Rare Unity: Journos Aid War Zone Flacks

Political odd fellows, reporters rally to aid war publicists.

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Washington reporters and political and congressional flacks who are at each other's throats during the day are making a rare diversion this week to join in an effort to bring Christmas early to military publicists serving in war-savaged Afghanistan."This is the least that we can do," says Sean Spicer, communications director of the Republican National Committee.He and Brad Woodhouse, his equal at the Democratic National Committee, are hosting a media and political star-studded event Wednesday before the latest GOP presidential debate to raise money and collect goods that military flacks seek. Tops on that list: cigars, cookies, video games and even holiday decorations. [ See a collection of political cartoons on Afghanistan.]Spicer, himself a Navy Reserve publicist, dreamed up the idea when he realized that so-called "flacks who wear flak jackets" don't get much attention. Many, he notes, are full-time congressional press secretaries who are often called upon to put in seven months overseas, leaving their jobs and family."Everyone wants to help the troops," says Spicer. But, he added, reporters and political press secretaries have a special relationship with military flacks that they want to address. "The sacrifice these guys make is not always remembered from an industry stand point," says Spicer.Democrat Woodhouse adds, “It wouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Sean and I can scarcely agree on the time of day much less the direction we should take the country economically. One thing we do agree on though is that we honor the service and sacrifice of the communications professionals in the armed services on the ground in places like Afghanistan and what they do while in harm’s way to represent the best of our country and its people to the our allies and enemies alike.”The idea began with a simple E-mail to reporters and Washington-based political publicists and the reaction was swift. [ See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.] ABC's George Stephanopoulos, for example, E-mailed back within 10 seconds of Spicer sending out his E-mail. "In 10 seconds he E-mails back, 'I'm in. What can I do?"The event takes place Wednesday night from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the popular Capitol Hill restaurant Bullfeathers. The hosts include Republican Party boss Reince Priebus and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Dozens of reporters and publicists are also involved as are industry groups like the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy. Below are the details of what's needed and the list of journalists and press aides hosting the event:
Suggested donation: $10 or a gift to be sent forward. Gift Suggestions: Cookies, beef jerky, candy/gum, magazines/novels/Sudoku/crosswords, Corn Hole set (bags and board, extra bags) – especially themed boards (media/military/sports theme), darts and board, Wii Rock Band set up and games, K-cups for the coffee machine, holiday lights and decorations, cigars, media-themed ball caps and gear.HOST COMMITTEEDebbie Wasserman Schultz and Reince PriebusReid Wilson, Hotline/National JournalChuck Todd, NBC NewsRon Kessler, NewsmaxRick Klein, ABC NewsLuke Russert, NBC NewsShannon Bream, Fox NewsBetsy Fischer, NBC NewsGeorge Stephanopoulos, ABC NewsDana Milbank, Washington PostFred Barnes, Weekly StandardBryan Bender, The Boston GlobeRuth Marcus, Washington PostSusan Page, USA TodayJessica Brady, Roll CallAlex Pappas, The Daily CallerJon Ward, Huffington PostErin McPike, Real Clear PoliticsPaul Kane, Washington PostSusan Ferrechio, Washington ExaminerLexi Stemple, Fox NewsDavid Drucker, Roll CallJonathan Karl, ABC NewsEd O'Keefe, Washington PostJoe Deoudes, Washington TimesRichard Wolf, USA TodayNeil Munro, The Daily CallerKim Dixon, Thomson ReutersTom Williams, Roll CallMajor Garrett, National JournalJay Newton Small, TIMEMargaret Warner, PBS NewsHour