Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

'08 Watch: Obama Stays Perfect, For Now...

For anyone who's taking attendance on Capitol Hill, last week was a busy one, as a bipartisan collection of 2008 presidential candidates bypassed senatorial duties for the campaign trail.

Sen. John McCain took the moral high ground of blasting as a "purely political stunt" Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to call a cloture vote on Saturday to end debate on a nonbinding resolution of disapproval on the president's Iraq policy. Instead, the Arizona Republican opted for Iowa where he joked about his love of ethanol -- the local product that he once opposed as a waste of federal subsidies.

Across the aisle, Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) missed a pair of votes Thursday on judicial nominees so that he could campaign in New Hampshire, a trip that featured a meet-and-greet at the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth.

And Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) missed both a Tuesday cloture vote on the $463.5 billion spending bill that funded half the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year and the vote on final passage for the spending bill Wednesday. Biden also missed the vote Wednesday to confirm a U.S. District Court judge, one of three judicial nominations so far this year missed by the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

All this and more can be found in washingtonpost.com's immense Congressional Votes Database, which now features a page listing the House and Senate members who have missed the most votes.

Three of the 10 senators who have missed the most votes so far in the 110th Congress are declared presidential candidates. A fourth, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), is considering running and has in the process missed more votes (9) than Dodd and other officially declared candidates.

Of the half dozen declared presidential candidates in the Senate, Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is the only one with perfect attendance so far. But that's not likely to last much longer, if Saturday is any example of the scheduling hazards that a campaign imposes on one's senatorial duties. Starting at a campaign event in South Carolina, Obama jetted up to Washington for the vote on the Iraq resolution, which took place around 2 p.m. ET. By late afternoon, he was in Richmond collecting the endorsement of Gov. Timothy Kaine (D-Va.) and raising money for the state's Democratic Party, before heading out to California for a string of events Sunday and Monday.

After the Saturday vote, an already haggard Obama told Capitol Briefing he wasn't even sure how he was getting to Richmond. "Driving, I think," he said, then pausing. "Maybe flying -- my staff doesn't tell me."

In no instance so far has a single senator's missed vote been the difference in a bill's passage in the Senate. But the trend of absentee presidential candidates is going to cause headaches for Reid as the year moves forward. He's got four declared presidential candidates on his side of the aisle, while only McCain and Sen. Sam Brownback (Kansas) have so far declared for the GOP nomination.

Brownback has been the most absent senator of those running for president, missing 22 votes this year. While his aides blamed the missed votes on an overseas trip to the Middle East, the Associated Press reported that only nine of those were called during the trip. The other 13 missed votes would still place Brownback at the top of the missed-vote list of 2008 contenders.

Here's the breakdown of the most missed votes among declared (or possible) candidates:

CANDIDATE                   TOTAL VOTES MISSED            % MISSED
Sam Brownback (R-Kansas)              22                     42.3
Joe Biden (D-Del.)                    12                     23.1
Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.)                   9                     17.3
Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)                   8                     15.4
John McCain (R-Ariz.)                  5                      9.6
Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)               2                      3.8
Barack Obama (D-Ill.)                  0                        0

By Paul Kane  |  February 21, 2007; 6:36 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama, McCaskill Plan Military Hospitals Bill
Next: House GOP Faces Reversal of (Absentee) Fortunes

Comments

Interesting that Brownback is #1 on the list. Is Democracy not high on his list of priorities?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 21, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Apparently Teddie kennedy is allowed to vote from his bar stool.

Posted by: HILLARYisAshemale | February 21, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

What may be most important to note about this situation is - while opponents may blast Obama for his 'lack of experience' at least he is responsible enough to fulfill his current duties as a senator. Which is to say that maybe 'lack of experience' has no bearing when compared to ability to fulfill one's duties especially in the face of the logistical nightmare of campaigning.

Posted by: Steve | February 21, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

People may say that Obama is "inexperienced", but he obviously takes the job very seriously.

Posted by: Caitlin | February 21, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I fear that Obama is only going to run on the antiwar platform. He needs to publicly discuss his views on all issues - we've heard how antiwar he is.

Posted by: BrianBroughton | February 21, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I fear that Obama is only going to run on the antiwar platform. He needs to publicly discuss his views on all issues - we've heard how antiwar he is.

Posted by: BrianBroughton | February 21, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a sensation. People are looking at him out of curiosity. He is black, but not descended from slaves. He is black but was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He is black, has no accomplishments or unusual experiences but has published two books, one of them a best seller. He's attractive because is colorful and out of the ordinary, like a new Panda bear at the zoo. People line up to see the new Panda bear. But who would vote for a Panda bear for President?

Posted by: Realist | February 21, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a sensation. People are looking at him out of curiosity. He is black, but not descended from slaves. He is black but was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He is black, has no accomplishments or unusual experiences but has published two books, one of them a best seller. He's attractive because is colorful and out of the ordinary, like a new Panda bear at the zoo. People line up to see the new Panda bear. But who would vote for a Panda bear for President?

Posted by: Realist | February 21, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"has no accomplishments"

Posted by: NOT a Realist | February 21, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Would people vote for a panda, realist? That may be the worst strawman I've ever seen. Throughout both of Mr Obama's books you get an insight into the man, his opinions and yes his 'unusual experiences' that is both refreshing and candid. Obama has plenty of the attributes that I'd welcome in a president and wish we were seeing more of in the current administration.

Posted by: Clab | February 21, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama has to give us his visions and plans for a safe world - starting from Iraq, Palestine/Israel to Kashmir conflict to Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. He must not be anti war in Iraq only because somehow US is fighting an already LOST war but he must give us his plans to withdraw from war US is supposedly winning in Afghanistan. He must give us his views on Global warming, the US economy etc;

Posted by: Naeem Chaudhry | February 22, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Senator Obama has to give us his visions and plans for a safe world - starting from Iraq, Palestine/Israel to Kashmir conflict to Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. He must not be anti war in Iraq only because somehow US is fighting an already LOST war but he must give us his plans to withdraw from a war US is supposedly winning in Afghanistan. He must give us his views on Global warming, the US economy etc;

Posted by: Naeem Chaudhry | February 22, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Senator Obama has to give us his visions and plans for a safe world - starting from Iraq, Palestine/Israel to Kashmir conflict to Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. He must not be anti war in Iraq only because somehow US is fighting an already LOST war but he must give us his plans to withdraw from a war US is supposedly winning in Afghanistan. He must give us his views on Global warming, the US economy etc;

Posted by: NaeemChaudhry | February 22, 2007 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm tired of the whole "not black enough" argument...so much, in fact, that I resent it. I closely identify with Obama because I am of mixed race also (white father, black mother) and the quest for identity under these circumstances is a challenging one. Just because someone isn't a descendent of slaves doesn't mean that a struggle isn't in place, and I'm living proof of that, just like Barack is. The notion that someone has to be a descendent of those who suffered over a century ago in order to be validated as truly "black" is like saying that domestic abuse only happens with a fist. And that line of thinking is wrong. Many times, like Obama, I've been reminded that I'm black: by the way I'm treated, by the indifference I get from others, and when I try to hail a cab or take a seat in church. What I've done with my life has nothing to do with my ethnicity, because a mirror doesn't change one's racial identity.

Unless you're Michael Jackson.

Posted by: PaulD | February 22, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of the whole "not black enough" argument against Barack Obama. So much, in fact, that I resent it. I closely identify with Obama because I am of mixed race also (white father, black mother) and the quest for identity under these circumstances is a challenging one. Just because someone isn't a descendent of slaves doesn't mean that a struggle isn't in place, and I'm living proof of that, just like Barack is. The notion that someone has to be a descendent of those who suffered over a century ago in order to be validated as truly "black" is like saying that domestic abuse only happens with a fist. And that line of thinking is wrong. Many times, like Obama, I've been reminded that I'm black: by the way I'm treated, by the indifference I get from others, and when I try to hail a cab or take a seat in church. And what do you do during your school years when your skin tone isn't dark enough to hang out with the black kids and you're too dark to be a part of the white crowd? What I've done with my life has nothing to do with my ethnicity, because a mirror doesn't change one's racial identity.

Unless you're Michael Jackson.

Posted by: Paul D | February 22, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about Obama being "inspiring" a "minority" etc. All I know is that he wants more government and we need smaller government that is well managed. That is why I am voting for Romney, social issues and religion of candidates mean nothing to me.

Posted by: Tyson | February 23, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I saw Presidential Canidate Barack Obama in Austin Texas this week and it was awesome! The crowd was estimated to be approximately 20,000 fellow American's standing in the rain starving for a change! If the American people vote on the issues and the record of our canidates instead of sound bites Barack Obama will be our next President!! Our Country is at a crossroad! Pay attention before you vote America! He's for real!!!!

Posted by: texans for obama | February 25, 2007 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Brian et al, Obama himself nailed it when he admonished the press when they asked him where was the substance, the details, in all these grand plans?

"The problem," (I paraphrase) he responded, "is not that the details aren't out there. The details are out there. You guys just aren't reporting on them. You guys are reporting on how I look in a swimsuit."

The details are out there. Look at the candidate's web site. White papers abound. Check out his two books from the library. His first, an autobiography, will enlighten you about where he comes from politically. The second will tell you exactly where he's going.

Are you relying too much on the press for all your answers? Go find them. They're out there!

Unless you PREFER to continue believing he has no platform, and want to keep hearing stories like how he looks in a swimsuit.
The details are out there. If you haven't found them, you are not looking.

A lazy electorate has led us to our present sorry condition. Don't just read blogs which tell you what someone ELSE thinks about the candidates. Go find the substance. Comb the voting records (readily accessible right here on this web site). Mine the web for old news stories from elected officials' own districts.

READ. THINK. And for God's sake, do not VOTE until you have!

Posted by: dwrites | February 26, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

We donot need any more taking..speaches..
We need action NOW..We need AMERCAN JOBS, FREE EDUCATION...HOME...Healths Care MASS TRANSPORTATION for Airport to airport..LIKE the Paris airport ..So wen it SNOWS ..people have a WAY of GOING HOME.. And in case of Mass attacks Where do this people in Airports go for Safety?And fruits
and veges..get to the Stores allso.BUILD THE TGV...Now put america to work while you still can...
In the Old centuries the KING and Emperos
Build City and Manoments Superhwy.(autobahn)What are the heads of States buliding NOW? love your Country

Posted by: siguptoo2msn.com | February 26, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

dwrites: Well said.

Posted by: rbingham | February 27, 2007 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Hello, very nice site! Please also visit my homepages:
corolla toyota730 toyota corollailf
Thanks!

Posted by: Arnold | March 7, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company