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Congress is Going to the Dogs

4avg.rating 4 votes.

Harry Truman  famously  said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."During the heated presidential campaign, dogs seem to have taken center stage.  Mitt Romney can't seem to live down the controversy over the rooftop ride that his dog Seamus took during a family vacation. And you just never know where the ever-popular Bo Obama is going to pop up.

But as Harry Truman  famously  said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

With Congressional approval ratings currently sitting at historic lows — there are many lawmakers who can relate.

Perhaps that is why so many members of Congress are taking their dogs with them to work these days. Sunlen Miller covers the Senate for ABC News and walks the halls of Congress every day. She decided to take a snout-count and she found about two dozen lawmakers who bring their dogs to work.

In many ways, pooches serve as the perfect Congressional aides. They attend secret meetings, but reveal no details. They slog through hours of dull hearings, falling asleep without raising anyone's eyebrow. They are welcome everywhere in the federal building — except for the dining areas and the legislative floors themselves.

Dogs have been a part of Capitol Hill life for more than 100 years and at the sides of some of its most powerful figures.  Senate Leader Bob Dole took his dog, Leader, with him everywhere.  The late Sen. Robert Byrd's dog, Baby, was more popularly known as 'Trouble.'  All three of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's Portuguese Water Dogs accompanied him to work. The first family's dog, Bo, was a gift from Kennedy and was bred by the same breeders as Kennedy's beloved pets.

Amidst today's partisan Congressional tension, the dogs on Capitol Hill can serve as a negotiating tactic, brought in to help seal the deal.

Sen. Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts explains how his dog, Koda serves his duty: "There have been times when people have a very serious issue and they are ready to rip my head off and I walk in — you know, with Koda — and they say 'oh we can't yell at him because Koda will get mad'."

And of course, the business of politics, and dog ownership, can get messy.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin explains he does his own dirty work. "We have an accident or two sometimes so I have to clean it up," he concedes. "No, that's not what interns are for."

By Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham


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48 comments on “Congress is Going to the Dogs

  1. Helen Ross on said:

    Really great quality in the post on dogs.

  2. Maria Baker on said:

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  4. Linda Miller on said:

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  5. Ann Gonzalez on said:

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    I really like the part after you introduced the topic. Great work on the article about rabbits.

  10. Dennis Morris on said:

    Nice work on the article on cats.

  11. Janet Nelson on said:

    Great conclusion to the article about cats. It made a lot of sense.

  12. Joyce Morgan on said:

    Good read about rabbits. Excellent work.

  13. Patrick Brooks on said:

    Fantastic work on the article on turtles. Well done.

  14. Jennifer White on said:

    I really liked the article. I'll tell my friends to read the post about fish.

  15. Lisa Jenkins on said:

    Well written and a great article about puppies.

  16. Lisa Anderson on said:

    Loved the conclusion! Thanks for the post on cats.

  17. Peter Moore on said:

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  18. Karen Garcia on said:

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  19. Patricia Collins on said:

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  20. Mark Anderson on said:

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  21. Douglas Hayes on said:

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  22. Matthew Powell on said:

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  23. Marie Martin on said:

    The article about animals really answered some of the question I had about the topic.

  24. Harold Alexander on said:

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  25. Carolyn Turner on said:

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  26. Angela White on said:

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  27. Jason Lopez on said:

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  28. Karen Gray on said:

    Loved the conclusion! Thanks for the post on cats.

  29. Stephanie Walker on said:

    Fantastic article about pets.

  30. Frances Foster on said:

    Definitely worth the read on parakeets. Excellent read!

  31. Richard Bailey on said:

    Great conclusion to the article about cats. It made a lot of sense.

  32. Alice Turner on said:

    Excellent work with the article about parakeets. It was worth the couple minutes for reading it.

  33. Anna Smith on said:

    Excellent work with the article about parakeets. It was worth the couple minutes for reading it.

  34. Kenneth Peterson on said:

    Great read on puppies.

  35. Linda Allen on said:

    Excellent work on the article about cats. It made me think a bit more about the topic.

  36. Christine Martinez on said:

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the information on animals.

  37. Linda Harris on said:

    Thanks for the writing on dogs. This is even better than I had hoped for.

  38. Gregory Walker on said:

    Good article on cats. It kept me reading from start to finish.

  39. Martha Peterson on said:

    Good work on the post on fish. I wish everyone knew this.

  40. Jose Ramirez on said:

    I liked the post on rabbits. It kept me interested!

  41. Cynthia Richardson on said:

    Thanks for the post about cats. I'll have to share this with some of my friends.

  42. Pamela Martin on said:

    Thanks for the post about fish. There's a reason I keep coming back to this blog!

  43. Kenneth Robinson on said:

    I liked the article about fish. Good job.

  44. Elizabeth Carter on said:

    Thanks for the article. Great post about pets.

  45. Walter Philips on said:

    Fantastic explanation on animals. I'll read more!

  46. Jose Baker on said:

    Thanks for the great article about cats. It was well written and belongs on this great blog.

  47. Ronald Allen on said:

    Good read with the article on dogs.

  48. Joshua Allen on said:

    Good article about pets. It really hit the main points and cabouted even some of the smaller details.

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