Friday, January 05, 2007

My Day in DC

It wouldn't be a party without C-Span

Yesterday afternoon MattW of MLN, Gabe, and myself were attending newly sworn in Congressman Murphy's open house when he received his first call to the floor for a vote. As he walked out the door an excited Murphy explained to his well wishers: "I've got to go vote!" His enthusiasm for the moment was actually quite touching.

We attended a total of six events yesterday, mostly for the CT Delegation. There was a viewing party for CT Democrats to view the opening session, both Murphy and Congressman Courtney had open houses in their new office space, and the CT Democrats Delegation reception at Union Pub. After a brief visit to The Lieberman party we topped off the night at the Netroots celebration.

It was a beautiful day in DC, warm enough that I kept forgetting it was January. Most of the afternoon was spent inside the various House office buildings, which I'd never visited before. As we traveled from office to office it was difficult not to get distracted by the many names I recognized on the plaques.

Below are my best recollections of the various events we attended.

Swearing In Viewing Reception
Our first stop was at the joint reception/viewing party for supporters of Murphy and Courtney. The Courtney campaign had organized a bus trip for supporters and many if not most in the room were wearing their Courtney for Congress campaign buttons. A television set was set to C-Span where the opening session of Congress was being broadcast.

Open Houses
I'm pleased to report that Rep. Murphy's office is not, as had been previously reported, that difficult to find. It's also a fairly large space and most of the time guests were able to move from place to place easily. Courtney's office is smaller, or at least it felt that way. I saw mostly the same faces at both parties.

As I mentioned in my introduction, it was a working day. In addition to hosting guests both offices were dealing with media inquiries and keeping a close eye to what was happening on the House floor via C-Span

CT Delegation Party
Union Pub is a large bar, but it was packed with people and had a healthy overflow outside. In addition to the now familiar faces from the other events I also saw our four Democratic Reps, Diane Farrell, and Nancy DiNardo. Gabe and I also met Senator Chris Dodd and State Rep. John Geragosian.

This is the first bar I've ever been in where C-Span played on multiple TV screens. I was even more amused by how closely people were paying attention, especially staffers of the Congressman who would at some point need leave the party to cast another vote.

My one pet peeve were the amount of people who showed up proudly wearing their Lieberman buttons. But since I crashed Lieberman's party later on in the evening I can't be to upset by that. Lamont supporters were well represented in the crowd though, and we ran into several people from the campaign including Tim Tagaris.

Joe's Party
The only thing missing from Gabe's post about this was the number of Democrats who also attended Joe's bash. I'm not sure who were actual supporters, who (like myself) were just curious to see which big names were in attendance, and who was just hungry (Joe had more food). I spotted both Nancy DiNardo and Chris Shays in the crowd.

Our final stop of the evening was the Netroots gathering. It was also quite crowded, but we were able to say hello to a few friends, and meet MyDD's Chris Bowers. Freshman Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Tim Walz attended the festivities. We left not long after the Champagne toast.
As I look through my notes on the parties, one emerges:dominance of C-span. It was playing in almost every room we were in, and functioned like a sort of clock for staffers. If a vote was about to be called C-span gave staffers a good idea of when they'd need to get to get their boss on the floor. It also gave them a good idea of when the Congressperson might return.

Second, while we were there to have a good time, the 110th Congress was getting down to work. We were celebrating our victories while Joe Courtney, Chris Murphy, and a host of other Freshman were getting sworn in and casting their very first votes.


Maura said...

Great post, Melissa! Thanks for letting us experience your day vicariously.

MVD said...

Thanks for the post. I was at the same events, and I thought that the happiness and excitement were palpable in the air. There are pictures at CT Blue

cgg said...

Thanks for the link MVD. It's to bad we didn't run into one another.