GOP congressional leaders pick top ranking woman to deliver State of the Union response
January 23rd, 2014
04:37 PM ET
6 months ago

GOP congressional leaders pick top ranking woman to deliver State of the Union response

Washington (CNN) – Emphasizing her family's story, Republican congressional leaders tapped Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth highest House GOP leader and highest ranking woman, to deliver the response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address next Tuesday.

McMorris Rodgers is serving in her fifth term representing the district that runs along the eastern side of Washington State and delivered her third child in November, becoming the only member of Congress to give birth three times while in office.

"Through the lens of her family's experiences, Cathy will share our vision for a better America built on a thriving middle class, guided by a fierce belief in life and liberty, and grounded in greater trust between citizens and their government," House Speaker John Boehner said in a written statement.

The selection of the highest ranking female Republican in the House comes as the party is working to narrow a significant gender gap. President Obama defeated 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by double digits among female voters.

Boehner and other top Republican leaders have acknowledged that the party needs to do a better job addressing the concerns of women. Some high profile gaffes from GOP Senate candidates in 2012 caused blowback among female voters. Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin referred to "legitimate rape" and Richard Mourdock in Indiana suggested rape was "something God intended to happen." Both red-state candidates were favored to win but lost badly.

Last month Boehner admitted, "Some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be."

The House GOP campaign arm is working with male candidates to improve their messaging to women this election cycle.

Republican leaders released a video showing McMorris Rodgers getting her kids ready in the morning, discussing working in her father's family owned agriculture business and touting that she was the first child in her family to graduate from college.

But the real focus in McMorris Rodgers' story is her family. Her son Cole was born in 2007, and has Down syndrome. Her daughter Grace arrived in December 2010, while the Washington State Congresswoman served as vice chair of the House GOP Conference, marking the first time a member of House leadership delivered a baby. Her second daughter, Brynn Catherine, arrived in late November. She is married to Brian Rodgers, who is a retired Navy officer.

Addressing the camera in the short biographical video clip, McMorris Rodgers says her son's diagnosis with Down's syndrome has made her "a better legislator and a better person" and said her focus in Congress is to make sure the next generation has as many or more opportunities than she does.

As the chair of the House Republican conference, McMorris Rodgers is tasked with communicating the public message for House GOP members. Since taking over the position last January she has made a major push for her colleagues to make Twitter and Facebook a big part of their communications strategies.

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Perhaps she can explain why her party seems hell-bent on making the lives of families with special-needs children even more difficult, and why her experience has not translated into spearheading legislation to tackle those problems. Since my son has special needs, I would be very interested in hearing what she has to say, if anything.

    January 23, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Thomas

    . Cathy McMorris , anti environment , pro big corporate lobby .

    Sarah Palin with a brain .

    January 23, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "FROM his own website and program: Bill says: " young black men commit homicides at a rate 10 times greater than whites and Hispanics combined" FBI stats put it at about 50/50. He is racist and a liar. He has no business interviewing Obama.
    -

    got some facts to refute what he says? "

    What a fantastic illustration of how it works when you're arguing with a RWNJ Teatroll in "OMG the POTUS is black!!!!" berserker mode:

    1. Point out RWNJ propaganda machine lie and call it such.

    2. Cite to facts that show it's a lie.

    3. Get a response that pretends you cited no facts and demands your factual backup.

    January 23, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Silence DoGood

    "Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin referred to "legitimate rape" and Richard Mourdock in Indiana suggested rape was "something God intended to happen.""

    After doing everything but say they hate women, does the GOP think it can make up for it by just sticking a woman on camera? Do they still have the violence-against-women slap Hillary web game up still?

    Dressing the counter staff as carrots would not make McDonald's a healthy food place.

    January 23, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Perfect person to respond to the State of the Union address. A Do-Nothing Member of the House of Representatives who stands next to Boehner at every press conference like a stooge. I hope she can explain to us why Immigration Reform is held up in the House and why haven't they passed the President's jobs bill. I'd also like to hear her explain to us how we're going to recoup our $24 billion dollars that was lost due to the GOP Government Shutdown of 2013.

    January 23, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Her son Cole was born in 2007, and has Down syndrome.
    ------------------------------------------
    She should be happy the ACA is in place because there are no lifetime caps on the services her son is going to need.

    January 23, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Anonymous
    "Don't y'all mean $10,000?"
    ........................

    Seems to me it was Mr. Uppity 'cheesy grits' that offered the bet,
    "Y'all" doesn't bet.....well, not his own money anyway.
    ------------

    Love it !

    "As the chair of the House Republican conference, McMorris Rodgers is tasked with communicating the public message for House GOP members. Since taking over the position last January she has made a major push for her colleagues to make Twitter and Facebook a big part of their communications strategies."

    The above might answer your question, Tom Paine. She's been rather busy communicating their message. This is not to be confused with reforming their message, which by all indication is the same old, same old nothing.

    January 23, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    GDTP Response-"Whatever the black guy said-it's a lie, and we are working hard to hold him to two terms."

    January 23, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    And no matter what criticism of the SUBSTANCE (or lack thereof) of her sideshow is, the GOP/Teatrolls will come out screaming that the Dems/liberals are attacking her because she's a woman.

    January 23, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Kelby in Houston

    Every time I see a minority of any kind (women, people of color, lgbt) supporting the Republican Party I always think the same thing, "How could you, How dare you support a party who consistently legislates against your respective group or category? You have sold your own people out"

    January 23, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @Sniffit
    "FROM his own website and program: Bill says: " young black men commit homicides at a rate 10 times greater than whites and Hispanics combined" FBI stats put it at about 50/50. He is racist and a liar. He has no business interviewing Obama.
    -

    got some facts to refute what he says? "

    What a fantastic illustration of how it works when you're arguing with a RWNJ Teatroll in "OMG the POTUS is black!!!!" berserker mode:

    1. Point out RWNJ propaganda machine lie and call it such.
    2. Cite to facts that show it's a lie
    3. Get a response that pretends you cited no facts and demands your factual backup.
    ------–
    ha ha – thx. Perhaps he was slow on the uptake and I need to spell "FBI" for them?

    January 23, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Have no fear! This will fix everything Huckabee said today! Oh, and not to mention Gohmert, who was on Faux blabbering about how social assistance to single mothers is entrapment and enslavement and all a liberal plot to make them dependent on the gov't. We can go on making a bigger list of all this will fix in terms of the GOP/Teatrolls' war on women woes: opposition to spousal rape laws (yes, they even had someone preparing to run this year who did that), "legitimate rape," the resurgence of anti-abortion laws in red states across the country, pretending to be "protecting women's health" while enacting legislation that closes down all but 5 clinics in the state, lawsuits attempting to permit religious employers to dictate their female employees' health decisions, deliberately attempting to destroy Planned Parenthood nationwide, and the list goes on and on. But hey, "rebut" the POTUS's SOTU address by having a woman spout all of the ideology and policies the GOP/Teatrolls support that are damaging to women and poof...it's all the sudden just fine and women will flock to the GOP/Teatrolls...right?

    January 23, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. smith

    Liberals pretend they are all about womens rights until they meet a woman that is not a liberal. Then the true side of liberalism comes out. Bigotry.

    January 23, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. don in albuquerque

    @Dutch-Your no fun. Your asking really hard questions.

    January 23, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "delivered her third child in November, becoming the only member of Congress to give birth three times while in office."

    Who gives a crap? Does CNN report how many women male congresscritters have impregnated or how many times they knocked up their wives? The quoted line above is double edged. Yeah, it supposed to be a "good" thing and "oh isn't that wonderful?" but it's simultaneously gender-biased marginalization of women in congress, as if how many little people have fallen out of their hoohoo while in office is at all a public concern or says anything about the legitimacy and substance of the policies they support.

    January 23, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. smith

    @Sniffit-Some will cry gender bias, they learn that tactic from people like you.

    January 23, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    There will be a LOT to respond to.......that much we can count on.

    January 23, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    ""Some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be." "

    They're sensitive alright....sensitive to the fact that their male dominated society is crumbling into a sea of equality in which they'll actually have to compete with and even...*gasp*...sometimes lose to women.

    January 23, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. don in albuquerque

    Truth hurts, don't it smith.

    January 23, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. tom l

    "FROM his own website and program: Bill says: " young black men commit homicides at a rate 10 times greater than whites and Hispanics combined" FBI stats put it at about 50/50. He is racist and a liar. He has no business interviewing Obama.
    -

    got some facts to refute what he says? "

    What a fantastic illustration of how it works when you're arguing with a RWNJ Teatroll in "OMG the POTUS is black!!!!" berserker mode:

    1. Point out RWNJ propaganda machine lie and call it such.

    2. Cite to facts that show it's a lie.

    3. Get a response that pretends you cited no facts and demands your factual backup.

    =====

    From what I have just been researching, it appears that the statement is correct. In 2011, 49.7% of those arrested for homicide were black and 48% were white (according to wiki). Based on the numbers, with black people making up approximately 11-12% of the population, that would seem to indicate that those numbers are accurate. If they are committing 50% of the homicides but only make up 1/10th of the population, their rate would be dramatically higher. The FBI site says that the breakdown was 52% black and 45% white so it seems that the one who is off with their numbers is the one that's calling O'Reilly a racist (or perhaps he doesn't understand what O'Reilly is saying). We are talking about the rate as relative to their race not how many overall commit murder and how many of them are black or white. Come on Sniffit, you know that isn't right.

    January 23, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. tom l

    @Sniffit,
    "And no matter what criticism of the SUBSTANCE (or lack thereof) of her sideshow is, the GOP/Teatrolls will come out screaming that the Dems/liberals are attacking her because she's a woman."
    ======

    LOL. This coming from the man who says that almost every person that criticizes the president is because they can't stand seeing.....well, you know the rest.

    January 23, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "@Sniffit-Some will cry gender bias, they learn that tactic from people like you."

    Criticizing the substance of what someone's saying? Right. I'll believe it when I see it. The GOP/Teatrolls have so much trouble accepting inconvenient facts or following along with someone making an argument too complicated to fit on a bumper sticker that they just love to pretend we're just throwing out the "-– card"...it makes it so much easier to just dismiss our arguments instead of having to address them directly. Sooo, they think they'll just set up situations in which they can do what they're inaccurately accusing everyone else of doing and poof, it'll make everything look equal (they can certainly depend on the MSM's help for that). Except, well, it doesn't work and most people see right through it...so the GOP/Teatrolls just get even more frustrated and can't figure out why everything is backfiring and not working out as planned. Please proceed.

    January 23, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. ChrisM

    Just because the GOP picks a woman does not mean she does not have all the horrible qualities of the GOP.

    This woman is big corporation, anti enviroment as they , the GOP, come

    January 23, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. freedom

    Smart move. Very smart. And here is a woman who didn't get a sugar daddy to pay her college tuition (like Wendy), or ride the coattails of her husband to get to the top, and then take abuse from him (like Hilary), or a millennial who asks taxpayers to pay for her contraception (like Sandra Fluke), or a woman who isn't proud of her own country (like Michele O). Put that in your "war against women" pipe – and smoke it!

    January 23, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. tom l

    @Silence,
    ""Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin referred to "legitimate rape" and Richard Mourdock in Indiana suggested rape was "something God intended to happen."
    ====

    And both were basically disowned by the repubs. You shouldn't leave that part out.

    January 23, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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