Waiting for the punch line? Don't look here for one. This was the actual scene in a Capitol press conference Wednesday morning, as Democratic leaders called together several religious leaders in the latest rhetorical barrage aimed at Republicans blocking a children's health bill.
Democrats clearly believe they have a winning issue with the State Children's Health Insurance Program legislation, so they're pulling out all the props. Yesterday, children were brought to press conferences around Washington. On the heels of a resounding 265-159 approval in the House last night, it was the Senate's chance to turn up the heat on President Bush, who has threatened to veto the $35 billion increase in children's health insurance funding.
This morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), along with Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), stood with a rabbi, a Catholic nun and a Catholic priest in front of a backdrop that said "Keeping Kids Covered" as they pleaded with President Bush not to veto the SCHIP bill.
Like other Democrats who have spoken in the past few days on this issue, the senators passionately invoked the welfare of children.
"The men and women of faith behind me know that the test of a great nation ... is how it cares for its children," Kennedy said.