Post Politics Hour

Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 14, 2010; 11:00 AM

Washington Post congressional reporter Perry Bacon Jr. was online Monday, June 14.

The transcript follows.

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Perry Bacon Jr.: Good morning. Looking forward to your questions.


Boston: My question concerns women in politics ... why is so much made out of Fiorina's comment about Boxer's hair off-mic? Seems to me that since reporters are buzzing about Palin's chest area, they seem to be hypocrites concerning Fiorina's off-mike comment. Will you be the grown up and make some sense out of all this small mindedness?

Perry Bacon Jr.: I don't think a lot of reporters are talking about Palin's chest area, the Greta interview aside. (I would separate "reporters" from what is broadly being discussed on the web) Fiorina had just won a major race the day before the hair comment, so I think it's news.


Washington, D.C.: Perry,

Why is David ("dumb, dumber, duh") Axlerod scheduling POTUS for an Oval Office speech on BP's oil spill absent a) announcing the indictment and arrest of BP's executives and the oil rig chain of command, and b) seizure of BP America's assets?

Nothing has changed in legal or operational terms; the videocam broadcasts the oil spewing out 24 hrs a day; and POTUS can only continue to cajol while the gold currency of the Oval Office will have been wasted responding to a campaign by a couple of local columnists.

Perry Bacon Jr.: Without endorsing your comments on Axelrod, who is quite smart about politics actually, I"m not sure the president has the legal authority to do A or B, or if they would be particularly smart or useful measures.


Arlington, Va.: What do you think about Carly Fiorina being able to match the $10 million in Boxer's campaign for the Senate race in California? Also, when Carly appears on Fox Sunday and Meet the Press, isn't she smart to appear and speak about issues concerning her state and our nation? When do you think Boxer will start appearing for interviews (or debate) on TV?

Perry Bacon Jr.: I think for a sitting senator, Meet the Press is not the best place for campaign appearances. I"m not sure it was a quite appearance for Fiorina either, because of the hair flap. I think both would be better off doing more local media. I think Fiorina will be able to match Boxer's spending.


Durham, N.C.: I kind of feel like the media is doing the same mistake it did in vetting Rand Paul that they're doing now with Nikki Haley.

Rand Paul's loopey views weren't exactly a secret, but the national media was more focused on Tea Partier Republicans versus Establish Capital Hill Republicans angle. Then he wins, and some harder questions are asked by NPR and Rachel Maddow and the media acts shocked. Why weren't they asking those same questions months ago?

Now Nikki Haley has her own loopey views, but you never hear or read about them because the national only talks about Sarah Palin endorsing her or the rumors spread about her having extramarital affairs. It would be nice to have some reporting on where she stand on Issue A or Issue B.

Just a thought. Thanks for the chat and enjoy your week.

Perry Bacon Jr.: I haven't followed Haley as much, but I personally wrote about Paul's views before the primary and I know others did as well.


Obama Pleads for Aid Package?: I mean really, who writes these headlines?

For weeks, critics have been saying that every oil skimmer in the world should be in the gulf right now, and I'm not sure I disagree.

So Obama puts out the word that he'd welcome help from other countries, and this is the headline that results?

Perry Bacon Jr.: I think that is a story about aid from the feds to state and local goverments.


Wilmington, N.C.: I really wish the President would use this as a teaching moment and explain to people the in our system of government a self governing republic it is not considered normal for the President to take over a company and run it.

I know people are frustrated with the oil spill but everything is just getting too politicized and not focusing on the reality of the spill. I sure am glad to hear that foreign vessels will be hailed for further help with clean up.

The Rosie O'Donnell comment really was sad. New immigrants from Cuba and Russia here are really laughing.

What's your take on the situation.

Perry Bacon Jr.: The President has said in some ways. Read the interview he did with Politico, he hits on the limits of what the government can do a bit.


What a President Can Do: Instead of focusing on a gusher a mile below the surface, why can't President Obama instead pledge to create a National Alternative Energy Research and Development Center in New Orleans? With Southern, Dillard, Tulane, Loyola, UNO, and Xavier the city has several fine academic institutions to help attract researchers and professors. Such a center would be a great boon to a very distressed region. And, it would be far more beneficial to the country than extracting the 3 cents worth of oil we have under our coastlines.

Like NASA in Houston and Huntsville, such a center is something a President can do. Stopping the gusher will take months and as we know from Exxon Valdez, cleaning up the mess will never really be finished.

Perry Bacon Jr.: Just posting this an idea.


Philadelphia: What is going on in S.C. politics? The elecion of Alvin Green seems quite fishy with him getting more votes than cast. Is DeMint dumb enough to be involved here? Why would a safe repub seat need to plant a candidate in the opposing side? If you aren't aware of this story you might want to check it out. It is growing everyday.

Perry Bacon Jr.: The Post has written about this and will continue to.


Abingdon, Md.: Everytime I hear that someone has spent XX millions of dollars (of their own money) to win a race, I have to wonder---why does somebody spend soooo much money on a job that pays about $150k per year? Are they really THAT power hungry or looking for that much influence?

Perry Bacon Jr.: I think a lot of people really want to be politics. The jobs have influence and you can truly make a different. There are reasons why it's not good that being rich is such an advantage in politics (it's not clear we want a bunch of wealthy people running the country, yes I realize we already have that in some ways) but I think you can have major impact as a governor or senator, so I don't blame Meg Whitman for spending her millions.


Boston: Just spent a week in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. The coast was stinky noxious and the fishermen are in deep, deep trouble, but what really struck me was driving through neighborhoods of New Orleans that still look like they are battle zones.

We all know about the lower 9th, but man the 7th and 8th are a mess too, and possibly no place looks worse than Gentilly which I remember as a mostly white middle class neighborhood. I also remember President Bush's promise to rebuild, but did the U.S. ever commit any resources or dollars to rebuild?

I've been to a lot of messed up places but I can't quite remember crying at the sight as i did this past week.

Perry Bacon Jr.: Just posting this comment.


Los Angeles: Republican women running for Calif. Governor and Senator say the government should be run like a business. It's a snappy statement that is really a canard which Schwarzenegger used in his election. As HP CEO, Fiorina cut 30,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs, many of which wound up in China and India. While eBay's CEO, Whitman served on Goldman Sach's Board which gave her access to over 100 lucrative IPO stock purchases which she sold almost immediately thereby profiting substantially. Norman investors in the stock market don't have such access.

Two questions:

1) Are cutting jobs and benefiting from insider stock market information not available to normal investors examples of business practices these women want to bring to government and if so how will they do it?

2) Isn't the real reason why Fiorina, Whitman and Linda McMahon (Conn. Senate) won their primaries because they used $millions of their own money to pay for campaigns in races Republicans would not otherwise fund? In Conn., Republican bypassed a real Vietnam Vet (Rob Simmons) for McMahon who's successful entertainment business is the stuff of fakery and blood in the "squared circle", semi-naked women and subplots featuring rape, adultery and familial violence portrayed as Reality TV by McMahon's family whose yacht is named "Sexy Bitch".

Perry Bacon Jr.: And this one.


Athens, Ga.: What's up with Alvin Greene?

First, with the felony charges pending and that college student pressing the charges and her mother making a news media cursade against him, why isn't he just resigning? Other pols have resigned for less although Ted Stevens did run and nearly re-election in Alaska and he was a convicted felon.

Plus one thing that bothers me is "DeMint knew he was going to win so he can't be involved in Alvin Greene mess." I totally and completely agree with that logic and honestly believe he isn't, but I would like some investigating reports there to actually try to prove it with facts and statements rather then you and me being logical.

Perry Bacon Jr.: I think reporters will get to the bottom of this story soon.


Kent, Ohio: Beyond perhaps himself and his mom, does anybody really want to see a Speaker of the House Boehner?

I'm all for the Republican take-over, but Speaker-to-be Boehner (or as most the Union would say Speaker Who) isn't helping. Much Republicans had a telegeneic leader like Mike Pence (IN-06) or wonky one like Paul Ryan (WI-01).

Perry Bacon Jr.: I think Newt Gingrich and lots of current members of the GOP in Congress like Boehner a lot. I think if the Republicans win the House, not something I would bet on, there will be many more tan jokes coming our way.


Perry Bacon Jr.: Thanks for the questions folks.


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