Tuesday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow informed viewers that Tuesday was officially “orientation day” for newly elected members of the U.S. House and Senate. Given that some races are still being counted, “Orientation day,” Maddow said, “was a little more awkward than usual.”
For instance, Rep. Dan Lundgren (R-CA) is currently awaiting a final count in his race against Democratic challenger Ami Bera. Bera, who is currently in the lead, attended orientation yesterday, which was hosted and led by none other than Rep. Lundgren.
“But not the most awkward thing in Congress today,” Maddow said. “No, that prize was won in the Senate, and specifically there by Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who really wanted today’s photo op with the three new Republican senators in Washington to be a simple ‘smile and shoot’ affair. It was not.”
She pointed out that while there are only three new Republican senators this year, there are eight new Democrats and an Independent. The tiny group made for an awkward quartet at their photo shoot, especially given that Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flake is also currently in recounts for a Senate seat against Democratic challenger, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.
“So it was awkward enough when Mr. McConnell thought reporters would just stand there silently and take their picture after he gave those brief remarks,” she said. “It got much much worse when the reporters in the room decided they weren’t going to just stand there and take pictures. They were going to speak.”
A reporter brought up the Petraeus affair, asking if McConnell believes that Congress should have been notified sooner. The Senate Minority Leader sat there with a tight, frozen smile on his face while an aide attempted to dismiss the press delegation.
A second reporter asked how productive McConnell expects the lame duck session to be, while the aide said again, “Thank you, everybody!” and the Republicans sat in tense silence.
“Senator-elect Flake, do you agree with Sen. McConnell?” a third reporter said.
“Senator, are you willing to compromise?” asked another.
“Come on, everybody, let’s go!” barked a female voice, presumably another McConnell aide. Shortly afterward, a reporter complained about being pushed out of the room as the four Republicans sat, still unspeaking, still wearing their increasingly strained-looking smiles.
“Push it along,” agreed Maddow, chuckling. “Nothing to see here! Even though we invited you here to watch us sit in these chairs. We just didn’t want you to speak to us once we stopped talking.”
Whereas over at the White House, she said, Pres. Barack Obama was meeting with labor leaders and other liberals, who, “for once in my lifetime,” Maddow said, aren’t outside “chaining themselves to the fence.”
The group was there representing the Common Purpose Project, a non-profit aggregation of liberal groups united “to collaborate on effective public policy messaging” and further progressive goals.
Watch the clip, embedded via MSNBC, below: