Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mike Ross: Decades Of Liberalism

“Former President Bill Clinton’s ‘fundraising plea for Mike Ross’ serves as a reminder to Arkansans that Ross has been a liberal for decades, regardless of what he may say on TV. The truth is when Ross ran for Congress in 2000, Nancy Pelosi helped fill his campaign coffers. Ross returned the favor, playing a key role in bringing Nancy Pelosi to power. And when Democrats ushered in their new Big Government era in 2009, Pelosi embraced Ross and handed the gavel to him. But Ross’ record of supporting liberalism dates back even further. Ross ran liberal Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis’ 1988 Presidential campaign in Arkansas. Dukakis lost the Natural State by 14%. When Ross joined the Arkansas State Senate in 1991, he described himself as a ‘progressive.’ Thanks for the reminder, President Clinton. Mike Ross is a liberal.” ~ RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho

In 2000, When Ross Ran For Congress Liberal Nancy Pelosi Was There To Help Fund His Campaigns
When Ross First Ran For Congress In 2000, Nancy Pelosi’s Leadership PAC – PAC To The Future – Contributed $10,000. (Center for Responsive Politics Website)

In 2002, Running For Reelection As A Freshman, Pelosi’s PAC Contributed Another $10,000 To Ross’ Campaign Committee. (Center for Responsive Politics Website)

And Ross Returned The Favor, Helping Bring Nancy Pelosi To Power In The House
As A Newly-Elected Congressman, Ross Held A Key Vote In Who Would Be The Next House Democratic Whip – Steny Hoyer Or Nancy Pelosi. “When the Democrats failed to win back the House in 2000, the future of the whip race was uncertain … As the summer approached, Hoyer and Pelosi started wooing hard, focusing especially on the roughly two dozen undecideds. One of them was Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross, a first-termer. With his conservative voting record, he seemed to be a natural ally for the more moderate Hoyer. But both Pelosi and Hoyer had campaigned for him in 2000, and both had sat in his office asking for his vote.” (“The Making Of Madam Whip,” The Washington Post, 1/6/02)

Ross Privately Gave His Support To Hoyer But Did Not Make A Public Endorsement, So Pelosi Began To Lobby Him. “Hoyer was convinced he had Ross’s support. In March, according to Hoyer, the Arkansan had privately told him, ‘I want you to know I’m a loyal person. You’ve done more for me than anybody else, and you were there for me, and I’m for you.’ Ross, himself, says he does not recall such a conversation. But others agree that shortly afterward Ross attended a breakfast meeting of Hoyer backers, where assignments were made of undecided members to lobby. In any case, Ross was not going public about his intentions, and Pelosi sensed she had possibilities.” (“The Making Of Madam Whip,” The Washington Post, 1/6/02)

Ross Then Changed Camps: “I’m Going To Be Voting For Nancy Pelosi. I’m Sorry.” “Ross was aware that if the three of them [Vic Snyder, Marion Berry, and himself] endorsed Pelosi as a group, their tiny state would have more influence in the caucus next year. And it felt like things were moving toward Pelosi. ‘Arkansas is a small state,’ he explained. ‘It’s difficult to be recognized and obtain the clout we want and deserve.’ One night shortly before Congress adjourned for the summer, Hoyer was walking down the Capitol steps when he saw Ross standing off to one side. ‘This is awful tough for me,’ Ross said, visibly troubled. ‘What’s tough, Mike?’ Hoyer asked, puzzled. ‘This is awful tough,’ Ross simply repeated. The next day, Ross had a handwritten note delivered to Hoyer’s office. It consisted of two sentences: ‘I’m going to be voting for Nancy Pelosi. I’m sorry.’” (“The Making Of Madam Whip,” The Washington Post, 1/6/02)

After Pelosi Was Elected Whip, Ross Attended Her Victory Party At A Lavish D.C. Hotel. “The morning of the vote Pelosi had 106 public commitments, and claimed she had as many as 123 backers. Hoyer had 81 supporters on record, and declared he had a total of 106 stalwarts. When the ballots were counted, Pelosi had won decisively, 118 to 95, becoming the highest-ranking woman in congressional history. … That night, Pelosi had a celebration at the Phoenix Park Hotel near Union Station. Bob Clement and Mike Ross made it to the reception, which featured multiple chocolate desserts, an open bar and a band playing loudly in the background.” (“The Making Of Madam Whip,” The Washington Post, 1/6/02)

Ross Was A Loyal Foot-Soldier In Congressional Democrats’ Efforts To Regain Control Of The House Of Representatives
May 2004: Ross Said He Would Be An Active Campaigner For Democrats, Calling Himself A “Team Player.” “Ross, who has no GOP opponent this year, said he’ll help campaign for Kerry and other Democrats in Arkansas, and he’ll also campaign for Democratic congressional candidates in other states. ‘I’m trying to be a team player,’ Ross said.” (“Arkansans Look At Race For President,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/23/04)

December 2004: A Congressional Aide Confirmed Ross Was Seen As “A Team Player.” “Rep. Mike Ross is on a short list of Democrats being considered for a coveted seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a congressional aide close to the selection process confirmed Wednesday. … Ross, who ran unopposed in November, dipped into his campaign war chest to donate about $200,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and he gave about $89,000 to dozens of individual Democratic candidates running in the general election. The reward for Arkansas’ 4th District congressman could well be one of three open seats on the committee reserved for Democrats. … ‘It certainly helps,’ the aide said of Ross’ fund raising, ‘because members in the caucus see you’re a team player willing to help out when you need to.’ The aide spoke on the condition of not being named.” (“Ross On Short List For Key Panel Seat,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 12/2/04)

Ross Boasted Of His Work To Bring House Democrats Back Into The Majority
When Ross Considered A 2006 Bid For House Leadership, He Boasted To His Democratic Colleagues Of How Much Money He Had Raised For Democrats. “[Ross] is considering making a bid either for a spot in the Democratic leadership or for leadership of the House’s Blue Dog coalition of fiscal conservatives. He said he’ll make a decision within about a week. … In late September, Ross sent a letter to his fellow House Democrats asking them not to commit their support to anyone in the race to become the caucus’s vice chairman, because he might make a bid. In the letter, he pointed out that this year he has directly contributed or raised $1 million toward the election of House Democrats.” (“Legislators In Majority Relish Win,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 11/9/06)
  • Ross Said He Donated Or Raised More Than $1 Million To Help Democrats Take Control Of Congress That Year. “Ross, in a recent letter to other Democrats, said his contributions to individual candidates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, combined, total more than $300,000. He added that he had helped the committee raise an additional $700,000.” (“In D.C., Sharing Wealth Routine,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/13/06)
Ross Made Extensive Efforts On Behalf Of The DCCC And Was One Of Rahm Emanuel’s Political “Lieutenants.” “Arkansas’ Rep. Mike Ross has been an active foot soldier in Democrats’ bid to take control of Congress’ lower chamber in November’s midterm elections, playing a prominent role in his party’s ‘red-to-blue’ strategy. … Ross has contributed $150,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fundraising group headed by Emanuel. On top of that, he has raised an additional $517,625, either by making phone calls or drawing donors to fundraisers, according to a committee memo published by Washington Monthly, a liberal political journal, on its Web site. ‘He’s been an integral part of the DCCC’s activities,’ said Adrienne Elrod, a spokesman for the committee. She said Ross has been particularly effective in reaching out to moderate and conservative Democrats. … National Journal, another Washington policy magazine, has described Ross as one of ‘Rahm’s Lieutenants.’ Ross is one of eight members of Congress who huddle with Emanuel during semiregular Thursday meetings to plot strategy.” (“Ross A Kinetic Player In ‘Red-To-Blue’ Plan,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 9/7/06)

And When She Ushered In A New Congress In January 2009, Then-Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi “Cupped Ross’ Cheeks” And Then Handed Him The Gavel
January 2009: As The New Congress Began, Speaker Pelosi “Briefly Cupped Ross’ Cheeks” Before Turning The Gavel Over To Him After Members Were Sworn In. “House members, having just been administered their oaths of office by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, began to file out of the chamber, jammed to capacity with the lawmakers and their children. Pelosi turned to leave the speaker’s perch and was greeted by Arkansas’ Rep. Mike Ross. They shook hands, and Pelosi briefly cupped Ross’ cheeks. Then the 111th Congress got down to business. Ross, who presided over the previous Congress for more than 100 hours, had been chosen by Pelosi to be the first speaker pro tempore of the new Congress because of ‘his firm grasp of procedure,’ according to a release from Pelosi’s office. Ross hammered the gavel. … It was up to Ross to mediate the debate on House Resolution 5, which would set the rules by which the Democratic majority will run the chamber.” (“Arkansans Gear Up For 111th Congress,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/7/09)

In Fundraising Plea, Former President Bill Clinton Reminds Voters Of Ross’ Three Decade History Of Liberalism, Beginning In The Early 1980’s
Former President Bill Clinton Notes Ross Helped His 1982 Campaign For Governor. “When I was running for governor of Arkansas in 1982, a talented and energetic young man named Mike Ross was a big help to me and my campaign.” (Emily Schultheis, “Bill Clinton Sends Fundraising Plea For Mike Ross In Ark.”, 2/12/14)

In 1988, Ross Was An Aide To Liberal Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis During His Presidential Bid Against George H.W. Bush And Effusively Praised His Convention Speech
Ross Ran The Dukakis Campaign In Arkansas. “Mike Ross of Prescott, an aide to Lieutenant Governor Winston Bryant, has been named director of the Arkansas campaign of Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/14/88)

Ross Called Dukakis’ Convention Speech “Maybe The Best Speech I Ever Heard.” “Arkansas reaction to Michael Dukakis’ speech Thursday night ranged from the sheer ecstasy of Dukakis supporters to the cautious encouragement of Jesse Jackson supporters. ‘Maybe the best speech I ever heard,’ Mike Ross, who was Dukakis’ floor whip for Arkansas, said.” (“Tremendous,” Gannett News Service, 7/22/88)

George H.W. Bush Carried Arkansas With 56% Of The Vote, Thoroughly Dismantling Liberal Dukakis In The General Election
When Ross Ran Dukakis’ Arkansas Campaign In 1988, George H.W. Bush Won In A Landslide. (
Bush Votes
Dukakis Votes

In 1991, Ross A Self-Described “Progressive” When He Joined The State Senate
As Ross Took His Seat In The State Senate In 1991, He Called Himself A “Progressive.” “Mike Ross of Prescott won’t feel like a newcomer when he takes his state Senate seat Monday. For four years, he was an administrative assistant to Lt. Gov. Winston Bryant, who was the Senate’s nominal presiding officer, and he knows the chamber’s players already. … Ross, 29, calls himself a ‘progressive’ who would prefer to plan ahead rather than react to problems after they have developed.”  (“Ross Takes Seat With Bills In Hand,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/13/91)

Early In His Career, “Ross Positioned Himself With The Progressive Wing Of The Democratic Party…” “Ross is a political ‘survivor,’ said Jay Barth, a political science professor at Hendrix College in Conway. Barth was a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September. He said that as a state senator and then during his first congressional campaign, Ross positioned himself with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But his district, like many areas of the South, began to lean more heavily Republican over the past decade, and Ross began to take a more conservative stance, Barth said. ‘He has been a very ambidextrous politician,’ Barth said.” (“Ross Wrapping Up 12-Year D.C. Stint,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 12/30/12)

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