Republican no-shows at Judge Waring event

Lots of dignitaries, including President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder, attended last week's unveiling of a statue honoring former U.S. District Judge J. Waties Waring.

But the Republicans from the area's congressional delegation were conspicuously absent.

U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, all skipped the dedication ceremony held last Friday at the federal courthouse in Charleston.

All three had been invited to attend, said the office of U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, who helped put the event together.

From Graham: "I couldn't make it. I had something I had planned several months before." His campaign said he was in the Upstate all day with a big event that afternoon.

From Scott: He had some previously scheduled meetings in Dorchester County that day, and then some personal things that needed attending, a spokesman said. A ranking staffer represented Scott and his office.

From Sanford: His spokesman said he spent that Friday working in his D.C. office before driving to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to attend parent's weekend with his son, Marshall.

Waring today is considered a judicial pioneer for his rulings aimed at bringing down the barriers of separate but equal.

Cruz and Dr. Seuss

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a probable GOP presidential candidate in 2016, is known to bring up Dr. Seuss when times get tough.

Last week during a speaking appearance at the Free Enterprise Foundation Awards Dinner at The Citadel, he warned the crowd what might happen if he talked too long.

"You know I will be nearing the very end if I bring out the 'Cat in the Hat,' " he jokingly told a receptive crowd of area conservatives.

Cruz pleased some - but was mocked by others - last fall when he read "Green Eggs and Ham" to his two young daughters during a many-hours-long speech on the Senate floor denouncing President Obama's Affordable Care Act. It was around 8 p.m., their bedtime.

Graham, Internet gambling and the Christian Coalition

While the national Poker Players Alliance has criticized U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's legislation to ban Internet gambling, the Christian Coalition thinks it's a good idea.

The group, led by Berkeley County's Roberta Combs, recently sent Graham a letter of thanks for the effort "on behalf of the millions of supporters in the Christian Coalition of America."

Graham last month co-introduced legislation seeking to prohibit online gambling. The bill calls for reversing a 2011 Department of Justice ruling that determined the federal government's Wire Act prohibits only the act of online sports betting.

Since the DOJ decision came out, three states - Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey - have opted to legalize online gambling, but only within their state borders. As many as 10 other states are said to be considering it.

Graham said the bill, if passed, would return the interpretation to the pre-2011 landscape, contending that the Justice Department and Obama administration had overstepped their bounds for an issue that should have been decided by Congress.

The Christian Coalition's letter to Graham says the group "strongly agrees with your astute observation," and that "such radical interpretation of the Wire Act must be accomplished through the legislative process and not by the executive branch."

Pro-poker groups have said the move seeks to stifle individual liberty on the Internet.

Prominent Democrat honored

This week, the University of South Carolina honored former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler for 50 years of teaching politics at the school.

One of the guests was state Rep. Gilda Cobb Hunter, D-Orangeburg, a friend of Fowler's and long-time leader in the state and national Democratic party.

Fowler noted that Senate President Pro Tem John Courson, R-Columbia, was one of his former students, and Cobb Hunter noted that several other of her Republican colleagues in the General Assembly also have told her that they once studied under Fowler.

She joked, "I've often wondered, 'What did he teach those guys?'"

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