Jason Dick

Inauguration Superlatives: The High Highs and Low Lows
Rhetoric, flubs, health and even conspirators can steal the spotlight

Under the best circumstances, a presidential inauguration can inspire a nation. Under the worst, it can lead to a do-over. And sometimes, not to be melodramatic, but dark forces conspire around it.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations,” Abraham Lincoln said at his second inauguration, delivered to a country ripped apart by the Civil War. 

House Freshmen to Watch
115th Congress provides a platform for ambitious new members

Not all freshmen are created equal.

While there is always a learning curve for new members of the House, some of the newly elected come to the institution with an enhanced profile. This could be because they are former statewide officeholders, or perhaps scored a big one for the team by knocking off a longtime incumbent. Maybe they are natural leaders or their ambitions are such that they are already looking at other federal offices. 

Leaders Kick Off Inauguration Construction at Capitol
Inauguration Day 2017 is officially on its way

Updated 4:33 p.m.Speaker Paul D. Ryan couldn’t bear to look as Sen. Charles E. Schumer struggled to hammer down his nail during Wednesday’s First Nail ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol. 

Every four years, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies gathers to mark the ceremonial launch of the construction of the inaugural platform that will hold the yet-to-be-determined next president on Inauguration Day. Instead of cutting a ribbon or shoveling some dirt, members of the committee are each called on to pound a nail into the first plank of the platform.

Democrats Believe Long Shots Can Deliver a House Majority
Unpredictable nature of the election raises party hopes

Greg Walden, Political Trash Talker
NRCC chief not buying Democratic optimism of possible House takeover

If Hollywood ever remakes “Jerry Maguire” as a political campaign movie, expect Rep. Greg Walden to be cast in the Cuba Gooding Jr. role, yelling at the top of his lungs, “Show me the data!”

The Oregon Republican, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, isn’t impressed by recent bullish statements from Democrats that they have a shot at winning the House this year, buoyed by the unpopularity of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and favorable demographics and turnout.

Gun Safety Groups’ Embrace of Toomey Complicates Murphy’s Mission
Connecticut lawmaker is still committed to a Democratic Senate majority

Christopher S. Murphy has made championing gun safety his mission as a senator from Connecticut. And the Democrat has committed to campaigning this fall for candidates and ballot measures that will change the issue’s political calculus.

But two prominent groups normally aligned with Democrats on the issue aren’t making things easy for Murphy or his party with their endorsement of Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, a vulnerable Republican whose Pennsylvania seat will likely be key to which party controls the Senate next year.

Let’s Go Dutch! Democrats Target Pennsylvania GOP Country
VP nominee Tim Kaine visited Lancaster on Tuesday night

LANCASTER, Pa. — If nothing else this election year, the people of Pennsylvania Dutch Country will get to know the two major parties’ vice presidential nominees. And vice versa.

“I am so glad you pronounce ‘Lancaster’ the same way we do in Virginia,” Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, said Tuesday evening at the Boys & Girls Club on Lemon Street. Lancastrians are sensitive about this. It’s LANC-aster.

Presidential Race Frames Battle of Pennsylvania
Democrats see opening in Keystone State to pick up House seats

EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Look no further than Pennsylvania Dutch Country for proof of the Keystone State’s battleground status, where Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence rallied here Tuesday, right in the middle of a congressional district national Democrats are eyeing as a prime pick-up opportunity for the House.

“We are the Keystone State,” Joyce Haas, vice chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, told the crowd here at the Lancaster Host and Conference Center. “Without Pennsylvania, we do not win,” she said, emphasizing how important the state’s 20 electoral votes are to the ticket of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Pence.

Republicans Go to the Mat to Take Down Clinton
Old wrestling arena serves as home for GOP's counterprogramming

PHILADELPHIA — Any doubts that Republicans would swing hard at Hillary Clinton could be dispelled by the Republican National Committee’s choice of venue for its counterprogramming here during the Democratic National Convention: 2300 Arena, an old bingo hall formerly the home of professional wrestling’s ECW, a violent, upstart rival to the more mainstream WWE.  

Taking the stage to the sounds of “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps, GOP surrogates on Thursday went through their talking points savaging the Democratic presidential standard-bearer on a stage draped with American flags and underneath banners for wrestlers in the “Hardcore Hall of Fame” like 2 Cold Scorpio, Tommy Dreamer and Blue Meanie.  

'Newtown' Film Screening Dovetails With Dems' Gun Message
Examines families who lost children in Connecticut school shooting

PHILADELPHIA — When organizers of the Impact Film Festival decided on their lineup of topical documentaries they would show at this year’s Democratic National Convention, they could hardly have expected that their screening of “Newtown” would come on the day Democrats chose to address the issue of gun violence head-on in prime time.  

But that’s what happened, and the movie about the aftermath of the December 2012 mass murder of schoolchildren and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut was screened just a few hours before Erica Smegielski and Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, along with others touched by gun violence, were scheduled to address the party gathering.  

Are the Obamas D.C.'s Next Secret Weapon?
Advocates hope First Couple will agitate for voting rights, budget autonomy

PHILADELPHIA — Advocates for the District of Columbia are hoping that when Barack and Michelle Obama leave the White House in January to take up residence in Kalorama, it will mark a turning point in the city’s long fight for voting rights and budget autonomy in the nation’s capital.  

“From the most powerful man in America to the least represented,” said Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss, one of the District’s elected and unpaid advocates.  

Texas Democrats Do a Two-Step Over Voting Rights Victory
LBJ's daughter adds star power to delegation's event

PHILADELPHIA — Texas Democrats did a victory lap Monday at their delegation’s “Texadelphia” kickoff event for the Democratic National Convention, celebrating a recent court victory that found the Lone Star State’s voter identification law discriminatory while paying tribute to their own political legacy.  

“He wanted you, all of you, to vote,” said Lynda Johnson Robb, the oldest daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and a former first lady of Virginia. (She is married to former Gov. and Sen. Chuck Robb.)  

Bill Clinton: The First Running Mate
Former president has unique and unpredictable role as Hillary Clinton's spouse

The Clintons’ “two for the price of one” ticket, a prominent feature of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential race , is one of the longest-running acts in politics.  

Twenty-four years later, it even applies to the speaking slots for the Democrats’ Philadelphia nominating convention.  

Philadelphia: A Rough-And-Tumble Town Puts on Its Best Face for the Democratic National Convention
Few cities embody nation's history so much

Few American cities embody the nation’s history as much as Philadelphia, the birthplace of the Constitution, home to the Liberty Bell, site of the first Republican presidential nominating convention and, this year, another groundbreaking event: the nomination of a woman at the top of a major party’s presidential ticket.  

It’s also a tough town that lionizes its contribution to cuisine, the cheesesteak; adores fictional boxer Rocky Balboa so much it placed a statue of him at the Philadelphia Art Museum; suffers the scars of brutal racial tension; and is home to such raucous sports fans that the old Veterans Stadium, once home to football’s Eagles and baseball’s Phillies, had its own jail. And they once even booed Santa Claus.  

Trump's Trade Agenda Dogs Portman in Cleveland

Former U.S. trade representative and incumbent Sen. Rob Portman is in the fight of his life to keep his seat. He's at odds with Trump on trade, and the issue followed him around Cleveland this week....
Portman, Kasich Head in Separate Directions on Trump
Ohio senator walks a fine line on contentious presidential nominee

CLEVELAND — Sen. Rob Portman fell into line behind Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday, telling the Ohio delegation here that it was important that the billionaire become president, a position that puts some distance between himself and his fellow GOP statewide officeholder, Gov. John Kasich.  

“What’s the election about? It’s about the direction of the country,” Portman said to the audience at the Double Tree Inn near the Lake Erie shoreline, adding that the next president could have a say over the direction of the Supreme Court for generations, with as many as four seats up for grabs. “This is for all the marbles,” he emphasized, repeating the GOP mantra that Hillary Clinton is unfit to lead and make such decisions.  

Cleveland Rises and Shines for the GOP
Rust Belt metropolis is a Democratic stronghold, but politics are always open for discussion

It’s been called everything from “the best location in the nation” to the “mistake by the lake,” from “the best governed city in the United States” to the “buckle of the Rust Belt.”  

People have made sport of it “for years and years and years,” as the local congresswoman, Democrat Marcia L. Fudge, puts it, over the weather, the pollution, the economic misery and, especially, the sports.  

Home-State Republicans Keep Distance as Trump Comes to Town
Sorry but I have to run

The Republican National Convention will have its share of no-shows among the GOP party elite, among them former presidents, former presidential nominees and several representatives and senators in tough re-election battles looking to put some daylight between themselves and the presidential standard-bearer, Donald Trump.  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, warily eyeing his thin majority and the number of tight election races on the GOP side, has advised senators up for re-election, for instance, to limit their time at the convention or avoid it altogether.  

The Politics of Fear
Will fear of terror and economic uncertainty drive this year's elections?

The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando  two weeks ago has brought out political-anxiety rhetoric in force. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is rocking the electoral world with his raw appeal to fears about terrorism and crime.  

His allies in Congress, acting as surrogates, have embraced some of his rhetoric — questioning likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's  commitment to combat Islamic terror — and demonstrated how fear can enter the political echo chamber and become all-consuming.   

Gov. Rick Scott Wants You to Buy a Few Homes in Florida
Florida governor tells RNC members how much he appreciates their business

In an election increasingly about whether people are being left behind economically, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has a plan for his fellow Republicans: He wants them to "buy a few homes here."  

At Thursday's Republican National Committee spring meeting in Hollywood, Florida, the two-term chief executive of the Sunshine State delivered the keynote address, telling RNC members how much he appreciates their business.