The pre-dawn crowd on the blue line from Virginia already looked exhausted, many from a long night on buses. One tour group from Alabama was excitedly asking at each Metro stop where new passengers were from. As newcomers responded to the question the Alabama group shouted "Michigan in the house!" or "Cincinnati in the house!" By the time train pulled into D.C. at least eight states were represented on the car.
Linda Earl of Huntsville, Ala., traveling with her sister and friends, had attended the 2009 Inaugural too. She's even more excited this time because it is Martin Luther King Day. She was 10 at the time of King's March to Washington and she wanted to go see him but her dad said no, but told her that she could run alongside the King march through Alabama. She did for about a half mile, she said.
"I begged my daddy to let me go. He let me run alongside a piece of the way. Today I flew up. I didn't have to walk."
She said she never thought the United States would have a black president.
"When there is a crowd together to celebrate an Inaugural there is happiness and love and compassion. Everyone is warm and kind to one another," said Ms. Earl, adding that it's what Martin Luther King wanted.
Ms. Earl works for the Department of Defense in Alabama. She doesn't have a ticket so she will be standing way back on the Mall, she said. "It doesn't matter. I would stand in water to be here."
It was billed as a "bipartisan" brunch, and, yes, it was sponsored by Credit Suisse, which may or may not be a Republican bank. Grover Norquist was on the guest list, too. But The Daily Beast pre-inaugural party this morning in --- where else -- Georgetown was mostly jammed with happy Democrats, celebrities and media people, along with a red carpet and a mass of paparazzi snapping pics at media "celebs" Andrea Mitchell of NBC and her date, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
A few Republicans were there, too -- former Sen. William Cohen of Maine and GOP political consultant Mark McKinnon (but no sign of anyone from Eric Cantor's staff, despite rumors that aides to the super-conservative Republican congressman from Virginia would show up, if not the Congressman himself). Hollywood was represented by a sleek-looking Eva Longoria, a co-chair of the Inauguration, and unshaven movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who arrived with about a dozen young women in tow.
Daily Beast founder Tina Brown hosted, and Washington media types huddled, from longtime Newsweek political columnist Eleanor Clift to CBS “This Morning's” Gayle King to Ms. Brown's erstwhile rival, The Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington, who noted that this second inaugural may end up being better because "it's much easier to navigate around town. Much less traffic."
But at this particular party at Cafe Milano, a Georgetown hotspot, it was so jammed no one could move, at all. How big a deal is Cafe Milano? Not THAT big, say some Washingtonians, but President Barack Obama took First Lady Michelle Obama there the other night for her 49th birthday.
Photo: Andrea Mithcell of NBC and her date, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, on the red carpet at The Daily Beast pre-inaugural brunch. Mackenzie Carpenter/Post-Gazette
The three candidates for Pittsburgh mayor will square off for the first time Jan. 27 at a forum in Squirrel Hill, along with those running for the neighborhood's city council seat.
From the 14th Ward Democratic committee:
MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR EAST END
Sunday, January 27, 2013, 1:00-3:00 PM, Wightman School Community Building
A forum for Democratic primary candidates for Pittsburgh mayor and city council will be held on Sunday, January 27, 2013 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM in the Wightman School Community Building, 5604 Solway Street, in Squirrel Hill.
Mayoral candidates Michael Lamb, Bill Peduto and Luke Ravenstahl will participate, along with City Council District 8 candidates Jeanne Clark, Dan Gilman, and Sam Hens-Greco. District 8 includes Shadyside and parts of Oakland, Point Breeze and Squirrel Hill.
The free event is co-hosted by the 14th and 7th Ward Democratic Committees and the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club. Audience members and forum organizers will pose questions and the candidates will have an equal opportunity to inform voters of their views. Two panel discussions, featuring the mayoral and council candidates separately, will begin at 1:30.
The primary election is May 21. The Allegheny County Democratic Committee will endorse candidates on March 10 and the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club's endorsement day is scheduled for April 21.
We've mentioned a few times in this space the connection between GOP-controlled redistricting in Pa, congressional wins and (perhaps) GOP plans to rejigger how electoral votes are awarded, in order to boost Republican presidential candidates. RNC chair Reince Preibus -- who hails from a state (Wisconsin) that like Pa voted for Obama but is run at a state level by Republicans -- has lately endorsed the electoral moves.
""I think it's something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at," Priebus said of the plan to change how electoral votes are granted.
Such a system "gives more local control" to the states, he argued.
The Republican State Leadership Committee told its members in a report issued earlier this month things could have gone a lot worse for the party if it hadn't been working hard to get hold of redistricting in Pa and other swing states in advance of the 2010 election. That included more than $1 million in spending in Pa:
On November 6, 2012, Barack Obama was reelected President of the United States by nearly a three-point margin, winning 332 electoral votes to Mitt Romney's 206 while garnering nearly 3.5 million more votes. Democrats also celebrated victories in 69 percent of U.S. Senate elections, winning 23 of 33 contests. Farther down-ballot, aggregated numbers show voters pulled the lever for Republicans only 49 percent of the time in congressional races, suggesting that 2012 could have been a repeat of 2008, when voters gave control of the White House and both chambers of Congress to Democrats.
But, as we see today, that was not the case. Instead, Republicans enjoy a 33-seat margin in the U.S. House seated yesterday in the 113th Congress, having endured Democratic successes atop the ticket and over one million more votes cast for Democratic House candidates than Republicans. The only analogous election in recent political history in which this aberration has taken place was immediately after reapportionment in 1972, when Democrats held a 50 seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while losing the presidency and the popular congressional vote by 2.6 million votes.
. . . Pennsylvania
A REDMAP target state, the RSLC spent nearly $1 million in Pennsylvania House races in 2010 – an expenditure that helped provide the GOP with majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Combined with former Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett's victory in the gubernatorial race, Republicans took control of the state legislative and congressional redistricting process. The impact of this investment at the state level in 2010 is evident when examining the results of the 2012 election: Pennsylvanians reelected a Democratic U.S. Senator by nearly nine points and reelected President Obama by more than five points, but at the same time they added to the Republican ranks in the State House and returned a 13-5 Republican majority to the U.S. House.
The report was highlighted by the liberal site Think Progress.
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