Press strategy is everything in Washington.
Aides to House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) discussed holding a vote late this afternoon so that the boss could go on TV. But the strangest act of all is that his own press shop accidentally sent internal emails disclosing as much to reporters. FishbowlDC has obtained email exchanges between Press Secretary Erica Elliott and Floor Assistant Ben Howard:
Ben: The Democrats did not offer a second Motion to Recommit. We are voting NOW.
Erica: Kevin is about to be on TV….can we hold the vote?
Ben: We’re done voting. He should be good.
Erica: Jesus. Sorry – I just got this email. It was delayed in my inbox.
Ben: Hahahaha! I wondered about that.
A note at the bottom of one McCarthy inner office email that was sent to members reads as follows:
SCHEDULER NOTE: We are likely in session and voting tomorrow. Members are advised to remain in Washington and keep their schedules fluid. Thank you for bearing with us as we go forward. As always, don’t hesitate to contact our office with any questions.
We sure hope that TV hit went well Rep. McCarthy.
UPDATE: Elliott wrote to FishbowlDC:
“When a delayed message came through to my Blackberry, I thought a five minute vote had been called. We informed the producers of the television program that we had to leave, and began to depart for the Capitol. Occasionally, if a staffer knows that their Member will be slightly late to a vote (i.e. walking in the Capitol as the vote is ending), they will alert the floor staff and the floor staff will “hold the vote” open for a minute or so to allow everyone to vote. It wasn’t a request to change the floor schedule as implied in the post. As you’ll note from the time on the email, we weren’t even voting then.
As a courtesy, I had set up a rule to autoforward Ben’s floor updates to a small group of journalists who requested it. Ben’s individual response to me met the conditions of the autoforward, and without either of us realizing it, it was forwarded to that list, per the Outlook rule. That’s how a reporter got this email, and as a result of this incident, this courtesy will no longer be extended.”