McConnell on Hagel in 2008
January 7, 2013
There is nothing unusual about senators inserting their remarks into the Congressional Record rather than delivering them in person. Indeed, it is commonplace. However, the existence of the C-SPAN Video Library allows us to distinguish between what is actually said and what is just inserted as written remarks. The stories about Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remarks on Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) in 2008 allow us to illustrate this point.
A number of news accounts have reported the remarks made by Senator McConnell on retiring Senator Hagel in 2008. For example, CNN reported: that “The [senior administration] official noted McConnell’s 2008 floor speech recognizing Hagel’s retirement, in which McConnell said Hagel had a ‘clear voice on foreign policy and national security’ and credited him “as a leading voice in foreign affairs.” Others such as Politico, PBS, and The Hill all cite the 2008 farewell speech.
A search of the C-SPAN Video Library finds no record of these remarks actually being said on the Senate floor. They do exist in the Congressional Record for October 2, 2008. McConnell had prepared remarks on Senators Hagel, Craig, and Warner which appear in the Record, but which were not delivered on the Senate floor.
Interesting there is a contemporary account on November 19, 2008 from Amanda Terkel writing for Think Progress. In a story about how Senator McConnell did not pay tribute to defeated Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), she writes, “McConnell’s office insisted that ‘the oversight was nothing personal and pointed out McConnell did not give a farewell speech for retiring Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska either.’”
The C-SPAN Video Library is the actual record of what was said on the House and Senate floor.
C-SPAN Updates House Video of Opening Day
January 4, 2013
On a couple of occasions, the House of Representatives allows C-SPAN to use its own cameras to cover the House. One of those occasions was the opening day of the 113th Congress, January 3, 2013. C-SPAN had a technical problem in recording the initial audio of the session causing C-SPAN to miss the audio of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Because the C-SPAN Video Library is a permanent record of the video and audio record of what happens in the House and Senate, C-SPAN has obtained a copy of the House of Representatives recording and inserted the audio of the Pledge into our online record. The complete Pledge can be heard here.
Democratic Women Picture Taking
Some controversy has emerged about the official photo of Democratic Women in the 113th Congress. Viewers on C-SPAN could seen the entire event unfold on the steps of the Capitol on the opening day of the 113th Congress. As the women assembled in the cold and then gave up their coats for a better shot, stragglers kept showing up and joined the photo. Finally, this shot was taken, released to the press, and carried in many news accounts. This was the largest group of Democratic women representatives in history, 61 in all.
After the women dispersed, others still showed up. An additional photo was taken of the four later arrivals including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. C-SPAN captured this picture taking in its complete coverage.
Later these two pictures were combined using photo software inserting the missing women in the last row and posted on the minority leader’s web site.
Speaker Pelosi was asked about the picture at her weekly press briefing also covered by C-SPAN. She was unaware of the picture modification, but indicated that it was an accurate representation of the Democratic women in the House. Her answer is here.
The Poynter Online released this account of the controversy.
These type of events are common in DC and in public relations. By covering events in their entirety, C-SPAN allows its viewers to see complete events as they unfold.
Two Houses Meet on Same Day
January 3, 2013
January 3, 2013 was an unusual day in the U.S. House. Both the 112th Congress and the 113th Congress met on the same day. At 11:00 AM, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) convened the last session of the 112th Congress. His term expires at noon so when the 113th Congress convenes, he will no longer be a member and the clerk of the House will initially preside over the session. Rep. Boehner is expected to be elected speaker as the first order of business. He will then be sworn in and swear in the rest of the members.
Because the lame duck 112th Congress did not adjourn sine die (without a day to meet again), it caused this unusual situation where both the 112th and 113th Congress met on the same day.
House Voting on Fiscal Cliff Agreement
Using the display of House votes for the “fiscal cliff” agreement, we can see that Republican support peaked at 45% immediately after the vote started and fell below 40% as the vote progressed. Republican support ended up with 36% of the members voting for the agreement. In contrast, Democratic support never fell below 90% for the entire time of the vote.
These figures are obtained by looking at the reported vote counts by second as reported by the House and carried on C-SPAN. The entire vote took nineteen minutes and twenty-eight seconds. It shows a common pattern of the early voting in favor of the measure and a decline in support as the vote comes to an end. Many members watch to see if the measure will pass and then decide if their vote is needed for passage.