Published January 16, 2009
Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
A 13-year-old document shows President-elect Obama has flip-flopped on the issue of same-sex marriage. Chicago's Windy City Times has posted a copy of a 1996 questionnaire on its Web site that was filled out — and signed — by Mr. Obama when he was running for the Illinois State Senate.
He wrote, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."
Tracy Baim at the paper writes, "there was no use of 'civil unions,' no compromise whatsoever." But the president-elect now opposes same-sex marriage. He told Evangelical Minister Rick Warren in August that marriage is "a union between a man and a woman."
Mr. Obama does support civil unions.
Out in the Cold
Some Democratic leaders are upset with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because they feel that speeding bills through the chamber is diluting their power. The Hill newspaper reports that the quick approval of legislation, deemed too important to delay, has left some committee and subcommittee chairmen feeling left out.
Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak of Michigan says, "this is really set to come to a head soon. The question is: are we actually going to get a chance to legislate?"
The third ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee — Alcee Hastings of Florida — says he has broached the issue in caucus meetings and that in the future, "it would be better to crawl through the process."
Part of the Crowd
While some senior members of Congress will receive preferential treatment on Inauguration Day — most of the rank-and-file will have to cope with the same headaches facing everyone else.
The Politico newspaper reports Illinois Congressman Danny Davis plans to take the bus all the way in from the Maryland suburbs. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy says he and his wife may have to shower in the Senate gym that morning. And Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly will crash at a friend's house in Washington — so he can beat the crowds.
Meanwhile Congressman Anthony Wiener of New York plans to spend the night in his office because the member with whom he shares an apartment has family in town.
"The Rayburn Office Building is going to be one giant pajama party Monday night."
And finally, musician and outspoken conservative Ted Nugent says he wants to be President-elect Obama’s drug czar. This is an apparent change of heart for a man who reportedly appeared on stage during a concert in 2007 with two assault rifles and said Mr. Obama can "suck on my machine gun."
He writes in the conservative Human Events magazine, "Call me, President Obama. Hippies, dope heads, corrupt politicos and various other human debris hate me, which makes me the perfect man for the job."
He says as drug czar he would urge mayors to make fighting drugs a top priority and that he would better arm border agents. He says he would work with Central American governments to root out drug cartels and that, "I would put a big hurt on the drug kingpins and consumers like they have never seen."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.