Thursday's intriguing people
Allen West is the first Republican to join the liberal Congressional Black Caucus since 1997.
January 6th, 2011
11:18 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Allen West

The freshman congressman and Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran from Florida became the first Republican to join the liberal Congressional Black Caucus since 1997. Fellow Republican Tim Scott declined to join.

"We need to bring those variant perspectives and voices to that body politic," he told NPR when asked about joining the caucus and African-American representation in politics. "You know, no one is really talking about an amazing story of this congressional cycle that you have 42 African-Americans who ran on the Republican ticket."

West pointed out that the last time there was an African-American Republican member of Congress from Florida was during Reconstruction.

"Somehow we've got to understand that historical tie, that historical bond, resurrect those principles," he said. "And, you know, everyone keeps beating up the Republican Party about not going to the black community. Well, that's why I'm there in the Congressional Black Caucus."

Marina Rozumovskaya

The 45-year-old high school teacher is one of the citizen symbols of a movement in Moscow to preserve freedoms that some fear are being slowly taken away.

Rozumovskaya is one Moscow resident who fears that her country is headed back to a totalitarian state. So she stood across the street from City Hall, in 10-degree weather, and exercised her right to free speech - but it was a difficult task. She withstood the cold temperatures and the "cold stares" of officers waiting to arrest her. She also had to make sure no other protesters came close, or she'd be arrested for not abiding by a law allowing only one person to picket without obtaining a permit.

"We live in a country of signals," Rozumovskaya told the Washington Post. "It's becoming clear we are on the way back to the 1940s and a totalitarian state. How can one sit and watch quietly as it happens?"

ThePost described the scene as people took turns holding the signs and one instance in which someone tried to join Rozumovskaya, and she quickly rolled up her sign and waited until they left to bring it out again.

"I am not a politician, just a teacher," she said. "I want my pupils to live in a civilized country. I don't want them turning into people without honor and conscience."

Greg Hill

Although many Groupon users flock to the site for big deals, Hill, who is an avid user, became the first to find a different use for it: proposing to his girlfriend.

A picture of the couple was at the top of the "coupon," titled "A Surprise for a Dana from a Greg." At the bottom, under The Fine Print, was: “Expires Jan. 5, 2011. Nontransferable. Groupon entitled to no less than 15% of your marital bliss."

Hill told the New York Times that he and his girlfriend, Dana Burck, were browsing the site when she noticed the deal and clicked on it. Confused, she turned to Hill, who was by that time down on one knee. She said yes and then clicked "buy" to seal the deal.

“I couldn’t get a better deal anywhere, never, never ever,” she told the Times.

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Ronald Ruman

    J.C. Watts was an African-American Republican congressman who served in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    January 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      A Republican that doesn't know his history? I'm shocked.

      January 6, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      He was also a pretty good quarterback for the now defunt Ottawa Rough Riders. Should have won us that Grey Cup. Oh J.C.

      January 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • EWGuy

      Actually, CNN misquoted him...he said he's the first from Florida since reconstruction.

      You can find the correct quote here:
      npr.org/2011/01/05/132675687/Tea-Party-Favorite-Allen-West-Ready-To-Legislate

      January 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neel

      Oscar De Priest was a black Republican who represented Chicago in the 1920s and 30s. Gary Franks was also a black Republican who represented Conneticut in the 90s.

      January 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • DebbiefromVA

      He said he was the first Congressman from Florida since reconstruction. J.C. Watts and the others were not from Florida. Read the article.

      January 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gideon

    Quite right, Mr. Rubman. Does anyone at CNN even fact check their own articles? It wasn't even a quote.

    January 6, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. don

    This guy West seems to lack even basic historical knowledge, they even quoted him: "West pointed out that the last time there was an African-American Republican member of Congress was during Reconstruction."

    Was JC Watt a member of congress? He indeed was...during the 1980's and 1990's...WAY after reconstruction. Most would like to forget JC Watt, but lets not deny he was elected to congress! Perhaps West is delusional?

    January 6, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ben

    He is just a token, like Steele. When he serves his purpose Boehner and Cantor and mcConnel will get rid of him.

    January 6, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ron in NC

    Not to mention Sen Edward Brooke from Massachsetts.

    January 6, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. bramep

    Come on, you would think that the repubs here would use this as a political move to get more African Americans to join the party instead they go after the man for not be an historical scholar. How hypocritical you are!!!!

    January 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    Not to defend Rep. West, but CNN has messed up the quote here – he was referring to an African-American representative from *Florida*. Why exactly his state's long history of being dominated by the KKK and denying blacks the right to vote is relevant is unclear here, but he's not wrong on *this* point.

    January 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Can't believe this guy beat Klein

    The photo caption/first line of the article is: "Allen West is the first Republican to join the liberal Congressional Black Caucus since 1997." Unless the unlikely event of a non-black republican joining the Black Caucus in '97 occurred, I'm pretty sure that Allen West could not be further from the truth.

    January 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. duke

    Allen West will not bring new black folks in!!
    It has nothing to do with misconceptions and everything to do with facts!!
    And you Mr West can keep your double talking,party of god all to yourself!!
    Hey Michael Steele!
    How's that chairmanship going?? now that they've used you to put chinks in the armor of another dark skinned man who was trying to do what is right??
    They'll do to you Mr. West what they have done to ALL dark skinned men and women who came before you trying to fit in!!
    So just know this Allen,I have no faith in your beliefs and will be anxiously awaiting how they bring you down and I will enjoy every minute of it just as I have enjoyed them bringing down "token"(Steele)!!

    January 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. automagic

    When you disagree with something the Democrats do politically, you get called a racist. Now that Republicans are becoming more diverse, can they place the race card now too when people are critical of something they do? By the same logic, they should. I don't like either party (I vote Libertarian) but this "us vs them" junk is getting ridiculous.

    January 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Johnny Danger

    What about the school teacher holding the sign in Moscow.
    She might as well be in D.C.

    January 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Johnny Danger

    You think it won't happen to you because it hasn't happened yet.
    Keep living paycheck to paycheck and trusting the Advertising.

    January 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jim

    Do we have a Congressional White Caucus?

    January 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • MizzGivens

      Yes, it's called *the rest of Congress*.

      January 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. duke

    Yes the entirety of congress!!

    January 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GADemocrat

    I can't wait for the new Weeper of the House John Boehner to start up the Congressional Orange Caucus!

    January 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
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