Connie Mack follows wife’s lead

Following in his wife’s footsteps, former Florida Rep. Connie Mack has landed a job with a Washington-based lobbying firm.

Mack, a Florida Republican who lost his U.S. Senate bid in November, joined Liberty Partners Group as a partner and senior policy advisor, the firm announced this week.

Mack is the husband of former Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican who lost her re-election campaign last year. She started working as a senior vice president for FaegreBD Consulting last month.

Since losing their respective House seats, the Macks have made several joint appearances on national TV news shows.

And now it seems the couple could carpool too: The Center for Responsive Politics noted that the two firms are located in the same K Street building.

Mary Bono Mack breaks her wrist snowboarding, plans to work on book

Mary Bono MackFormer Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack will be spending the first weeks of her new civilian life convalescing. Bono Mack broke her wrist over the weekend while trying her hand(s) at snowboarding at a Colorado ski resort. But the injury won’t stop her from working on a new project: a book.
Bono Mack was, according to her official Twitter account, vacationing at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort with husband Connie Mack when the incident happened.

First (above), Bono Mack tweeted about giving snowboarding a try on January 18. Then, on Sunday (Jan. 20), Bono Mack tweeted to share news of her injury with her 10,751 followers.

Her followers were quick to send their best wishes for a speedy recovery, with one even suggesting she seek medical attention from her Congressional successor, Dr. Raul Ruiz.

“Maybe Congressman Dr Ruiz can take a look at it ?! ;o),” tweeted DustDevil65.
Bono Mack recently told The Desert Sun’s Bruce Fessier she was working with a literary agent and was in talks with several cable news networks about a possible on-air gig with her husband.

Mary Bono Mack: ‘One quick answer’ not ‘doing justice’ for Newtown victims

Standing in Newtown, Conn. today, Rep. Mary Bono Mack said the country needed to take a comphrensive look at mental health services and called for a deep debate on gun control.

The Palm Springs Republican made the comments on CNN this morning, as part of a weekly guest appearance she has been doing with her husband, Rep. Connie Mack of Florida.

“To simply throw out one quick answer is not doing justice to any of the vicitims and their families right now,” Bono Mack said. “There is going to be so much that we have to really delve into and not just look for the quick, quick, quick fix.”

Bono Mack said the president was on “the right path” in his response to Friday’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 young students and six adults. The gunman also killed his mother before turning the weapon on himself.

But Bono Mack, who has just a couple weeks left remaining in her final House term, did not elaborate on what types of gun control measures she would support.

Mack, who after November’s election loss is also leaving Congress, said it was the first time the couple had been to Newtown.

“Our hearts and praryers are with the families, with this community,” Mack said on CNN. “This should never happen to our children or our citizens.”

You can see the CNN clip here:

The issue of gun control is being fiercely debated among many California leaders.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, plans to introduce an assault weapon ban when the 113th Congress takes over on Jan. 3.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage Democrat, has also said “it is long past time that we enacted sensible gun laws and school safety legislation.”

Bono Mack has not released any statements about Friday’s shooting. But she did express some brief observations today on Twitter.

“In Newtown today for CNN. Beautiful, quaint little town that will now have hallowed ground as well as enduring spirit of love and grace,” Bono Mack wrote.


Mary Bono Mack: Post-election ‘grieving period’ over

Outgoing Reps. Mary Bono Mack and Connie Mack continued their national media tour today, this time appearing on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown.

The married congressional couple both lost their respective election bids last month: Local voters favored Democrat Raul Ruiz to Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican. And Florida voters chose to retain U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson instead of send Mack, a Republican, to the U.S. Senate.

Bono Mack didn’t spill the beans on any post-House plans, although she has been elected to the board of the national Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

“There’s no doubt that there’s a grieving period when you lose an election but I think I’ve worked quickly through that point and I’m very excited about my next chapter in my life,” Bono Mack said during the MSNBC interview today.

Bono Mack also was quick to respond to show host Chuck Todd’s question about what lessons she would take into another campaign.

Her biggest takeaway? “Not to run again for office,” she quipped.

You can see the interview here.

Mary Bono Mack: Legislative career ‘an experience of a lifetime’

Rep. Mary Bono Mack issued some parting words today as she reflected on her final days in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Palm Springs Republican — who has been spotted on CNN but hasn’t given any local interviews since she was defeated in the Nov. 6 election —  issued the statement as part of a news release that touted the reauthorization of the U.S. SAFE WEB Act.

Her comments come after a lengthy description of her 14-year legislative career, including the creation of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Mountains Monument.

Here are her comments in full:

“As I prepare to leave Congress after more than 14 terrific years, I remain very optimistic about the future of America. Admittedly, we face some daunting challenges as a nation in the months and years ahead.  But the true greatness of America is measured by the things that unite us, not divide us.

“We are a people bound by enduring ideals and principles, which are embedded in an unshakable belief in truth, justice, opportunity and freedom for all.

“Despite the many challenges we are facing today, I continue to believe that our best years are ahead of us, because ours is a nation which values courage, compassion and character and stands united – and undeterred – as freedom’s greatest ally around the world.  It has been my extraordinary honor and great privilege to serve in the United States House of Representatives since 1998, and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished.

“So today, looking back on my eight terms in Congress, I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes: ‘Don’t be sad that it’s over.  Be happy that it happened.’  As we approach this joyous holiday season, I have much to be thankful for and happy about.  This truly has been an experience of a lifetime.”

Bono Mack lost the election to Democrat Raul Ruiz.

She has not yet announced what she’ll do come January, although she does plan on attending the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. Her husband, Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, also lost his U.S. Senate bid. But her daughter’s family — including infant grandson Sonny — live in the Washington area.

Mary Bono Mack shows willingness to compromise on fiscal cliff plan

Reps. Mary Bono Mack and Connie Mack were on CNN today, expressing differing viewpoints on how Congress should deal with the pending fiscal cliff.

Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican who is wrapping her final term in the House, says she agrees with Rep. Tom Cole, who says lawmakers should first extend tax-rate cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year and then work out a deal for wealthier Americans later.

Cole’s comments have irked some Republicans as it breaks ranks with House Speaker John Boehner.

“First, it’s important that we do get a deal done,” Bono Mack said today. “Going into the holidays, the American people want and need certainty. I think going into the New Year people really are clamoring for the certainty and a way forward in the economy.

“I have to say that if you’re going to sign me up with a camp, I like what Tom Cole has to say. You had him on the show earlier at length. Tom presented a very thoughtful, articulate position. I know my husband and I are going to disagree on this. We waited till after the first cup of coffee to disagree over this.”

Mack, a Florida Republican who is also leaving Congress after losing his U.S. Senate bid, did in fact take a differing approach than his wife.

“I don’t happen to agree with my wife and Congressman Cole,” Mack said on CNN. “I think we need to continue to look at ways to cut spending. And if people can answer this question for me, do you think the federal government has done a good job of spending your money? If the answer is yes then you would be willing to give more of your money to the federal government. But I think most people to this point don’t think that the federal government has done a good job of spending their money. And that is a crucial question people have got to ask.”

You can watch the clip here.

Meanwhile, Bono Mack’s Washington staff seems to be busy wrapping up loose ends.

Our Washington-based Gannett colleague Brian Tumulty happened to spot some of their progress outside of the congresswoman’s office.



AP: Connie Mack loses Senate bid

Republican Rep. Connie Mack has lost his bid for the U.S. Senate in Florida, according to the Associated Press.

Mack, the husband of Palm Springs’ Rep. Mary Bono Mack, was hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Initial results from the Florida Secretary of State show Mack has 41.5 percent of the vote to Nelson’s 56.03 percent.

Those results include more than 5.2 million votes.

Mack had often campaigned in conjunction with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Bono Mack to address GOP donors at Romney’s Utah retreat

Rep. Mary Bono Mack will address top Republican donors who are gathering in Utah this weekend for a retreat with presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Invitations to the event were extended to donors who have raised $50,000 or more for Romney’s White House bid, according to media reports.

The Desert Sun has learned that Bono Mack is one of five members of the House who are scheduled to speak. A handful of U.S. senators and governors are also on the agenda.

Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, will be leading a Saturday discussion on energy issues. She sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chairs the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

When asked about the retreat, Bono Mack’s spokesman Ken Johnson said she was invited about a week ago.

“Congresswoman Bono Mack is looking forward to a wide-ranging discussion about critically important policy issues facing the  nation,” Johnson told The Desert Sun.

“The congresswoman firmly believes by expanding domestic energy production, we can create tens of thousands of jobs nationwide and help revive America’s beleaguered manufacturing sector.”

This is not the first time Bono Mack has played a notable role in Romney’s campaign.

She and her husband, Republican Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, in January joined the presidential campaign trail in order to sway Floridians’ vote. She also discussed women’s issues on a national conference call with reporters.

Bono Mack will be back in the Coachella Valley on Sunday, when she is expected to meet with supporters of her own re-election campaign. Bono Mack faces Democrat Raul Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert, in the battle for the 36th Congressional seat.

Roundup from the 36th

I arrived into work today to find my email inbox filled with updates on both Rep. Mary Bono Mack and her Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz.

Curious what the congressional candidates are doing? Here’s the latest:

– Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, is gaining some national media attention. She was profiled in the Washington Post on Monday and then Roll Call published a short interview with her today.

–  That publicity hasn’t stopped Democrats from targeting her. On Monday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee handed out copies of the “Republican House of Scandal” calendar to GOP lawmakers across Washington.

Bono Mack was highlighted in the month of March, after political opponents criticized Bono Mack and her husband — Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, a U.S. Senate candidate — for getting homestead exemptions on both of their homes.

Officials told the Fort Myers News-Press that the couple is legally allowed to file for two exemptions as long as they maintain separate bank accounts, file their taxes separately and confirm neither is on the other’s deed for the property.

“Voters will hold Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack accountable for putting their personal interests ahead of the middle class and seniors and as a result Bono Mack may find herself out of a job next calendar year,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement.

– Speaking of the DCCC, Ruiz is in Washington today for an event that features the “Red to Blue” candidates the party hopes will help them secure control of the House.

Ruiz’s campaign manager confirmed the emergency room physician from Palm Desert was attending today’s event. According to a report in Politico, tickets to the fundraiser start at $250.

The fundraiser has already drawn criticism from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Raul Ruiz may have signed up to rubber-stamp Nancy Pelosi’s big-government agenda of reckless spending, but California families have already rejected the failed policies Ruiz is embracing,” NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said in a statement.

“California voters don’t want a representative who would rather pal around with Pelosi and Democrat special interests in Washington than listen to voters back home.”



Bono Mack’s husband describes Ryan budget as ‘a joke’

We’re guessing there may be an interesting conversation brewing at the Mack household over the federal budget.

Rep. Connie Mack, a Florida Republican, described Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan as “a joke” when he was in Orlando for a tea party forum.

“You know that budget was a joke, doesn’t balance the budget for years,” Mack said, according to published reports.

Mack, a U.S. Senate candidate, was campaigning in Florida when the GOP-controlled House passed the budget plan last week.

But his wife, Palm Springs Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack of Palm Springs — was in Washington and did vote in favor of it.

We asked Bono Mack about her husband’s comments while she was in Indio this morning.

Bono Mack said she hadn’t heard about his criticism, but admitted Mack is “frustrated” that Congress hasn’t passed a budget that the country can understand and get behind.

“Connie is very frustrated. He’s frustrated that we can’t get a simple plan passed,” Bono Mack said this morning.

“He has always been a budget hawk.”

Mack is the author of the so-called “penny plan,” a budget proposal that would cut a penny from every federal dollar spent for six years and implement a spending cap in the fiscal year 2018.

Bono Mack in August agreed to co-sponsor the idea.

Despite the criticism of Ryan’s plan, Mack’s spokesman said the congressman would have supported the idea anyway.