We Need a Bigger Desk
October 18, 2013

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This week’s taping on Face the State featured a studio packed with politicos. It’s not often we have multiple members of the congressional delegation here, but with the shutdown over, the situation certainly warranted it.

We are joined Sunday by our state’s senior senator, Richard Blumenthal, our senior member of congress Rosa DeLauro (CT-3,) and 2nd district congressman Joe Courtney. Having such a big group of Washington power brokers used to be a regular thing on our Sunday political show back in the 1960s. Here is Channel 3 anchor and moderator Tom Eaton with Congressmen Donald Irwin, William St. Onge, and John Monagan. That interview aired on October 21, 1967, 46 years ago this week.

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In the broadcast taped for this coming Sunday in this century, Blumenthal, DeLauro, and Courtney all talked about what is next now that the shutdown is over, and the latter two expressed their concerns about the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner. Do they blame him for the shutdown? Also, what is their take on what needs to be done with Obamacare, in light of the myriad of problems with the rollout? Plus, are they on the Hillary Clinton 2016 bandwagon some Democrats are already talking about?

The answers to these questions and more, this Sunday at 11 on Face the State, only on WFSB Channel 3.

Also, remember when you got cable? That’s this Sunday’s flashback and here’s a preview: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/face-the-state-flashback-cable-tv-comes-to-connecticut/

Assignment Shutdown
October 4, 2013

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As Channel 3 viewers know I was sent to Washington for a quick 48 hour trip to cover the Connecticut congressional delegation during the shutdown of the federal government. We returned home Thursday morning, and just hours later the chase and shooting took place that is now dominating the headlines.

Thank you to all the viewers who send me questions via twitter http://www.twitter.com/@dennishousewfsb and http://www.facebook.com/dennishouse3 Thanks to Christine Lee of WTIC 96.5 FM for the artwork above! I’ll explain the Spock ears in a later post.

This Sunday on Face the State we discussed the shutdown with Senator Richard Blumenthal, and he talked about what the options are and also shared his recollections of the Thursday’s shooting near the building that houses his senate offices.

BLUMENTHAL TWO SHOT

Watch the Blumenthal interview right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9386807

We also had analysis from a panel of experts: Greg Bordonaro of the Hartford Business Journal, Peter Gioia of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, and Ted Koppy, a financial advisor with Waddell and Reed and a former television anchor.

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Watch Greg, Peter and Ted here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9386812

Tune in this Sunday at 11 AM on WFSB Channel 3. We also have two flashbacks: Duby McDowell reporting on the 1995 shutdown, and Brendan Keefe on a visit by author Tom Clancy to New London. Preview here: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/fts-flashback-tom-clancy-in-connecticut/

Here are some shots of my assignment in Washington:

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By the way, I was sent to Washington with WFSB photojournalist Brian Elba. He and I have had plenty of travel assignments over the years including our memorable trip to the 1996 World Series.

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Blumenthal Differs with Holder on Transparency
May 31, 2013

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In all the years I covered Richard Blumenthal as Connecticut Attorney General and later Senator, I can't recall him ever holding an off the record meeting with reporters. That’s exactly what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder did this past week regarding the Associated Press scandal.

During a taping of Face the State set to air this Sunday on WFSB Channel 3, I asked Blumenthal what he thought of Holder’s actions.
“In my view everything should be on the record….public officials ought to be open and transparent.”

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Blumenthal said he was very concerned and stunned by the revelations that the Justice Department was essentially spying on reporters, and characterized the feds’ moves as a chilling effect on journalists. He also weighed on whether the state should limit access to information in the Newtown school massacre.

I asked Blumenthal whether he supports a move by some state lawmakers to limit public access to information regarding the Newtown massacre.

DH: Do you support the move at the state capitol to keep some of the information private, limit the freedom of information to reporters have had?

RB: I would not impose any general kind of ban on revealing information. I think it has to be a case by case piece of information by piece of information. I’m very sympathetic to the families of Newtown and I think there ought to be some protection for them, but any sort of sweeping or broad general kind of restrictions on the free flow of information I think is a bad precedence.”

We also discussed immigration, Sandy Hook, rail safety, and Hillary Clinton. Watch the segment right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8951076

Bevin Bell Factory Owner May Run for Senate
February 22, 2013

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Matt Bevin, the owner of the Bevin Brothers Bell factory in East Hampton destroyed by fire last year, is considering running for the U.S. Senate. Bevin, a Republican, would not be challenging Senator Richard Blumenthal in 2016, but rather Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell….yes, in Kentucky.

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According to a report on WHAS-TV in Louisville, Kentucky, Bevin is contemplating representing the Tea Party in a challenge to McConnell in the GOP primary next year. Bevin lives in the Blue Grass State where he runs a hedge fund.

Watch the report that aired in Louisville right here: http://www.whas11.com/news/local/Matt-Bevin-could-be-possible-Republican-challenger-to-Mitch-McConnell-192380971.html

Might be an interesting race in Kentucky in 2014. Actress Ashley Judd is also considering challenging McConnell.

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Face the State in Washington for Lieberman’s Farewell
December 13, 2012

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Our plan for Face the State this week was to run an interview with Senator Joe Lieberman as he prepares to leave office in January The man who nearly became vice-president in the historic election in 2000, is retiring after nearly a quarter century of representing Connecticut in the U.S. Senate. Then came the Newtown shootings. WFSB news director Dana Neves and I talked about it several times over the past two days and ultimately decided to stick with our original plan. Eyewitness News and Face the Nation will devote their coverage to the lives lost in Sandy Hook, and we feel that a Face the State on what happened Friday might be repetitive.

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This week, Face the State will come to you from Washington, D.C., where we talked with Senator Joe Lieberman in his office near the capitol. The senator talked about his four terms in the senate, including his triumphs, and disappointments. We also chatted about what Lieberman will do next, and how he wants the senate to change.

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This Sunday, you’ll see some old video from election night 1988, when then Attorney General Lieberman defeated the powerful Lowell Weicker, Connecticut’s last Republican U.S. senator. As you’ll see in that archival footage fronted by then 11PM anchor Denise D’Ascenzo, you’ll notice Lieberman was surrounded then by nearly every Democrat in the state, a far cry from his farewell speech on Wednesday, when only three members of the Connecticut delegation were in the small audience: Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator-elect Chris Murphy, and Congressman Jim Himes.

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We’ll also hear from Senator Blumenthal on Sunday’s Face the State.

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You can watch this special edition of Face the State, this Sunday morning at 11, only on Channel 3. We’ll also devote a segment to the life and times of Connecticut broadcasting legend Arnold Dean.

Watch it all right here: You can watch the interview right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8073870

part 1: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8073868
(more…)

Blumenthal Wouldn’t Vote to Outlaw Gender Selective Abortions
June 1, 2012

Senator Richard Blumenthal was our guest this weekend on Face the State, and standard operating procedure for the broadcast means we finalize questions for the guests right before the taping.     Obviously, we want to ask about any issue that happens to be in the news at that moment.     Such was the case on Thursday, when the House of Representatives was taking up a controversial proposal by Republicans to ban gender selective abortions.  

The bill, which died  after the Blumenthal interview, would have made it illegal for a woman to terminate a pregnancy based on the gender of the baby she was carrying.      Here is an excerpt of the conversation I had with Senator Blumenthal about it: 

DH:  If a pregnant woman with two daughters found out she was having another girl and wanted an abortion based on the gender, is that ok?

RB:  Decisions about reproductive rights are private and should be private. The assault on planned parenthood has been about clinics, that overwhelmingly,  more than 90 percent of the work they do is screening for disease like cancer.

DH:  Do you think it is unethical to get an abortion based on gender?

RB:  I believe abortion should be safe legal and rare, and I am not going to tell a woman what to do how to exercise her right…my view is Dennis, I may disapprove of that kind of measure, but it  should not be imposed by a law.

I also asked Blumenthal about his recent solidarity with striking workers at the Coca-Cola plant in East Hartford, New York City’s proposal to ban certain sugary drinks, and what he thinks about convicted felon Ernie Newton running for his old state senate seat.    

Blumenthal, the state’s most popular Democrat, could deal a big blow to Newton’s comeback by endorsing incumbent State Senator Ed Gomes.  

We also talked about Blumenthal’s work for veterans.  

You can watch the entire interview that aired on Face the State right here:  http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7359681

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