21, a network of black conservatives.
"Dr. King once said: 'Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.' He would not be pandering to the lowest common denominator in American society. He would be pleading for us to show a Christ-like peace that passes human understanding," Bishop Nedd continues.
"Dr. King was a Bible-believing pastor who understood Scripture. He would be doing precisely as the Bible suggests and rejoicing about all the good that has been accomplished instead of sitting around and looking for something to complain about," he adds.
ADVICE FOR THE SECOND IN COMMAND
"Be yourself. And watch your mouth. I had trouble with that."
— Former first lady Barbara Bush's advice to future first ladies.
"Stand back and be quiet."
— Former first lady Laura Bush's advice to the future first gentleman, when there is one.
Both comments are from "First Ladies: Influence and Image," airing on C-SPAN on Monday, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
PORK BARREL POLICE IN ACTION
Among lawmakers seeking favors for their own home districts, there has to be the worst of the worst. So says Citizens Against Government Waste. The nonpartisan watchdog has revealed its nominees for "2013 Porker of the Year," who all happen to be Democrats. Here are the six nominees plus very abbreviated descriptions of their pork barrel-y activities:
Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon for sponsoring the Update Act of 2013, which would increase the federal gas tax from the current 18.4 cents per gallon to 33.4 cents per gallon. then there's Rep. Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia for contradicting the idea that both federal and state governments should spend only what they earn, this in an Oct. 17 statement. The watchdog group also nominates Reps. Donna Edwards of Maryland and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas for co-sponsoring the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, which would establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historic Park on the Moon.
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland made the list for refusing in a Feb. 12 statement that the U.S. has a spending problem. Rep. Steve Israel of New York also was cited for a Nov. 14 statement insisting the Obama administration had solved all of the Affordable Care Act's website problems.
Finally, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana was nominated for supporting a sugar program that could increase the price of candy, among other things. Pork barrel watchers can cast their ballots for "the most reprehensible porker" through Feb. 5 here: Cagw.org.
POLL DU JOUR
• 69 percent of Americans say their opinion of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not changed following "Bridge-gate"; 69 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats agree.
• 50 percent overall would vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in a presidential match up with Mr. Christie; 16 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats agree.
• 37 percent overall would vote for Mr. Christie; 78 percent of Republicans and 3 percent of Democrats agree.
• 47 percent say Mr. Christie comes across as a "strong leader"; 71 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.
• 27 percent say he is a "bully"; 11 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats agree.
• 16 percent of Republicans would chose Mr. Christie if the GOP presidential primary were today; 12 percent would chose Rep. Paul Ryan, 12 percent would pick Sen. Rand Paul.
• 8 percent would choose Jeb Bush, 7 percent Sen. Marco Rubio, 6 percent Gov. Rick Perry and 5 percent Sen. Ted Cruz.
Source: AN NBC/Marist National Poll of 1,200 U.S, adults conducted Jan. 12-14.
• Baffled questions, self-assured answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
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