Posts by Chris Moody

  • On the back of a Harley, John Walsh reflects on what could have been

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    Just a few days earlier, a New York Times report had laid out in excruciating detail how he had plagiarized a paper while a student at the Army War College. The details of the story called into question Walsh's integrity, judgment and in some eyes, his fitness for office. He didn't know it at the time, but within two weeks Walsh would give up his candidacy for the Montana Senate seat and, months later, see his degree revoked by the Army War College. The document that would ultimately lead to his political demise was a 14-page research paper he wrote to receive a master's degree from the War College in 2007. The paper, titled "The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy," borrowed heavily from work done by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a Harvard paper.

  • These congressmen went to Liberia a month before the first Ebola death in West Africa

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    The lawmakers, Republican Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Democrat David Cicilline of Rhode Island, were in West Africa as part of a weeklong “Peacekeeping Learning Trip” funded by the United Nations Foundation to show them the U.N. mission and the impact of foreign aid in the region.

    Trips like these, known as “codels” — D.C.-speak for a trip by a “congressional delegation” — have earned a bad rap after years of lawmakers using their privilege to enjoy lavish, lobbyist and taxpayer-sponsored trips around the world. But this trip was different, and the outbreak of Ebola that has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa since their journey nearly a year ago has put Kinzinger and Cicilline in a unique position to discuss how to respond to the disease.

    Kinzinger and Cicilline said the visit bolstered their support for U.S. foreign aid, which they said is crucial to fragile and recently war- and disease-torn nations like Liberia.

  • Meet Tim Griffin, the Evel Knievel of Congress

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    It’s a warm Sunday morning in August at a dirt track outside Little Rock, and Arkansas Republican Rep. Tim Griffin is about to strap on blue racing boots, a chest protector, gloves and a helmet for a day of decompressing on the motocross track.

    With his yellow bike and gear in place, the congressman zooms toward the track alone, leaving a cloud of dust behind him. His bike screams around a curve and he revs his engine before an oncoming dirt ramp sails him into the air. He sticks the landing and continues back around for another go.

    In his final months as a House member, Griffin, who is running for Arkansas lieutenant governor instead of seeking another term in Congress, has plenty to think about, but at this moment, avoiding a face plant into the dirt is his first priority.

    “You’re not thinking about anything out there except making sure you’re staying on the motorcycle,” he says. “It’s a good release, just like a long run. It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s always been something that helps clear your mind.”

    But for now, Griffin’s right where he wants to be: suspended in the sky on a Suzuki RM250 over a field of golden Arkansas dirt.

    Video produced by Adam Sechrist.

  • 2016: When Republican presidential candidates will finally take drug policy reform seriously

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    Shortly after Mitt Romney clinched the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, he traveled to Colorado, where a reporter in Denver asked for his thoughts on medical marijuana. The conversation did not go well.

    Romney scowled and cut reporter Shaun Boyd off midsentence.

    “Aren’t there significant issues that you’d like to talk about?” he protested, looking uncomfortable as Boyd continued her questioning.

    “This is significant in Colorado,” she replied. Indeed, it was. Six months later, on the same night that Romney lost his bid for the White House against President Barack Obama, Colorado voters would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Washington state did the same, making them the first states in the nation to take such action.

    That’s created an opening for a serious conversation about drug policy to be part of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

    For Christie, who has said repeatedly that he’s mulling a presidential run, the issue of addressing addiction is something he wants to see championed on the federal level.

  • New ‘Republicans are people, too’ ad campaign repeats slogan GOP used after Watergate scandal

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    The project is the brainchild of Vinny Minchillo, a Mitt Romney presidential campaign veteran who helped produce ads for the White House candidate in 2012. The positive, feel-good campaign, Minchillo said, is meant to “let people know that it’s OK to be a Republican,” in a world in which he feels it has become “socially acceptable to say bad things about Republicans.”

    That slogan, however, might sound familiar to some of the party’s greybeards. In 1974, when the heavily damaged GOP brand was reeling from the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon, the Republican National Committee launched its own “Republicans Are People Too” initiative in an attempt to recast the party before a skeptical public.

    Here’s how Craig Shirley, a longtime political consultant and Ronald Reagan biographer, put it in his book Reagan's Revolution:

    And here’s one of the buttons:

    "It was the wail of pathetic losers," Shirley told Yahoo News.

    The echo is a pure coincidence, Minchillo said when contacted by Yahoo News, adding that he had no idea about the 40-year-old campaign with the same tagline.

  • Conservative meeting will give GOP presidential hopefuls a chance to assert foreign policy chops

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    Top Republicans have voiced both concern and support regarding President Obama’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State militants, but on Friday conservatives looking to stand out as possible presidential contenders have an opportunity to display their foreign policy chops in front of voters gathered at a forum of social conservatives in Washington, D.C.

    Hundreds of conservative activists plan to gather at the annual Values Voter Summit this weekend, where they will hear from several Republican speakers, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz , former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. All five have hinted at launching their own presidential bids next year, and the conference provides a chance for them to assert their position on Obama’s handling of the rise of IS in the Middle East in front of people eager to find a conservative replacement to the president in 2017.

  • How to make famous friends: Run for office in Iowa

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa  — If you live beyond these gently sloping hills of eastern Iowa, you’ve probably never heard of Rod Blum, a bespectacled Dubuque businessman and father of five who’s running to represent Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.

    But in the past few months, the nation’s top Republicans have flown in from across the country to see and be seen with him. Since late spring, Blum has held court with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. He had an hourlong conversation recently in Des Moines with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Dr. Ben Carson, a best-selling conservative author and neurosurgeon who’s considering his own presidential run, made sure his latest book tour swung through Blum’s district.

    Blum has secured photo ops in the local press and enthusiastic endorsements from these big-name Republicans, who shower him with praise.

    His secret? It’s all about the geography.

    These are future Iowa kingmakers in training.

    For now, Blum won’t say which suitor he fancies the most.

    Can he overcome it?

    “That’s a good question,” Blum said. “He needs to get out in my district.”

  • What I learned surfing in Hawaii with the first Hindu congresswoman

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 3 mths ago

    As gently crashing waves break the morning stillness, the congresswoman stands straight and salutes the tip of the glowing sun as it rises into the clouds and flashes a light upon the water.

    For 30 minutes, she mediates in silence, shifting yoga positions while the sun rises higher in the sky.

     Washington is—and certainly feels—4,000 miles away.

    An hour later, Gabbard is geared up in a wet suit and rashguard, a surfboard under her arm, looking out over the surf near Waikiki. She paddles out to the breakers several hundred yards from shore, where she sits on her board and waits for the blue waters of the South Pacific to rise in a swell.

    When the first waves roll in, she turns back toward the beach and paddles for the wave. The waist-high wall of water rises behind her, and she leaps up from her stomach—Gabbard is goofy-footed, which means she puts her right foot forward—and carves her way toward the beach on a strong but steady left.

    But these early morning hours are a moment she has for herself.

    Even the most devoted C-SPAN junkies might be surprised at what they find.

  • Rand Paul still has a thinking-out-loud problem

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 3 mths ago

    Rand Paul is quickly learning that his words have consequences.

    The most recent reminder came after a speech in New Hampshire last Friday, when Kentucky’s junior U.S. senator vowed that if elected president, his first executive order would rescind “all” past orders made by past American presidents.

    “I think the first executive order that I would issue would be to repeal all previous executive orders,” Paul said, when a man in the audience asked him about the topic, according to multiple reporters present. “Democracy is messy, but you have to build consensus to pass things. But it’s also in some ways good, because a lot of laws take away your freedom. So it should be hard to pass a law.”

    Any rising Republican star with presidential ambitions who promised to wipe out nearly 230 years of executive decision-making would attract attention, and Paul was no exception.

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  • Why won’t Rand Paul admit he’s changed his mind?

    Chris Moody at Yahoo News 3 mths ago

    Back in Washington after a long break last week, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul was stepping off the escalator in the Capitol basement on his way to lunch, when a reporter approached him with a straightforward question.

    Why, asked Weekly Standard writer John McCormack, did Paul change his position about launching a U.S. military strike against the Islamic State, a terrorist group that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria and beheaded two American journalists?

    “You were still uncertain about bombing back in August. Now you support it,” McCormack said. “What in your mind has changed?”

    Instead of explaining why he recently came out in support of launching a military assault on the group — with authority from Congress — despite his warning earlier this summer against getting involved, Paul replied that nothing had changed.

    Already, they have plenty to work with.

    Civil rights