Republicans Rallying for `Lincoln’ — Majority Whip’s `Movie-Night’ Out

Photograph by David James/20th Century Fox Film Corp/Everett Collection

Daniel Day-Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln, center, in the film "Lincoln."

Kevin McCarthy is big on the big screen.

Last year, during the debt debate on Capitol Hill, the Republican congressman from California and House majority whip showed his troops a clip from the film “The Town,” the Ben Affleck-directed film about a career thief planning his next heist — appropriate for the deficit talks?

He also organized a caucus screening of “Moneyball,” Brad Pitt’s portrayal of a market-minded baseball manager.

This week, McCarthy is taking fellow Republicans to see “Lincoln,” the film portrayal of the party’s most honored president, played by Daniel Day Lewis.

“We do movie nights from time to time,” McCarthy explained today outside an official meeting of the Republican conference in the Capitol. The viewing will take place at an undisclosed location, for security reasons.

Lincoln, whose memorial on the National Mall stands as the grandest reminder of a nation held together amid unspeakable bloodshed, and freedom for the enslaved, often plays an inspirational role in modern-day Washington.

And this film may hold special significance for lawmakers as they brace for weeks of high-stakes negotiating during a post-election session on averting the fiscal cliff. It focuses on Lincoln’s successful efforts in 1865 to horse-trade and cajole members of Congress — some of them so-called “lame ducks,” having just lost their re-election bids — into supporting the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery.

President Barack Obama looked to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals,” for inspiration in Lincoln’s assemblage of advisers of clashing persuasions.

Follow the subtitle of that book: “The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.”

Perhaps McCarthy’s caucus will take away some of that from the show.

Brian Faler, Kate Hunter and Mark Silva contributed to this review. 

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