The Spectacle Blog

The Strange, Sad Death of Tom Schweich

By on 2.27.15 | 11:35AM

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich died yesterday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 54.

A Republican, Schweich had just been re-elected to a second term as State Auditor in November and only last month announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination for the 2016 Missouri gubernatorial race.

Schweich's wife made a 911 call only minutes after Schweich left a voice mail for Tony Messenger, the editorial page editor of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Schweich had wanted to invite a Post-Dispatch reporter along with a reporter from the AP to go public with allegations that Missouri Republican Chairman John Hancock was telling Republican primary voters he was Jewish. Schweich was Episcopal although his grandfather was Jewish. In his formal statement on Schweich's death, Messenger wrote in part:

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Ted Cruz Will Be Binge-Watching House of Cards This Weekend

By on 2.27.15 | 10:50AM

There's some controversy as to whether Ted Cruz's speech yesterday was great or the greatest speech of all time. But no matter which camp you fall in, one thing is for certain: Ted Cruz is ready for a break.

Talking to TMZ cameras yesterday outside the Gaylord where CPAC is being held, Ted Cruz gave a solid indication of how he plans to spend the weekend, after he’s finished voting, of course. Like the rest of America, he'll be binge watching season 3 of the hit Netflix political drama, House of Cards.

Sen. Ted Cruz plans to inhale this weekend ... Season 3 of “House of Cards.”

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#CPAC2015: The Morning Contenders

By on 2.27.15 | 10:28AM

Rick Perry is far better at mornings than I am. Rick Perry might be better at mornings than almost anyone.

This morning’s round of Presidential contenders featured the Texas governor and Sen. Marco Rubio, but where Rubio was steadfast and eminently relatable, Rick Perry was electric, energizing the tired audience with his trademark Texas-sized personality and his brand new hipster glasses. Being governor of Texas, after all, is like being the Prime Minister of a moderately-sized European country and Rick’s experience is the hallmark of his argument for support. 

Like most of yesterday’s potential candidates, Perry hit on economics, particularly as it pertains to the working class, and the President’s inability to execute a strong foreign policy, even in comparison to less typically mighty nations:

Egypt and Jordan recognize that they are at war with radical Islam, isn't it about time that our president proclaimed the same? We didn't start this war, nor did choose it, but we will have will to finish it.

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#CPAC2015: The Palin Purpose

By on 2.26.15 | 6:07PM

Before I start into her speech, let me just say that Palin, as a person, is unfailingly nice. So nice, in fact, that last night, she spent close to an hour in the hotel’s lobby bar taking selfies with college Republicans and shaking hands. She even took a photo with yours truly. And we need more people in the movement who are unfailingly nice. Because in this ridiculous line of work, literally no one is unfailingly nice.

To my great surprise — yes, I’ll admit it — Sarah Palin’s speech was not about Sarah Palin. She was tasked by CPAC to talk about veterans, and that’s what she did. As the mother of a veteran who has served in Iraq, she was well placed to give the address, and given a subject to talk about — a purpose — she did well, showing why she’s still important to the conservative movement, even if she’s long since passed out of political relevance.

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#CPAC2015: Walker-Palooza

By on 2.26.15 | 5:39PM

Scott Walker is a folk hero. Walking out without much fanfare, he took the stage with his sleeves rolled up and started talking about the Founding Fathers. It’s a tent revival.

And that makes sense. Scott Walker is headlining the Great American Revival, a plan to create more jobs, more opportunity, and, possibly, more speaking engagements that don’t require suit jackets. He has a profile for a leader that American needs and he’s certainly going to tell you about it. Because according to Governor Walker, he’s earned the ability to gloat a little, and given the response, I’m not sure anyone in the room would disagree.

Walker’s speech is not very different from the other speeches we’ve heard throughout the day: he focused on the middle class, he excoriated the Obama Administration for their lack of propriety in the arena of foreign affairs, and he outlined what he believes the Obama Administration is doing to destroy America. But unlike the other speeches we’ve heard today, Walker’s is a campaign stump speech complete with lines that are destined to follow him throughout his potential candidacy like:

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#CPAC2015 Afternoon Session: Christie, Carly, Cruz

By on 2.26.15 | 1:37PM

CPAC’s afternoon session featured a few more people, with big draws like Chris Christie and Ted Cruz filling the ballroom with countless college Republicans (only one pair around me seemed to make a love connection). They might have had to wake up a ballroom full of sleepy conference attendees this morning, but this afternoon’s speakers were playing to a house ready to jump out of their seats and applaud, and that’s pretty much what they did.

First up was Chris Christie, who chose to do a “talk show” format interview with radio host Laura Ingraham instead of speaking from the podium, and he certainly surprised the audience with his, well, maybe the best term for it is swagger. Chris Christie’s speeches aren’t always made to a national media, even though he acknowledged that what he does on a state level has national implications and makes for great fodder for national stories, if ony because the New York Times is right in his backyard. 

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Hillary Clinton’s Foundation Took Foreign Donations

By on 2.26.15 | 12:17PM

While the Clintons were struggling to make ends meet, they decided to start a foundation that would help others just like them across the globe. The Clinton Foundation, which focuses on global poverty, the spread of HIV and AIDS in developing countries and combating Climate Change, is an international aid organization that is mostly concerned with making sure the Clinton name is recognized globally as one of compassion, primarily in places where people don't have regular access to media.

But the Washington Post has discovered that, while Secretary of State Clinton was traveling the globe, promoting peace and resetting our relationships with world leaders with plastic Staples buttons, the Clinton Foundation was taking donations from foreign governments, many of them with business before the United States. 

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Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Mike Lee Kick off CPAC

By on 2.26.15 | 10:57AM

Greetings from Maryland where I’m attending the Conservative Political Action Conference so that you don't have to. While we are only in the early hours of the conference, I have already seen more articles of clothing fashioned from the American flag than I thought were humanly possible. There is a man here with a pair of MC Hammer-style pants, decorated with the Stars and Stripes, that would strike fear into the heart of any of America’s enemies. Beyond red, white and blue attire, the most prominent trends at this year’s essential gathering of conservatives are Duck Dynasty beards that could comfortably house a squirrel family of four and really, really inappropriate shoes.

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Now It’s Kerry’s Turn to Bash Bibi

By on 2.25.15 | 10:53PM

I guess senior members of the Obama Administration are taking turns bashing Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last night, it was Susan Rice who said Netanyahu's speech would be "destructive" to U.S.-Israeli relations. 

Now it's Secretary of State John Kerry's turn. Testifying before a House Committee, Kerry questioned Bibi's judgment and evoked his support for the War in Iraq. Kerry stated that Netanyahu "was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush. And we all know what happened with that decision."

This would be the same John Kerry who was for the Iraq War before he was against it. What chutzpah.

If he isn't too busy fondling the Defense Secretary's wife or a Senator's daughter, I suppose tomorrow will be Joe Biden's turn to bash Bibi. 

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John Boehner Wants You To Up Your Fashion Game

By on 2.25.15 | 7:21PM

He might have the unenviable task of providing the backbone to Republicans, after Mitch McConnell all but gave away the farm in the Senate, but John Boehner has more important things on his mind today than whether the TSA will have the money necessary to keep them in blue surgical gloves for the forseeable future. 

John Boehner wants you - yes, you, newly elected member of Congress - to start looking like you belong here. He's not naming names, but you know who you are, sweatpants afficionados.

During the final vote series of the day, Boehner reiterated the rules for proper behavior on the House floor. Boehner, who is known for ribbing lawmakers and reporters for their attire, has made reminding members of House rules a regular practice.

Many lawmakers frequently wear jeans or casual shoes to the House floor, particularly during the first vote series of the week that are usually close to dinnertime.

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