Politics

‘Telling revelation’ about Obama inauguration night actually old news

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

An anecdote in a new behind-the-scenes book by author Robert Draper has outraged liberals, but the revelation isn’t exactly news.

Draper writes about a boozy dinner gathering of prominent congressional Republicans on the night of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, at which the attendees plotted how to stop Obama’s agenda.

The takeaway from this revelation in the prologue of Draper’s book is that Obama never had a chance to succeed with Republicans in Congress determined to see him fail.

But despite breathless coverage by left-leaning news outlets like MSNBC and The Huffington Post, that meeting was actually first reported months ago in the opening scene of the first chapter of an eBook on the 2012 campaign by Carl Cannon and Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics.

In that book — which came out in November — Cannon and Bevan describe how Republicans — led by Fox News pollster Frank Luntz — gathered at a private dining room that night at the Washington, D.C. restaurant The Caucus Room.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was among those present at the dinner.

“Gingrich encouraged Republican members to go on the offensive against the ascendant Democrats, stressing his view that it was less important for them to have a specific alternative legislative agenda to the Democrats’ than an alternative vision — and a compelling way of communicating it,” Cannon and Bevan write.

Draper’s book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives,” was released this week. The prologue of the book describes the same dinner which included Republicans like Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.

The Huffington Post wrote that the scene in Draper’s book “provides a telling revelation for how quickly the post-election climate soured.”

“We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign,” California Rep. Kevin McCarthy says in Draper’s book.

Reached by The Daily Caller, Cannon of Real Clear Politics said, “Well, obviously, we had it first — the RealClearPolitics e-book came out in November — and it wasn’t just a passing reference: It was the opening scene in Chapter One, and we described that dinner in some detail.”

Cannon said he has “no quarrel with Robert Draper, who I’ve met a couple of times and is not only a good guy, but a very good reporter.”

“I’m certain he did all his own reporting,” he said. “But if journalists covering politics consider this dinner such a revelation, it would have been nice if they gotten excited about it last November.”

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