California’s Congressional freshmen are quickly learning the ropes at the Capitol. The new kids are treading softly with one DC beast: the press corps.
Republican Congressman-elect Doug LaMalfa of Redding says he’s already heard the stories about reporters on Capitol Hill. He hears they "follow you around and play 'gotcha' with their little cameras and taking something that you’re doing and spinning that out of perspective."
Newly-elected LA Democrat Tony Cardenas saw the DC press corps in action the day House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced the new freshmen. When Pelosi opened up the press conference to reporters for questions, "all they wanted to ask it seemed was about General Petraeus and that issue." Cardenas says he thought reporters would ask about "what’s next for the country, the economy, policy etc." The fact that they didn't, he says "honestly, was a bit disappointing."
LaMalfa and Cardenas are state legislature veterans who've dealt with the press corps in Sacramento. Cardenas has also fenced with reporters who covered him at L.A. City Hall. Their one saving grace: the DC press corps largely ignores freshmen after they’re sworn in … unless they do something stupid.