We explore the history of gatherings and protests on the Mall, including how the space was re-designed at the turn 20th century expressly to accommodate large crowds.
Guest Host: Tom Sherwood
D.C. voters rally behind incumbent candidates, despite being generally disgruntled about local leadership. A well-financed Maryland Democrat wins a bruising congressional primary that attracted national attention. And Virginia lawmakers inch closer toward settling a major dispute over the commonwealth’s budget. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
- Alan Suderman "Loose Lips" Columnist, Washington City Paper
- Sekou Biddle Democratic Candidate, D.C. Council (At-Large); Former Member, D.C. Council (D-At Large)
- Brian Moran Chairman, Virginia Democratic Party; Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates (D-46th District, Alexandria)
Politics Hour Video
Council At-Large Candidate Sekou Biddle talks about the racial divide among his voters and in the District.
Brian Moran, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, talks about women’s rights and his daughter’s documentary on Title IX.
MR. TOM SHERWOODFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Politics Hour." I'm Tom Sherwood, sitting in for Kojo Nnamdi. D.C. Democrat Sekou Biddle is either in or out as councilmember. We'll explore in-studio his unresolved at-large council race. Welcome, Sekou Biddle.
MR. SEKOU BIDDLEWelcome. Thank you.
SHERWOODThat's all you get to say. A bit later, we'll talk to Virginia Democratic Chairman Brian Moran. Big money trouble for those hoping Metro will ever get to Loudon County. And in studio, our guest analyst today, sitting in for me, Alan Suderman, better known as "Loose Lips" in the Washington City Paper. Alan.
MR. ALAN SUDERMANHi, Tom.
SHERWOODLet's start with scandals, always fun to talk about scandal. In this week's newspaper, you write about Proteus Spann. Who is that?
SUDERMANProteus Spann is a producer out in Los Angeles who happens to be one of many, many, many, many, many people who are part of Jeffrey Thompson's network...
SUDERMAN...of campaign donors. And Jeffrey Thompson, I'll explain, is a Medicaid contractor and also an accountant. He -- his Medicaid company owns one of the city's -- I think the largest city contract. And his homes -- his home and offices were raided by the FBI and IRS agents a couple of weeks ago throwing everything at the Wilson Building into turmoil and making a lot of politicians very, very, very nervous.
SHERWOODCenter of the campaign scandal of who got money, how, where and who, and so how does Proteus -- what a great name. How does Proteus -- I want to say that 20 times today. How does Proteus fit into this?
SUDERMANWell, that's a great question, and one I didn't answer 100 percent. But he is some kind of personal assistant to Mr. Thompson. He's also producing some movies out in L.A. that Mr. Thompson may or may not be involved with. He's a -- he's been very cagey with me. I've been talking to Proteus since last year when I first started looking into Thompson's money. And he likes to give me funny answers.
SUDERMANSo I'm still trying to figure it out, but the more I look at Jeff Thompson and his donations, the more and more I'm finding all sorts of members of this network who are far afield. I'll be having a story that comes out later today where -- I just talked to the guy this morning, but Jeff Thompson's longtime masseur, massage therapist...
SUDERMANThe guy who's been giving him massages for 20 years has also has been giving to D.C. politicians at the same time as Jeffrey Thompson's network.
SUDERMANSo go to my blog and see that story.
SHERWOODOK, one last thing on Proteus again. Did I say Proteus? Yes, I did. Proteus. Now, you said in the -- kind of mysteriously, you mention in the piece that he booked whole -- he books hotel rooms, either here or in Los Angeles.
SUDERMANNo, it was in D.C. at the Ritz Carlton downtown. And for years, according to a former staffer there, he's been checking in rooms for Thompson and his guests about once a month.
SHERWOODWell, you know, there are all kinds of rumors about what Thompson has been doing, but I think we'll leave it there and wait for your future stories. Sekou Biddle is in the studio here. What's the -- how many votes behind are you? And you have to put that BlackBerry away. Sorry.
BIDDLEYeah. I think...
SHERWOODWhat is it? What kind of...
SUDERMANHe's got an iPhone...
BIDDLEIt's an iPhone.
SUDERMAN...and an iPad.
SHERWOODIt's an iPhone. OK.
SUDERMANAnd he's also...
SHERWOODNo hints, no -- you can't get any tweets or anything from your staff.
SHERWOODHow many -- you're 543 votes behind.
BIDDLEI think that's we were in the last count.
SHERWOODOK. In the city, you and Vincent Orange led the way. He's slightly ahead of you. You don't get the official results till next Friday, April the 13th, when the votes are counted. What kind of -- when do we -- going to have the absentee ballots counted. There was at least 1,700 of those plus some other special ballots and questions. So there are several thousand ballots that are outstanding.
SHERWOODWhat kind of absentee ballot effort did you make during the campaign that gives you any hope that you can -- and also every time you wrinkle papers and put your bottle on, it goes out on the air. So don't do that. What do you have to do?
BIDDLEYeah. On absentee ballots?
SHERWOODAbsentee -- did you get a lot of people to do absentee ballots?
BIDDLEYeah. We certainly encourage and hand out absentee ballot applications to a lot of people. We knew, like everybody else knew, that this was happening during the middle of spring break for a lot of people who knew they were going to be away. So we want -- they want to make appropriate preparations. So we spent some time and energy making sure that people were aware the election was taking place during spring break and then helping them utilize the absentee ballot process, as well as the early voting.
SUDERMANBut I guess the big question, though, is, do you think you have a chance? Because, you know, a lot of people -- I mean, the numbers do not look good for you in terms of...
SHERWOODMike DeBonis did some kind of convoluted thing...
SUDERMANMath. He did a bunch of math.
SHERWOODI could not -- Mike DeBonis...
SHERWOOD...of The Post.
SHERWOODAnd I could not make sense of it, but it said you're toast.
SUDERMANWell -- and, you know, I've talked to a bunch of other people who live for this kind of stuff as well. And, you know, everyone -- the consensus, it seems to be that, you know, the math just is not in your favor and take a major miracle for you to pull this off.
BIDDLEYeah. Well, you know, the thing about that is that I've heard for the last five months that the math is not in our favor, and this wouldn't even be a contest. Yet we're here today talking about a gap of 543 votes, so I think that, you know, the consensus and the conventional wisdom has been wrong up until now. We're going to wait for all the votes to be counted before we come to any conclusion.
SUDERMANBut what do you -- I mean, how do you -- what do you think? I mean, what's your personal opinion? I mean, do you think you have a chance?
BIDDLEThere are more votes to be counted than there are in the difference between the two of us right now. So clearly, I think there's a chance that I can still win.
SHERWOODWell, mathematically, what -- well, what do you do if you don't win? As said in the lead-up to this story, you aren't a councilmember. You were a councilmember. Then you weren't a councilmember. Now, you're tied to be a councilmember. You might be a councilmember and may not be a councilmember. Will you endorse someone in the at-large race? David Grosso who is...
SHERWOOD...running an at-large campaign. Will you get -- will you stay involved in this election cycle or go back to the education world or...
BIDDLEI'm going to be involved as much as I can in making the city a better place. So, you know, exactly what that looks like, I don't know. Obviously, we're going to be very busy watching the absentee ballot count through the end of this -- you know, the voting is over, but the election is not. And we'll find out, hopefully, within a week, but it may be longer than that.
SUDERMANWell, you know, you've talked a little bit about Peter Shapiro. He was another candidate in the race, and he -- you know, the storyline is that he kind of ate into your base in Ward 3 and in Ward 1 and Ward 2, and, you know, if he hadn't been in the race, that you easily could have won. What do you think about, you know, the campaign he waged and where you're at now in terms of being so close and possibly being the victor, were it not for Mr. Shapiro?
BIDDLEYeah. Well, I have to correct you, Alan. I don't think I talked about Mr. Shapiro at all. I've talked about my campaign and the work that I and the volunteers and my dozens of hundreds of supporters around the city engaged in to run a winning campaign. You know, we're at a place where -- and we're going to look at an election in which under 16 percent of the residents voted. We've done a lot to encourage people to engage in the process. And so I think the more, the merrier. We want to get more people to come out and vote. We want to get more people engaged in the process.
SUDERMANBut do you think you would have won, had he not -- do you think -- I mean, do you think you would have easily won, were it -- you know, had he not been in the race?
BIDDLEWell, we don't know that I haven't easily won already. So, you know...
SHERWOODOh, you have...
BIDDLEWe could raise that question once we have an answer.
SUDERMANI think we can answer that question.
SHERWOODYou have an easy one.
SUDERMANYou have not easily won. I mean...
SHERWOODLet's hold up for one second. You can join the conversation by calling 1-800-433-8850. You may email us at Kojo -- it's email@example.com. Tweet us, @kojoshow, @kojoshow. It sounds like a rhyme. Well, I want to move on from the election because we won't know until next Friday. This week, on election night, Marion Barry, in his election night speech, brought up the subject of African-Americans and Asians. And he talked about how he wanted to do a lot to clean-up and do a lot of good things on Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Avenue. But then he went on to say this:
COUNCILMEMBER MARION BARRYWe got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses and dirty shops. And getting -- they ought to go. I'll just tell you that right now, you know? But we need African-American business people to be able to...
SHERWOODThat's from the -- I might add -- the NBC Washington Channel 4.
SUDERMANReal fast. Tom, how many times have your stories gotten Marion Barry in trouble, if you had to guess?
SHERWOODWell, you know, I have to say this wasn't my story. I just happened to do it because our cameraman got...
SUDERMANNo. But it's your story.
SHERWOODWell, you know, I...
SUDERMANYou first broke this.
SHERWOODLet me just say this about Barry, what he says. Barry tells everyone I made Tom Sherwood. And I always say, yes, you did. So let's just leave it at that. But this remark was very -- I thought -- I think Mike DeBonis will bring up him again, and from The Post had a very good long story about this today. But at the end of it, Mr. Biddle, he quoted Gary Cha, I think. I can't remember -- it's like C-H-A. Korean Grocers Association and owner of the Yes Organic Market...
SUDERMANYes Organic (word?).
SHERWOOD...who said that Barry was -- used terrible words, and he shouldn't have done that. But there is an issue in the African-American community and Mr. -- and Gary says that he himself has said 1,000 times to the Korean grocers people, you've got to do better to open your stores up, to make them nicer, to invite people in, to take the Plexiglas down. What did you think of what Barry said and the general issue of African-American, Asian-American relations?
SUDERMANYeah. I mean...
SHERWOODOr are they worse now because of this?
SUDERMANWell, I'd have to believe they are worse now. I think those comments are completely unacceptable, right? We have an increasingly diverse city. And when you begin to make comments like that, you only exacerbate existing riffs that people have among each other across the city. And there's no place for them in our city.
SHERWOODWell, how do you address the issue? Several of the -- I've interviewed a couple of people about this. Asian-American groups say that they want to work with Barry. They want to go around. Barry says he wants the consumer and the regulatory agency of the city and Department of Health to go through all businesses. He said I don't care whether who owns them. I want them all to -- he said we don't get the kind of enforcement that you get in Ward 3. And I think, you know, a lot of people would say that's true.
BIDDLEWell, you know, what's stopping Councilmember Barry from the last eight years ago in the Council from making that happen? Nothing. I mean, this is what's unbelievable about this is that you're insulting a group of people. You're implying that they're somehow driven by a racial group, and yet he's been in a position to do something about this for years and apparently hasn't done it.
SHERWOODAlan, your thought -- what are your -- you've covered Barry a lot, too. Your thoughts about the flap?
SUDERMANYeah. I mean, it brings to mind this big question. It's like, you know, how much damage can Barry do to the civil rights legacy that he established early on in his career and then, you know, becoming one of the most dynamic mayors in the country, black or white? You know, he has this legacy. And it just -- you know, it just seems like he just is constantly taking a baseball bat to that legacy. And, you know, and you have to wonder, you know, what's the final picture of Barry going to be if he keeps doing these -- you know, saying these...
SUDERMAN...kind of embarrassments? And you look -- I mean, the -- what's interesting about this story is that it didn't come out the night he said it. And that was because there were hardly any reporters there. It wasn't in The Post the next day. It's like -- because, you know, Barry is not -- the only time people give Barry lots of attention is when he does these kind of, you know, really embarrassing things. And so, you know, it just -- you know, it's sad in a lot of ways.
SHERWOODThat's Alan Suderman. He's the "Loose Lips" columnist for the Washington City Paper. We're talking to Sekou Biddle, who may be or may not be the next at-large councilmember in the Council. I'm assuming if you win this race, you've got -- you're home free for the November general election, right?
BIDDLEWell, you know, we'll have to put together an entire election campaign.
SHERWOODNo, as a candidate, you have to say no, no, every vote matters. Every day matters.
BIDDLEWell, certainly, every vote matters.
SHERWOODI was just (unintelligible).
BIDDLEEvery day matters. You know, it's -- we, obviously, have a different election cycle now than we've had ever before. We've always had the primary in the fall, where there's just been two months from primary to general. This is going to be a very different general election than we had in the past.
SHERWOODI want to see if I can get your blood pressure up a little. Some people said you would have won if you were more dynamic, if you weren't so low key. I said the other night on Capitol Hill with -- appearing with Tommy Wells, the Ward 6 councilmember, and Nikita Stewart from The Post. I said if you had a stronger pulse or a pulse at all and you have just been -- you're too -- you're almost too nice to be a candidate. You don't have a fire about you. You know...
BIDDLEWell, what's hard to reconcile about that, Tom, is I've been reading the last few days, you know, comments about how we ran an energetic campaign, and Phil Pannell from Ward 8 talked about seeing me in Ward 8 consistently and how we ran an energetic campaign...
SHERWOODYou were much more energetic this time around. That is true. I mean...
BIDDLEWell -- and once again, back to my point, to Alan earlier, I've been told for five months that there was no way to win, and yet we are right at the edge of winning this election. So -- and everyone's got their comments and suggestions about what works and what does not. I would offer that what I did and what we did in this campaign has got us to a point where we can win.
SUDERMANWhat do you make of the racial breakdown of the votes? Did you see that map that the Post did where they had your supporters versus Orange's supporters? I mean, it's quite stark.
SHERWOODIt's just like Fenty-Gray.
SUDERMANYeah. It's just like Fenty-Gray. It's a city divided. White voters are voting overwhelmingly for you, especially in Ward 3. I mean, there was just a huge breakdown. And then, you know, East of the River and in Ward 5, you know, Vincent Orange just dominated the vote there. I mean, what's your feeling on it?
BIDDLEOK. I would offer that it's not just like Fenty-Gray. I think in the Fenty-Gray, we had four, five, seven, eight on one way and one, two, three, six go another. And in this -- at right this point, I'm leading in one, two, three, four and six.
SHERWOODYou're virtually split in Ward 4, though, right?
BIDDLEYeah, a lead is a lead.
SHERWOODOne, two, three and six.
BIDDLEI mean, we're talking about elections divided by (unintelligible) votes.
SHERWOODAren't one, two, three and six primarily white?
SUDERMANYeah. But big picture here, I mean, you -- big picture, you won the white vote, Vincent (unintelligible).
SHERWOODIs there a racial divide?
BIDDLEWell, so that's an interesting question. I don't know 'cause we don't know...
SHERWOODYou don't know?
BIDDLEWell, let's drill down. We're looking at where the votes came from, and assuming that that somehow is a surrogate for who the voters are, what I do know is I've been across the city and campaigned in front of lots of people and earned lots of votes from various diverse constituents across the city. There may be a racial or class divide, as we're seeing in electorate. There may not be. But I don't know 'cause I'm not actually interviewing each individual voter to find out who they vote for.
SHERWOODOh, but then...
SUDERMANI don't buy that.
SHERWOOD…I'll say it for you that there is a racial divide. As a reporter, I go around the city. I see how things are different, and people have gotten into trouble when they say, you know, the snow is picked up in Ward 3 but not in Ward 8, those types of things. I mean, there is a racial concern. There's a drop, significant drop in the African-American community in this city, below 50 percent maybe now in the last census.
SHERWOODMany African-Americans that I talk to in the business community are worried they're losing their -- the stronghold partly that Barry brought with him when he first was elected mayor, that there is a concern that the African-Americans are losing out, and they're not -- and you don't see that? You don't -- people don't (word?) ?
BIDDLEWell, I'm not saying that that doesn't exist, and that, in some ways, by continuing to harp on it, we're not actually exacerbating that fact. But what I can tell you in this election, in my experience, was that the more that I had the opportunity to interact with voters, the more those voters I won over. And the fact of the matter is I started my political career serving residents of Ward 3 and 4. So there's logic that follows that I would naturally have a base there and radiate outward from those communities.
SHERWOODOK. Let's hear from David Grosso. David, I think, is on the line now. David is an at-large candidate in the -- for the November election. David, are you there?
MR. DAVID GROSSOTom, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.
SHERWOODOK. I want you to be your aggressive campaign self. What do you think about the racial divide in the city? We should tell people you're white or -- just let everybody know, right?
BIDDLERight. He's also an independent, so...
SHERWOODHe's an independent.
BIDDLE...his race will largely be a contest against Michael Brown.
SHERWOODMichael Brown. That's true but...
SHERWOOD...you still effect how the race is seen. What are your own thoughts about it?
GROSSOYou know, Tom, I think it's more of a divide. You know, I mean, I've been all over the city now over the past seven months knocking on doors, talking to all sorts of people, and the divide really is about people that want change and want a better city and want a better government in the District than it is a racial divide.
GROSSOI mean, I have, you know African-Americans, whites, Asians, Hispanics, everybody who's stepping up and saying, look, what we really want here is a, you know, council with integrity that can be held accountable and actually do a good job for us. So I don't see the racial divide at this point. I think that it is more about an issue and about moving the city forward.
SHERWOODOK. All right, good. Well, thank you. I'll be talking to you more as the campaign goes on. Thanks very much for calling in.
GROSSOAll right. Thank you. Have a great day.
SHERWOODOK. On another subject, we're going to -- the -- there's a citizen initiative to ban corporate contributions to any elections in the city. Bryan Weaver, who's been leading that, is on the on line now. Bryan, you have a comment? You guys got 10,000 signatures on Election Day, Tuesday?
BRYAN WEAVERYeah. I think we're actually going to be over 10,000. You know, 250 volunteers, we hit every ward. We hit the -- at least the top five precincts in every ward. So, you know, we're feeling pretty good. We feel like we're actually sort of building momentum in every part of the city.
SHERWOODShould I ask Sekou if he has one of the copies of petitions with him?
BIDDLEI do. I do.
SUDERMANHave you signed yet, Tom?
SHERWOODI don't sign things, except checks.
SHERWOODAnd not money orders. No money orders either.
SUDERMANOh. Hey, Bryan, it's Alan. I got a question for you. You know, the mayor has been kind of cagey on his answers about whether or not he supports this. He said, let's take a comprehensive look and then maybe it's a good idea. Does that actually help your effort when the kind of powers-that-be don't get behind it?
WEAVERLook, I sort of view this as a carrot and a stick. To have this initiative happen, we really have had to force the council into action. And, you know, Mary Cheh talked about this as being a two-track approach, that you can have this initiative going forward, seeking to corporate contributions. I love for us to be in a position where we end up with something that ends up being far more transparent, far more aggressive towards bundling, maybe have an element of a public financing in it.
WEAVERBut we can't do that as citizens via an initiative. That has to be something that's fostered and borne out of the Wilson Building or out of the mayor's office. Now, I think..
WEAVERI think they're all sort of, you know, hedging their bets at the moment and seeing, you know, seeing where this ballot initiative goes.
SHERWOODMayor Gray said this week that he would have his own proposals for election reforms on May 15. And we pointed out that's the special Ward 5 election day. So he said, well, maybe May 16. But, Sekou Biddle, if -- where election reforms do you want to see? Obviously for Initiative 70 again...
SHERWOOD...but are there others?
BIDDLEYeah, I mean, I would like to see us really look at he relationship between, you know, how we allow lobbyist and contractors to give directly to political campaigns. It's clear that, you know, you have folks who are buying in because of their own particular interest, and you hear far too many people talk about supporting candidates for their business interests as opposed to what's in the best interest of the city. And as long as you allow that to go on, we're going to continue to hurt the bottom line and what good for the city of overall.
SHERWOODI've had this discussion with Brian that my concern is we -- the, you know, federal government -- the federal elections campaign, they ban corporate donations, but they're -- the money is awash from individual giving, from both persons and now with the Supreme Court decision about the citizens that any super PAC can be put together. And the money will be dispersed, and we'll know less about it than we do even now. Is that a concern at all?
BIDDLEWell, sure. And then you get to consider all those things, but what we're looking at right now is a situation in which it looks to be pretty transparent in which individuals are actually buying influence and the public policy agenda they want for their industry or for themselves and that's certainly not acceptable.
MR. BRIAN MORANWhen you were...
SHERWOODBrian -- I'm sorry.
MORANWhen you were a councilmember and, you know, you had -- there were lobbyist, you know, co-hosting fundraisers for you, I mean, what was that experience like? Would they hand you checks and say, you know, I'm giving you this money? You know, you better take notice of this or -- I mean, what was the experience like?
BIDDLEI actually never had any experience like that to be perfectly honest with you.
SHERWOODNo one's ever handed you a check, money order, cash?
MORANBut -- no, but when the...
SHERWOODYou're under oath.
MORANBut when lobbyists were co-hosting fundraisers for you...
MORAN...you know, what was -- what would they -- would they say anything? I mean, where was the -- was there, you know, any hint of pay to play? Where was -- any -- was there any malevolent kind of...
BIDDLENo, you know, and I think, you know, context matters here, right? I was -- my situation would happen very, very quickly. I was in office one day and then running a campaign the next, and we're moving very quickly. So, you know, the reality is even in the position I was in, there was very little opportunity to really craft a new agenda based on other and outside influence. So, you know, I think that my situation was unique in that way, you know.
BIDDLEBut I have told people, and this is true, we received many more overtures from individuals seeking to give to a constituent services fund through my office, then we receive request from constituents for actual funds.
SHERWOODOK, good. Thank you very much. And, Brian, thank you for calling in. I appreciate it.
BRIANNot a problem.
SHERWOODWe're going to go now back to the Barry thing 'cause someone has called in. Jim from North Potomac, Md., is calling in and saying Barry's comment in context was a rational statement. There wasn't any animus at all. Jim, are you there?
JIMYeah, hi. Hello?
SHERWOODIs that true? Is that true that you didn't think there was any animosity in Barry's statement? It was pretty firmly made.
JIMOh, I think that I'm -- and I say that as somebody who is normally in agreeing with you and -- not normally, but I'm not as -- like these critics of Barry's -- on and off. But in simply listening to it, it just struck me as -- I live here, I'm a baby boomer, almost 60. I've lived here all my life and living in and out of the city.
JIMAnd anyway, it struck me that when -- your perspective seemed -- well, it's easy for -- I say this as a white, very white American to project onto the Asians coming over here living with African-Americans an attitude that we project a lot of our own nonsense onto them. And it's -- I think, from their point of view, at least how it seems to me, that the Koreans who (unintelligible) Of course -- well, let me get just a sort of a bottom line...
SHERWOODYes, that'll be good.
JIMWell, it seems -- yeah, sorry.
SHERWOODThat's all right. And so you're not a professional person, go ahead. Alan shouldn't have laughed. Go ahead, sir.
SUDERMANThat was Sekou.
JIMOK. It's just that you're saying, won't this threaten and hurt the black community? And I would say, well, yes, that does, and -- but that is not the fault of the Korean who comes in there...
SHERWOODAll right, sir.
JIM...and that Plexiglas (unintelligible). They are not intending to do that, and I think it wouldn't be all that hard to. It's something that should be -- there's no natural enmity.
SHERWOODAll right, sir.
JIMAnd it shouldn't be...
SHERWOODI think we got it. Thank you very much. I appreciate your phone call. Let's hear another phone call in this subject. Jerry from Washington, D.C, you don't think Barry was being racist just because he was talking about another race?
JERRYWell, I think, you know, I mean, we have to get into parsing things because I think we're getting knee-jerked these day. As soon as somebody says something about another race, another -- oh my god, it's racism. Oh my god. You know, I mean we need to qualify our remarks and say, you know, some Asian restaurants, you know? I mean, if he's stating a fact, that this is his experience, then that's once thing, you know.
JERRYSo he -- we certainly -- I'm certainly against racism, and I think we can all agree on that. It's just, you know, how does it -- are we getting knee-jerked? And, you know, that's number one thing. So he did qualify his remarks after that and...
SHERWOODOop, we lost the caller. All right. Well, we'll wrap that up. And Barry has said this in the Asian American groups have said they'll work with him and go around the ward 8 to fix this, that's a good thing?
BIDDLEYeah, it's good thing.
BIDDLEBut I think, you know, the concern here is if he's got a concern about the quality of what's going on in stores and restaurants across the ward, that's fine, and he should speak to that, and he should do something about it. And so it's not clear to me what the value of it is. And it's clear with the damage when you begin to inject this as an Asian American issue as opposed to something about the quality of stores and shops and restaurants operating in the ward.
SUDERMANYeah. And I will say that at one campaign event, I heard Barry say that he was crafting legislation that would require corner grocery stores to sell fresh fruits and vegetables. So, you know, that somehow, I think, ties into the point he was trying to make and did poorly and, you know. And I don't -- I disagree with the caller saying that, you know, that we need to parse Barry's words. I think what he said was pretty deplorable...
SHERWOODYeah. And as someone who drives around the city also, Ward 8 needs better services. And, again, I commented that DDOT is repaving Martin Luther King now, substantial repaving going on right now. There's a lot of public works, infrastructures that's going on there. There's a lot new housing there, (unintelligible) and all those types of things.
SUDERMANNew bar at Uniontown.
SHERWOODThe -- well, Uniontown was a -- but there is a kind of down-at-the-heels aspect of that. I'm concerned that, you know, the Homeland Security big grandiose plan is to build a $5 billion headquarters there. It's not going anywhere for now. And it's a lot of economic development. It's not going to come there, so the city may have to step up more than it has in the past. Sekou Biddle.
BIDDLEYeah. Well, I would agree.
SHERWOODLast remark, you don't have a great campaign between now and Friday.
SHERWOODHow are you going to spend a week waiting to find out whether you won or not? That must be agonizing.
BIDDLEWell, you know, my original plan until the results came in where to spend -- this is obviously spring break, and after having spent the last five months running very hard in the campaign, I was planning to spend some downtime with my family and especially my boys who were off for spring break. I've had a little bit less downtime that I originally planned. But, you know, we're just going to be getting prepared and getting up to speed on what's going to be going on our Board of Elections, so we're able to, you know, properly observe the process and see what the outcome is.
SHERWOODGreat. But we'll see you Friday -- next Friday down at the Board of Elections.
BIDDLEI believe you will.
SHERWOODAnd bring doughnuts and coffee. Thank you for coming in, Sekou.
SHERWOODWe're going to take a moment, and we're going to have Brian Moran come in from Virginia, all the way in from Virginia to talk about...
SHERWOODThe Hinterlands, the far frontier. Do you have any questions, Mr. Sekou Biddle, for Brian Moran as you go out the door (unintelligible) ?
BIDDLEI don't think I have any questions for Brian.
SHERWOODHe's a Democrat.
BIDDLEHe is a Democrat.
SUDERMANYou could hit him up for donation.
SHERWOODWe'll check his wallet as he walks in.
BIDDLEI might do that for you.
SHERWOODWell, here he comes. Do you have any donations you want to give to Sekou Biddle while you sit down? Oh, you should see the look on his face.
MORANI'm officially strictly Virginia.
SHERWOODStrictly Virginia, OK. That ought to be good.
SHERWOODWe're on (word?). Alan, do -- have we missed any stories we haven't talked about while we hook Mr. Moran up here?
SUDERMANYeah. There's one we talked earlier, but you didn't want me to bring it up on the air but...
SHERWOODWell, do then.
SUDERMANThe Harry Thomas Jr. legacy continues to claim victims and that was Ellen London, head of the Children Youth and Investment Trust Corporation. She got the axe this week. She oversaw the organization while Harry Thomas was using it to steal several hundred thousand dollars worth of city money. And she's now the second person, the second former director, to lose her job because of the Harry Thomas blowback.
SUDERMANMillicent West, who ran the Homeland Security Agency, she -- the mayor asked her to resign a couple -- not too long after the Thomas affair blew up. So that's now two people who have lost their jobs.
SHERWOODAnd maybe we should wrap up that whole scandal stuff going on in the District by pointing out what Colby King said in -- over the weekend that, well, the voters had their say. But, now, we'll have to say of the U.S. attorney Ronald Machen.
SUDERMANOh, yeah. It turns out the voters didn't really say much about it.
SHERWOODThat was pretty flat, yeah. Brian Moran, would you come right into this, sir? Was -- a big issue is the economy this year, jobs.
MORANJobs, jobs, jobs.
SHERWOODJobs, jobs, jobs. But, you know, the March job report came out this morning, 121,000 I think it was.
SHERWOODThat's about half of what people were saying. I was watching CNBC this morning, and some guy said, oh, it's not going to 220. It's going to be more like 240. One hundred twenty-one is going to be a bad news for the Democrats, I would think. How do you explain that?
MORANNo, I think it's very good news. It's 121,000 new private sector jobs. Tom, the trajectory is correct here. This is, what, 25 straight months of job growth. Unemployment rate decreased to 8.2 percent from 8.3. Now, that -- is that robust job growth? Is that the job growth we would, you know, desire? I mean, certainly it is improving. The trajectory is correct, and the economy is improving. So it's good news, and it demonstrates that this is a gradual recovery.
MORANWe suffer two greatest depressions since the Great Depression of 1929, and we're gradually coming out of it. And the president deserves a great deal of credit for that. And so Democrats, I think, are pleased and look forward to continuing job growth in improving an economy over the next several months.
SHERWOODThat's Brian Moran. He's the chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. You can join the conversation at 1-800-433-8850. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may tweet us, @kojoshow. Alan, do you ever go to Virginia?
SUDERMANI hope so. It's a lovely commonwealth of Virginia. It's beautiful this time of year.
SHERWOODWell, you know, some people think you guys need to build a new bridge across the Potomac River from Maryland to Virginia so Alan can get over there.
SUDERMANYeah. Well, when my Costco membership was up to date, I was a regular in Northern Virginia.
SHERWOODOh, in Pentagon City.
SHERWOODBut that's hardly Virginia. But what if -- I want to get to the general assembly and the fact that the budget is -- but I do think the bridge, when Joe Hazel and the founder of a restaurant whose name I always forget -- he's 98 years old now and he's still as active as ever -- they had a business conference. They say we need another bridge across the Potomac River. Is there a Democratic Party position on there?
MORANWell, the fact is the Democratic Party...
MORANThe Democratic Party led by Tim Kaine, Mark Warner before him and members of legislature had been fighting tooth and nail to invest in transportation for Virginia. We recognized that investments and transportations and our infrastructure would create jobs, improve our economy, and we have been fighting that struggle now for well over a decade.
MORANAnd we'll continue to fight it because we think the infrastructure both in fixing our bridges, improving our rail and mass transit as well as maintaining our roads and bridges to make sure that they were safe to travel on is one of our top priorities in the commonwealth. And...
SHERWOODWill that bring us to the budget?
SHERWOODAnd the budget doesn't have the additional $150 million...
SHERWOODThree -- excuse me -- $300 million. There's a great concern that with Metro extending to Loudon County that the toll road will be too expensive. Are you going to be able to work this budget? Do you think Sen. Saslaw would be able to work this project?
MORANWell, just chatted with Sen. Saslaw this morning. The Senate Democrats are fighting the good fight, and they're fighting it successfully. They included more money for public transportation. They're making sure that we have a safety net that works and provides the critical services to our fellow citizens, in addition to fighting for additional transportation money.
MORANThe $300 million, which is the specific issue, would mitigate tolls in -- on the Dulles Toll Road to pay for rail to Dulles. Now, rail to Dulles has been a major transportation project for not only Northern Virginia but for the entire area (unintelligible) region.
SHERWOODI personally want it because I want to fly out of Dulles. But I'm not driving out there and not paying to go that far.
MORANRight. Well, that's why I say that this is a critical measure for the entire region, not just Virginia and certainly not just Northern Virginia. And if we don't get the $300 million from the state budget, that means Northern Virginians will have to pay more to travel on that toll road. And the estimates could be as much as $9 roundtrip, $4.50 per toll one-way, $9 roundtrip. So that's why they're fighting so hard for that $300 million. In fact, I mean, it's a fairness issue.
MORANThis is going to benefit the -- certainly all of Virginia and even the region. The federal government is putting in money. But this isn't right for just Northern Virginians to pay those additional tolls to an amount that's just really -- that's just excessive.
SHERWOODAnd Loudon County has until -- is it June or later this year where it decides whether it's going to put up some more money?
MORANWell, it is the...
SHERWOODIt just seems like transportation ought to be the number one issue in Northern Virginia (unintelligible).
MORANWell, we've -- we talk about it, and it does generate a great deal of economic activity and job growth. And so transportation has been a challenging issue. And we would hope, in this case, that the state does step up, provide the additional resources so that we could ultimately realize our goal of having rail to Dulles.
SHERWOODListen, can we hear from -- hold you -- well, go ahead, Alan.
SUDERMANWell, just on the same topic, Tom, you know, the -- Mayor Gray was kind of annoyed with President Obama for a budget that withheld, I think, $100 million or more from the Metro budget, you know, that had been promised by the federal government. You know, what do you think about that? I mean, you know, Northern Virginians rely on that...
SHERWOODThere was a big fight for Virginia and Maryland. D.C. used to put up $50 million a year. The Feds were going to do $150 million. Now that he's cut back 15 percent. That's $150 million over the 10-year period. That's a lot.
MORANMm hmm, mm hmm. Well, I'm a biased...
SHERWOODYour Democratic president, I might add.
MORANWell, our future Democratic president as well. I'm biased. I'm a daily Metro commuter. I take the Blue Line in from Alexandria into the city every day. So I think we need to invest more in Metro. I think it does a great job under restrained resources here. You know, I'm -- we -- it needs more infusion of...
SUDERMANBut you think it does a great job? 'Cause, I mean, there's at least a few -- if you read Twitter, there are so many people unhappy with...
MORANEverybody complains. Well, I -- sure, I can understand people are frustrated with the elevators and escalators that don't work on a regular basis. It's frustrating...
SUDERMANBut it just seems like a dysfunction that kind of permeates the entire agency sometimes.
MORANThere are challenges. But I suggest drive. If you want to drive into Virginia or from Virginia into the District, it's a very frustrating experience. And so I still think Metro is far superior. And with the rising gas prices, I've actually seen an increase on Metro and the use, and we need to invest in that. So I hope Congress and the president are able to make the necessary investments in public transportation.
SHERWOODThe general manager of Metro, Mr. Sarles, said, you know, one of the problems -- mistakes was that we built a unique system. You know, the escalators could not just be easily fixed. You couldn't just go out and get a part. There are no parts. They have to be built now because they're now exchanging the escalators with escalators that actually will have parts you can go out and buy when you need them. Let's hear a little more on transportation.
SHERWOODWe're -- let's see, we're going to go to Lou in Vienna, Va. Brian, you need to -- Mr. Moran, you need to put on your headphones. Vienna, Northern Virginia needs better traffic patterns. Why can't we solve it, Lou?
LOUYeah. Thank you, Tom. I appreciate you having me on. And I just happen to be calling from, as I told your screener, the parking lot known as I-95 South. I...
SHERWOODYou're not driving -- you're hands-free, I hope.
LOUYes, sir, I am.
SHERWOODWell, we're checking.
LOUAt least that's what I'm going to tell you, all right?
SHERWOODThat sounds OK. Go ahead. We'll believe everything else you're saying.
LOUAnd I think that state cop is about two miles behind me where he's been for the last hour.
SHERWOODOK, Lou. What's your question to Mr. Moran?
LOUMy question is -- and it's sort of an open-ended question. Obviously, I'm not a scholar in traffic logistics or any of this sort of this stuff, but I will tell you that I remember growing up in Norfolk and coming -- and driving up to D.C., right, to go to IKEA when IKEA first opened. I remember this, what I thought at the time, was a very big highway, OK? So flash forward. I've lived on the West Coast. I've lived in several areas, right? I come back here at the nation's capital, and I'm appalled.
LOUI, like -- it's like nothing has changed in Virginia in terms of the traffic patterns. And let's get off Metro, right? I mean this is not about Metro. This is about -- I'm looking at medians here that have room for five more lanes. Every vacation I take to go back to Norfolk to see my family, not to mention -- let's talk about what, you know, what benefit could come on the tax revenue side of businesses to turn more sale (word?) because people can get to where they're going and get to where they're going faster, yada, yada, yada.
LOUWhat is causing this ridiculous problem in Virginia, the highways and interstates? And what...
SHERWOODLet's let Mr. Moran -- let's let him answer.
LOUAnd what is going to be done to fix it? Because I -- frankly, it just seems regressive, and I'm like, how do you grow an economy and, therefore, a tax base if you don't improve the roads? And now...
SHERWOODOK, we got it. Let him answer the question. We're almost running out of time.
MORANPlease give me your name and email. Let's talk. I want you to run for the House of Delegates because that has been the obstruction in Virginia. We have a House of Delegates that refuses to recognize that we need additional revenue for transportation.
LOUOver 20 years, though, sir?
MORANIt -- we haven't raised gas tax...
SHERWOODThank you, Lou. I'm going to cut you off now, but thank you very much.
MORANOh. And I want you to run for office 'cause -- people need to get outraged and passionate about this issue. I feel your pain. I've driven the roads of the commonwealth for years. And the 95 south route into 64 to get down to Norfolk is just a nightmare in the afternoon...
SUDERMANThe traffic is too damn bad party.
MORANWell, I like that. The -- frankly, we have attempted any number of ways to try to invest the necessary resources.
SHERWOODBut did you...
MORANBut, frankly, the gas tax has not been raised in the commonwealth of Virginia since 1986.
SHERWOODWell, it's something like 20 percent...
MORANSeventeen-and-a-half cents. And, obviously, it doesn't take an economics major to realize that 17 1/2 cents today does not purchase what it did in 1986, right? I mean, it doesn't go very far. And then you combine that with vehicles that are becoming more gas-conscious, better mileage, which is a good thing, there's less and less revenue. So you have to find some other source of revenue to invest in our roads. And so Lou is absolutely correct.
MORANAnd, frankly, it -- you know, having served in the Virginia legislature for 12 years, it -- we just would not get the necessary cooperation from other regions, particularly the House Republicans to invest in transportation and -- to improve our economy. I mean, this is...
SHERWOODBut sometimes transportation people do say, though, that you can't build your way out of this mess, that no matter how you reconfigure the roads, they're going to be filled. And you just can't keep adding lanes and adding roads. You know, if 66 gets jammed, then there's no place for it to go when it gets to the District line and the Potomac River that you could -- but...
MORANWell, there's the...
SHERWOODBut you could do -- I don't -- I hate to call it alternative as if this is some kind of weird science. But, you know, something different more for Metro, I mean, more commitment to Metro?
MORANMore commitment to Metro. There are capacity issues.
MORANAnd now, Tom, it's really an area where there's a safety concern, that the maintenance isn't even being provided, the necessary maintenance on our roads and bridges. So there's a safety issue as well as a capacity issue that we need to improve.
SHERWOODI want to go to another issue, which...
SUDERMANThank God. I can't talk about traffic. It makes my stomach turn...
MORANI know. But, as Lou says, 20 years, it's been -- we've been arguing, debating this issue.
SHERWOODCan we disclose where Loose Lips lives? Do we want to discuss...
SUDERMANNo, everyone knows. I live in...
SHERWOODWhere do you live?
SUDERMAN...much-cheaper-than-D.C. Maryland where my wife works at a...
SHERWOODName that location in Maryland where you live.
SUDERMANWell, realtors call it North Bethesda, but everyone else called it...
SHERWOODIt's called Gaithersburg.
SUDERMANNo, it's Rockville, Tom.
SHERWOODRockville. I thought it was Gaithersburg.
SUDERMANYou know, you don't even -- they're all the same to you, aren't they (unintelligible) there?
SHERWOODOnce you get past the Tastee Diner in Bethesda, it's all wasteland.
SUDERMANAnyway, you can ask my wife. I get sick just even thinking about traffic, much less talking about it.
SHERWOODBut if you lived any closer, you could get home and see your young child faster.
SUDERMANOh, if they paid me more, I could do that, so...
SHERWOODWell, we won't get into that. I hate to go from a funny -- kind of funny subject to a serious subject, but, you know, you talked about electing people to the House of Delegates and to the Senate. David Englin, who is seen as a rising star in the party, has announced he's not running again. What happened there?
MORANWell, I can't speak to what happened...
SHERWOODWell, I don't mean the details of it. We should say he's announced he's not -- he's had an extra-marital affair, and he's not going to run again. But is he going to resign or is he just not going to run again?
SUDERMANNo, go into the details.
MORANYeah, well, David was...
SHERWOODWe went into his -- to Alan's marriage details, so...
MORANDavid was and continues to be a very articulate, forceful voice on progressive issues. I had the honor of serving with him for a couple of years in the legislature. He's -- he was a hard worker and very, as I say, effective progressive voice in the legislature. And, you know, there's obviously a personal tragedy that's occurring, and I want to provide -- you know, respect their privacy, and I hope it all -- I hope it works out.
SHERWOODHe was a pretty interesting guest on here a few weeks ago. So let's stay in elected politics. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
MORANWell, he was one of the ones leading the voice on opposing these bills that were coming out of the legislature that was so extreme: the personhood piece of legislation...
MORAN...the sonogram bill that will require the ultrasound. I mean, there's a real erosion of women's rights.
SHERWOODDo you think it's a war on women, as Democrats are characterizing it, nationwide? And the Republicans hate it when we say that...
MORANI know. Women -- I mean, that's, you know...
SHERWOODThat's really a campaign...
MORANWe try to use language that's respectful and helps disclose as opposed to discourage it. But the fact is, Tom, we need to get people's attention. There is an erosion. And, unless people wake up and realize that, you know, these rights gradually erode. And before you know it, you know, it's gone. Let me just -- a quick personal story about that and how it came home to me. My daughter just performed a documentary on Title IX. And...
SHERWOODThat's the law -- equal access to sports.
MORAN...Title IX would allow girls to participate fully in athletics. Wonderful. We're celebrating that 40th anniversary, by the way, this year. It might be an interesting title for one of your future shows.
SHERWOODYour daughter is with you. She's in the control room.
MORANAnd she's with us today. It's spring break, and she's...
SHERWOODShe's frowning that you're mentioning her name, but go ahead.
MORANOh, she's in sixth grade and -- the City Public Schools in Alexandria, and she did a documentary. The point being, she interviewed two individuals regarding Title IX. The first was a high school graduate woman from 1972 who had never had the opportunity to participate in sports. And then she interviewed her babysitter, who has always -- you know, young -- she just got out of University of Virginia -- always participated in sport, never envisioned a world where she wouldn't have the opportunity to exercise and participate in sports.
MORANThe contrast -- I mean, she didn't even know what Title IX was. She's come to accept that right. I mean, of course, I'm playing sports. I don't care whether it's gender-based or not. The woman from 1972 realized the struggle, the fight that had to have occurred to make sure women had the same rights as men. We have a lot -- we have a couple of generations now of women who have come to accept Roe v. Wade and the 1973 Supreme Court decision that provided their rights to abortion.
MORANWhat you have seen over this course of the political -- you know, the presidential debate, certainly what happened in Richmond this year, is that erosion. And, frankly, call them a tax, call them a war on women, but I think some rhetoric needs to be used to energize and say, folks, wake up. I mean, these rights are going to be taken away...
SUDERMANHow big a deal -- you know, there's some chatter about Gov. McDonnell being a possible VP pick for the Republican Party. How big a deal would -- do you think your party would make this if he gets the nod?
MORANI can guarantee you it will make a big issue, and let me tell you why because in Virginia, we have -- his approval ratings after the personhood bill and this vaginal -- this ultrasound bill were critiqued certainly on MSNBC and in the local media, his approval ratings went down by 13 percent. He was a VP candidate -- I think one of the top three before this. Now, I don't know if he can recover from that, but he certainly -- his national appeal diminished because of this legislation.
SHERWOODWhether you like it or not, whether you're Democratic, Republican, but as an observer, at the end of the elections last year in Virginia, there was common talk that with Republicans winning the control of the House and the Senate, both, that he would be pulled farther to the right, that he really wanted to go and would hurt his chances to be vice president, and that -- it seems to have hurt...
MORANWell, I think he ran -- when he ran for governor in '09, he was successfully able to appear to be a problem-solver. Bob's for jobs...
SHERWOODWho are those candidates in '09?
MORANYeah. Thanks, Tom.
SHERWOODI'm sorry. I apologize. Wound. Wound.
MORANThe -- we're going to get it back in '13. But...
SUDERMANWait, wait. Who is going to get it back in '13? Is it you?
MORANNo, it won't be me. I'm not running.
SUDERMANDefinitively, not running.
SHERWOODOK. There is a question. I want to get to Tom in a moment on the line, so -- but there is a question, Julie Carey from Channel 4, if I can promote my TV station, but saying that one of the issues is where is the bench strength? Where are the people coming up to be the obvious candidates for some of the city -- statewide races?
MORANAs party chair, that is one of my responsibilities...
SHERWOODThat's your job.
MORAN...to make sure that we develop the bench and...
SUDERMANWell, he just tried to get Lou.
MORANI tried to get Lou. I don't know where he lives, but we're going to try to find out 'cause we need that passion in the legislature. But we actually do have a good bench. And certainly Mr. McAuliffe, Terry McAuliffe, who ran in '09, is seriously considering '13.
SHERWOODHe's running all over the state. I mean...
MORANHe is everywhere. He's doing what he needs to do, and he has a tremendous amount of energy and passion.
SHERWOODYou know, in the Republican world, nationwide, of course, is Eric Cantor, who's from Virginia. We have -- let me get -- Tom -- I'm going to get Tom we got on the line to talk about Eric Cantor. Tom, are you there?
TOMYes, I am.
SHERWOODYou want to ask about Eric Cantor? Are you for him or against him?
TOMWell, in my opinion, he's a traitor for putting the good faith and credit of the United States at risk. And I think he should be replaced, and I wonder whether the party has plans to try to ensure the election of a Democrat in his place.
SHERWOODOK. Thank you very much. I'm going to let Mr. Moran -- sounds like that caller was undecided about that.
MORANRight, not a very -- not an enthusiastic supporter of Congressman Cantor. I will say, Tom, with respect to the bench, we have a candidate in every congressional district this year. We'll have a Democrat running for Congress in all 11 of our congressional districts. We have -- currently have three incumbents, and we're going to have some great challengers. So we're very pleased with that recruitment effort and work.
MORANWe actually have more than one candidate running against Eric Cantor in his district. So that has drawn a great deal of interest, and we hope to have a strong candidate come through the caucus procedure and test Congressman Cantor.
SHERWOODYou know, some people think that Cantor himself could be the vice presidential nominee for the -- Mitt Romney. They seem to be embracing each other more and more. Would you like that? That would free up that seat.
MORANHey, I think we're going to win. It wouldn't free it up if he didn't -- well, if he didn't win, and I don't think they're going to win, so...
SHERWOODLet me give you a chance to beat another Democratic drum. Tim Kaine...
SHERWOOD...is kind of, I guess, the -- is he now the official Democratic candidate?
MORANHe is. No one is opposing former Gov. Kaine.
SHERWOODOK. And he kind of kicked off his campaign officially...
MORANGreat crowds. Well, great crowds last -- this week. He was with -- joined by Sen. Mark Warner, who continues to be an extremely popular individual in Virginia. Nationally, he's done a great job with the Gang of Six, talking, you know, soberly about budget issues. He was joined with Gov. Kaine, and Gov. Kaine is out working really hard. He's raised $2.2 million in the first quarter. He's a terrific campaigner, just a terrific guy, enjoys high popularity in Virginia. People respected and appreciate the job he did as governor. So we feel real good about that race this fall.
SHERWOODI'm looking forward to the -- George Allen, Republican, and Tim Kaine...
MORANWell, Gov. -- former Gov. Allison or Allen is opposed in the primary. I mean, that tells you something.
SHERWOODIt's June 12, right? June 12 primary.
MORANThere's two or three candidates running against George Allen. So, you know, he's got to come through that primary first and...
SHERWOODYou sound like it's more iffy than most people think it is.
MORANWell, I know Delegate Bob Marshall. In a convention, I think Bob Marshall could run hard against George...
SHERWOODAll right. Brian Moran -- I'm sorry. We're out of time. You can ask questions while I'm signing this off. That's Brian Moran, chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party.
MORANVirginia is a battleground state. We need to come back and...
SUDERMANWhose job is it to follow George Allen around with a video camera?
MORANWe have someone following George Allen around.
SHERWOODThat's Alan Suderman, Loose Lips for Washington City Paper. Mr. Moran, thanks for coming in today.
MORANThanks for the invitation, Tom.
SHERWOODAlan, thanks for attempting to sit in for the -- guest analyst -- resident analyst that...
SUDERMANI could never fill those shoes.
SHERWOODThe Politics Hour. Kojo will be back some time. I'm Tom Sherwood. Thanks for listening.
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