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HOH’s One-Minute Recess: So Much for the Afterglow

As the House tearfully paid tribute to retiring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords this morning, folks downtown were making sure Washington, D.C., got back to what it does best: rancor.

Notwithstanding the bipartisan bonhomie on the House floor, the day after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was a lot like every other day in D.C., with both sides of the aisle spewing their armchair analysis of POTUS priorities at a post-SOTU scrum.

The latest round of mudslinging took place at the National Press Club for a forum hosted by the Atlantic and National Journal.

While the discussion was supposed to focus on Obama’s rhetorical skills and pending agenda, featured guests mostly just delivered potshots at the opposition.

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman lobbed the first stone of the morning, which got its fair share of laughter, by targeting GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

“A ‘moderate’ in Newt Gingrich’s mouth sounds as bad as a ‘San Francisco liberal’ or a ‘European socialist,’” Mellman said of the former Speaker.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) dismissed Obama’s prime-time address as old news: “It was like a Groundhog Day speech. I didn’t hear much new.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) praised Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ GOP response, admonishing the remaining Republican presidential hopefuls to reread Daniels’ speech “three or four times before the next debate.”

Yep. Back to normal.

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