Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Harry Reid will reject GOP efforts to stall Obama nominees

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not honor any "holds" used by Senate Republicans to stall votes on President Barack Obama's nominations to lead the Department of Defense and the CIA, the Nevada Democrat said Tuesday.

    "A hold means nothing," Reid said during his weekly press briefing.

    South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham had vowed to use a hold—an informal procedure in which senators inform Senate leaders they oppose a bill or nomination reaching the floor in order to stall a vote—on defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel and CIA director nominee John Brennan. He said he needs to hear more information about the deadly September attack on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya, before proceeding. Graham, who made his vow on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday, added that he did not think the Senate should vote on the nominations "until the White House gives us an accounting" of events surrounding the attack, but he stopped short of vowing a filibuster.

    Reid, who said he

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  • Baby steps: House Republicans launch Spanish-language Twitter handle

    Twitter.com

    The House Republican Conference on Tuesday announced the launch of a Spanish-language Twitter account, @GOPespanol, as part of the party's nationwide outreach program to minority voters.

    The act is a small one, of course, but it's in line with a broader effort to bring Hispanic voters into the party after it lost a bruising national election in 2012. (More than 70 percent of Hispanic voters voted to re-elect President Barack Obama.)

    “GOPespañol is part of our commitment to take our conservative message and values to every corner of America—to young people and seniors, to Hispanics and African-Americans, to men and women alike," Conference Chair Rep. McMorris Rodgers of Washington said in a written statement.

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  • Democratic National Committee Rep. Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Getty Images)

    Keep up, if you can—things are about to get strange.

    In preparation for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the Democratic National Committee on Monday gathered lawmakers for a conference call with reporters to offer a "prebuttal" to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's not-yet-delivered Republican rebuttal to Obama's not-yet-delivered national address.

    "Given the late hour [scheduled for Rubio's on-camera response] we thought this would be a good opportunity for us to make some comments about what we anticipate based on the record that we have that Sen. Rubio is likely to address and how we would respond to that," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said on the call.

    In other words, if you can't have the last word about the State of the Union, you'd better be sure to have the first.

    The framework of Rubio's forthcoming response, which will air live immediately after the president's speech at 9 p.m. ET, will mostly be determined before the president actually gives his

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  • Democrats invite Newtown residents to Obama’s State of the Union address

    Democratic lawmakers have invited residents of Newtown, Conn., the place where 26 people were slain during a shooting at an elementary school in December, to attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address on Tuesday in Washington.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced on Friday that she will bring a fourth-grade child from Newtown who launched a petition to change gun laws after the shooting. Pelosi declined to name the child, but said she attends a school near Sandy Hook Elementary, where the mass killing took place. Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro will bring Carlos Soto, the brother of Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto, who was killed in the shooting. Another lawmaker from Connecticut, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, will bring Natalie Hammond, a Sandy Hook teacher who survived after being shot in the leg and foot. Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen also invited a guest affected by gun violence, Maryland woman Carol Price, an anti-gun violence advocate whose son was killed in 1998

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  • Rand Paul to deliver tea party response to Obama’s State of the Union

    Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul will deliver his own public tea party response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, the Tea Party Express announced on Friday.

    The response will stream live on TeaPartyExpress.org.

    Paul formed the Senate Tea Party Caucus in 2010 and continues to be one of the movement's most vocal proponents in the chamber. He will deliver his remarks from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., immediately after Florida Sen. Marco Rubio gives the official Republican Party response from Capitol Hill.

    “We are happy to see that the Republicans have selected Tea Party conservative Senator Marco Rubio to deliver their response," said Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer in a written statement. "Both Senator Rubio and Senator Paul will articulate pro-growth messages that will resonate with the American people."

    The group began sponsoring tea party responses to Obama's State of the Union Address in 2011, when Minnesota Rep. Michele

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  • Scott Walker to keynote House Republicans’ largest annual fundraiser

    Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will deliver the keynote address at the National Republican Congressional Committee's March dinner in Washington, D.C., an annual event that serves as the House Republicans' most lucrative fundraiser.

    Walker will join the dinner's chairman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, to raise money for the 2014 midterm election cycle. The NRCC plans to publicly announce Walker's speech on Thursday with a raffle contest in which the winner will be flown to the capital for the event.

    The NRCC, an official party group responsible for electing Republicans to the House, raised $12 million when South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was the featured guest at the 2012 dinner and $10 million when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke in 2011. The event is an opportunity for rising stars within the party to mingle with some of the GOP's largest donors. The dinner will be held on March 20 at the National Building Museum.

    Walker rose to national prominence in 2010 when he championed a law that

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  • Python Challenge: Inside the world of Florida’s snake hunters

    Burmese python (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. -- On a lonely road stretching for miles through this vast reptile-infested wilderness, a silver Toyota Matrix screeches to a halt next to a wide pond surrounded by tall brown grass. Two men in their 20s, Josh Holbrook and Jason Thullbery, kick open their doors and spill onto the pavement. Holbrook, the driver, forgets to shift the transmission into park and lunges back through the window to stop the car from rolling into the water. From the backseat, Thullbery's wife Hannah points to the far end of the murky pond, where a 12-foot green and brown strip of flesh suns itself on the bank.

    "Python!" she squeals. "Across the water!"

    Holbrook squints at the reptile while scanning the marshland for a passage to the other side. It's at least one hundred yards away.

    "I think we got one," he says.

    ***

    The Florida Everglades has a severe invasive species problem, and the Burmese python, a snake that can stretch to 23 feet and weigh 200 pounds, is one of the park's

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  • Marco Rubio to give GOP response to Obama’s State of the Union

    Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio will deliver the official Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address next week in both English and Spanish, party leaders announced on Wednesday.

    "[Rubio] carries our party’s banner of freedom, opportunity and prosperity in a way few others can. His family’s story is a testament to the promise and greatness of America,” said House Speaker John Boehner in a statement. “He’ll deliver a GOP address that speaks from the heart to the hopes and dreams of the middle class; to our party’s commitment to life and liberty; and to the unlimited potential of America when government is limited and effective.”

    Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants who joined the Senate in 2011 after launching an underdog campaign for the seat, quickly positioned himself as a leader of Republican efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. He's considered within the party to be a possible presidential contender in 2016.

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  • Republican group launches push to woo female, minority candidates

    Facing an increasingly diverse electorate that re-elected President Barack Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney last year, Republicans on Wednesday launched a push to identify female and minority candidates to run for state and local office around the country.

    The "Future Majority Caucus," spearheaded by the Republican State Leadership Committee, intends to invest what is being described as "significant" resources to supporting and electing Republicans to down ballot posts who aren't white and male.

    "The way for the party to grow again is to elect more Hispanics and more women at the local level," said Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the party's highest-ranking elected Latina, in a conference call announcing the project. "We need to look into the communities and make sure those elected officials look like the communities they represent."

    Exit polls taken during the November 2012 election showed that black, Hispanic, Asian and female voters overwhelmingly supported

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  • Rand Paul: ‘True’ conservative foreign policy is ‘restrained’

    Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday called for the U.S. to adopt a "restrained" foreign policy, saying he was skeptical of long-term military efforts that increased power to Congress on matters of war.

    In a high-profile speech to the Heritage Foundation, a Republican-leaning Washington think tank whose foreign policy analysts advocate a strong national defense, Paul said conservatives should embrace a foreign policy posture that is less interventionist and less costly.

    "It is time for all Americans, and especially conservatives, to become as critical and reflective when examining foreign policy as we are with domestic policy. Should our military be defending this nation or constantly building other nations?" Paul said. "I’d argue that a more restrained foreign policy is the true conservative foreign policy, as it includes two basic tenets of true conservatism: respect for the Constitution, and fiscal discipline."

    Paul, the son of former Republican presidential candidate

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