C-SPAN's Brian Lamb couldn't convince Newt Gingrich to let the network install cameras in Congress. Or Nancy Pelosi. Now he's working on John Boehner, the presumptive speaker of the House for the 112th Congress.
Lamb, the network's founder and chief executive, has long argued that C-SPAN should be permitted to cover floor debates as the network sees fit, with its own cameras capturing reaction shots or taking a wider view of the chamber. Congress currently owns and operates the cameras, with C-SPAN -- and other networks -- relying on its feed.
And in reviving his crusade, Lamb is trying to throw Boehner's own words back at him.
In January, Boehner blasted the Democrats for what he dubbed a lack of transparency during the health care debate. The Ohio Republican, who's party will control the House, then supported Lamb's proposal for televised coverage of hearings on the health care overhaul, and stated that "every issue of national import should be debated by the people's elected representatives in full public view."
Lamb reminded Boehner of that statement in a letter hand-delivered last week.
"We do not propose to change the current House recording system or its output." Lamb wrote. "C-SPAN's request is for the addition of a few small robotically-operated cameras in the House chamber. When mixed into the existing House production, shots from these cameras would allow us to producer a second feed of House floor debates that is a journalistic producer." (You can read Lamb's full letter here)
Boehner press secretary Michael Steel told The Cutline on Monday that "Rep. Boehner is committed to making the House more transparent and accountable."
"A number of media outlets, including C-SPAN, have requested the ability to install private cameras in the House chamber," Steel continued. "While no decisions have been made at this time, these requests are under review."