Posts by Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis

  • Can you be gay, pro-choice, and Republican? Meet the Congressional candidate proving it’s possible

    Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis at Power Players 11 mths ago

    Top Line

    Carl DeMaio is openly gay, supports abortion rights, and says that climate change is a problem that demands bold solutions from the government. He also happens to be the Republican candidate for Congress in California’s 52 nd District.

    Despite standing in opposition to many of the GOP’s core principles, DeMaio insists that he’s a conservative to his core.

    “I actually represent the new generation that is coming up,” DeMaio told “Top Line” in an interview, stressing that his positions are anchored in the Republican Party’s historical foundation.

    “I actually believe that I reflect the traditional roots of the Republican Party,” DeMaio said. “If you go back decades, you'll find Teddy Roosevelt was one of the first conservationists in this country, and you see a party that traditionally supports economic freedom.”

    But DeMaio sees serious flaws in the Republican Party as it stands today, locked in a feud between the establishment and tea party wings.

    DeMaio advocates what he calls “a third approach” that would “lay out ... bold visionary solutions but be willing to work with the other side on an incremental implementation of those changes.”

  • Addicted to Koch? New documentary traces influence of Koch brothers' money in GOP

    Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Top Line

    A new documentary makes the controversial case that a political cocktail of big corporate money and racially charged sentiments has helped fuel the rise of the tea party. And squarely behind that movement, the film argues, are the Koch brothers.

    Co-Directors Carl Deal and Tia Lessin sat down with “Top Line” to discuss their film, “Citizen Koch,” and why they say the GOP’s deep-pocketed donors, the Koch brothers, are such figures in American politics today.

    “Money – $100 billion now,” Deal said in explaining the Kochs’ influence. “When we started out making this film, their net worth was about $68 billion combined, and we have to keep going in and changing the film and updating it, because it was just recently reported they're up to $100 billion.”

    While the Kochs have been players in conservative politics for decades, Deal and Lessin show how their reach was greatly expanded with the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which unleashed an unrestricted flow of corporate dollars to political campaigns.

    ABC News’ Gary Westphalen, Tom Thornton, Brian Haefeli and Ed Jennings contributed to this episode.

  • Fraternity GOP: Garry Trudeau’s "Alpha House" showcases Republican "crisis of identity"

    Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Top Line

    What happens when four senators live together under one roof on Capitol Hill?

    That’s the concept behind Amazon’s new show, “Alpha House.” While the streaming series is more like “Veep” than “The West Wing,” writer and creator Garry Trudeau says the new political satire goes to the heart of the GOP’s struggle to reconcile the Establishment and Tea Party wings of the party.

    “We’re interested in telling the story of mainstream conservative Republicans who are now caught in this crisis of identity,” Trudeau told “Top Line” on the red carpet for the show’s D.C. premiere. “But there aren’t any direct parallels with any particular [members].”

    “Alpha House” is loosely based on the real-life story of a Capitol Hill row house that Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and a slew of other members of Congress have shared over the years.

    Former Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., who lived with Schumer and Durbin for a time, said the house depicted on “Alpha House” simply “can’t be” as gross as the actual Hill abode.

    What’s more, the fictional “Alpha House” is home to single members.

    ABC’s Gary Westphalen, Jim Martin, and Barry Haywood contributed to this episode.

  • Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper on 2016: DC dysfunction ‘discouraging’ him from presidential run

    Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Top Line

    Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose state is struggling to recover from last month’s historic flooding in the midst of the government shutdown, says watching the Washington discord from afar has only served to discourage him from considering a 2016 presidential run.

    “It's ... daunting to look at how divisive the relationships are in Washington right now,” said Hickenlooper, who has lately been dispelling claims that he's seeking higher office in 2016 after gaining national attention within the Democratic Party for his push for stricter gun laws in Colorado.

    Hickenlooper sat down with “Top Line” behind the scenes of The Daily Beast’s “Hero Summit” in Washington and described the government shutdown as a “tragic failing” that is choking off services that are essential to the health and safety of people in Colorado.

    “It’s amazing,” Hickenlooper said. “[If] you want to start appreciating all the things that the federal government does for those people who are most at risk, have a major disaster and then take away all those services.”

    The governor had some tough words for Congress for its role in causing the shutdown.