In one of the more unlikely local political pairings in recent years, former Republican legislative candidate Chris DeRose and state Democratic Party spokeswoman Emily Bittner got married last weekend.
To each other.
“You find love in the strangest places,” said the newly renamed Emily DeRose. The political odd couple met at Nixons Restaurant and Bar, a joint at the Camelback Esplanade that was far better known for hosting affairs of state rather than affairs of the heart.
“We knew a whole bunch of people in common and were introduced,” Emily said.
“Both of us thought it could be a colossal disaster at first — it’s a pretty improbable relationship on paper — but it worked out pretty fantastically.”
Well, maybe for them. Nixons closed last month after more than a decade in operation.
The bipartisan wedding was held at the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tempe.
The couple went with neutral colors for the event —- turquoise and ivory.
Among the Republican notables on the guest list: state senator and groomsman Jim Waring, former Secretary of State Betsey Bayless, and former state representative and current state House candidate Mark Thompson.
Among the Democratic notables: state party chairman Don Bivens, former chairman David Wade, state party executive director Maria Weeg and U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell’s district director Robbie Sherwood.
The newlyweds honeymooned for a few days poolside at a local resort and aboard a Jeep touring in Sedona. However, Emily DeRose was back at the Democratic party headquarters on Thursday.
“We have a presidential nominee. It’s time to get back to work,” she said.
Chris DeRose is an attorney and GOP activist who run unsuccessfully for the state House in a Tempe district in 2006. He has since moved to his new wife’s residence in the Arcadia section of Phoenix.
NEW BOOK ON GOLDWATER
Sen. Barry Goldwater came far closer to being vice president than he ever did to becoming president, according to a new book, “Pure Goldwater,” which was written by Watergate figure John Dean and Goldwater’s son Barry Goldwater Jr.
Goldwater’s flirtation with the vice presidency was far simpler and more low-profile than his campaign for the presidency.
Lyndon Johnson creamed Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election. It made all the headlines. According to the electoral college count, Johnson won 486-52. State by state, Johnson triumphed 44-6. In the popular vote, Johnson won 43.1 million votes to 27.2 million votes.
So, Goldwater lost the presidential race by 15.9 million votes.
A decade later, though, he finished much better in the race for vice president. He lost that contest by just one vote — his own.
Dean and Goldwater Jr.’s book features a passage that Goldwater wrote in his personal journal on Aug. 12, 1974. In that entry, Goldwater describes a meeting he had the previous day with President Gerald Ford, the former vice president who had ascended to the presidency days earlier when Richard Nixon resigned.
Ford wanted to discuss his search for a vice president, according to Goldwater. The Arizona senator urged the new president to consider two criteria: Who would be well-qualified for the veep slot? And, who could use the boost from the post to run for the presidency six years later?
That second part presumed Ford would finish Nixon’s term, then win his own four-year term. Jimmy Carter trashed that scenario when he beat Ford in the 1976 election.
Goldwater and Ford discussed a couple of people who might be suitable as veep.
Goldwater suggested George Bush, who was 50 at the time. They also discussed Ford’s idea of selecting a black Republican for vice president. After a while, Ford offered the job to Goldwater.
“Finally, he asked point blank if I would take it,” Goldwater reports in the journal. “I said, certainly, I’ll do anything you want me to do; I’ll do anything to serve my country, but I do not want the job.”
Goldwater explains why he turned down the offer.
“I did not say this in an arrogant or conceited way, for I think I could do a good job for the president and the Republican Party at the same time. I think the Party is important because we cannot lose any more strength in the Party and remain a viable part of the two-party system,” Goldwater says.
Goldwater figured that Republicans were still coming out of the Watergate mess and that they needed new leaders. To emphasize his age, Goldwater pulled up his pants legs and showed the president his knee-surgery scars. Ford, in turn, displayed his own knee-surgery scars.
A few other interesting footnotes:
1. Ford, in fact, selected Rockefeller, the New York governor, as his vice president.
2. Goldwater’s man, Bush, eventually got the job. He served as Ronald Reagan’s vice president from 1981 through 1989, then succeeded Reagan as president from 1989 through 1993.
3. This year’s GOP presidential nominee, John McCain, will be 72 on Election Day, which is a year older than what Goldwater thought was too old to become president. McCain also succeeded Goldwater in the Senate from Arizona.
BACKING TAX CUTS
Democratic Rep. Harry Mitchell publicly opposed his party to vote against Congress’ $3 trillion spending plan Thursday. He based his opposition on provisions that allow certain tax cuts to expire, which in turn will allow taxes to increase.
Mitchell was one of 14 Democrats who joined Republicans to vote against the budget, which passed without them 214-210.
To ensure that his record on the matter was clear, Mitchell’s office issued a press release headlined, “Mitchell Votes Against Democratic Budget.”
“While I agree with many of this budget’s priorities, I have serious concerns and cannot support a budget that allows key tax cuts to expire,” Mitchell said in the statement.
The five-year Democratic budget plan calls for middle-class tax cuts, but Congress needs to extend tax cuts that are set to expire in 2010, as well as trim estate and capital gains taxes, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said that if the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are allowed to expire, Americans would face a 33 percent increase in the capital gains tax. He and U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., have introduced legislation to permanently reduce estate and capital gains tax cuts.
Five GOP candidates are running to unseat Mitchell, a first-term representative, whose 5th Congressional District includes Scottsdale, Tempe, Fountain Hills, Ahwatukee Foothills and west Mesa. The district has more registered Republicans than Democrats.
TIME TO PANIC?
Democratic congressional candidate Bob Lord says his opponent, incumbent Republican Rep. John Shadegg is running scared, noting that Shadegg invited Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl to host a fundraiser for him Saturday.
“This is John Shadegg hitting the panic button,” Lord wrote in an e-mail to supporters on Thursday.
“Not even Shadegg interrupts a national campaign on an average day. We beat him in fundraising last quarter, so he is pulling every string to keep that from happening again,” Lord wrote. Cue the sound of a record scratching.
McCain was not expected to attend Shadegg’s fundraiser because he was campaigning for president.
And if Shadegg invoking the names of McCain and Kyl to drum up donations equates to hitting the panic button, what’s someone to make of Lord invoking the names of McCain and Kyl to round up donations?
Lord concluded his e-mail about Shadegg seeking donations by pleading for donations himself. Shadegg and Lord are running in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, which takes in central and northern Phoenix, plus Paradise Valley, Carefree and Cave Creek.