Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Netflix 'House of Cards' star Kevin Spacey got real-life tips from Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy

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It’s a big deal to be the Majority Whip, the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives. Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy is the current Whip. But another Kevin is casting a dark shadow over the job. Actor Kevin Spacey picked up some insider tips from the real-life Whip for his lead role in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards.”

"House of Cards" is an American version of the BBC drama of the same name. In it, Spacey introduces his Washington to the audience, calling himself "the lowly House Majority Whip" who keeps things moving in a Congress "choked by pettiness and lassitude." The Whip's job description, Spacey's character says, is to "clear the pipes and keep the sludge moving."

Spacey visited Washington to pick the brain of the real Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy, who gave the actor a tour of the Capitol and accompanied him onto the House floor, discussing the Whip’s day-to-day responsibilities.

Aides say the two struck up a friendship. That may not last after McCarthy sees the show about the devious machinations of a seasoned politico who thought he was in line for a Cabinet post.

Some people are substituting a “House of Cards” viewing marathon for Sunday’s Super Bowl; Netflix is making all 13 episodes of the drama available to its subscribers at once starting Frday. (View the trailer below.)

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