The video: House Democrats ratcheted up their rhetoric Thursday as they debated a bill that would end Bush-era tax cuts for the richest Americans. Leading the charge was Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), who said Republicans care more about protecting the wealthy than the middle class. (Watch clip below.) To illustrate his point, Crowley displayed a life-sized picture of Trouble, a white Maltese once owned by hotel tycoon Leona Helmsley, who bequeathed the dog a $12 million trust fund in her will. "Under the Republican plan, if Trouble doesn't get a tax break, nobody else does," Crowley said. "They'll protect this little dog but they won't protect the middle class of this country."
The reaction: What better way to make the Democrats' point and poke fun at the super rich than to talk about how tax policy might apply to an "heiress dog," says Jen Chung in Gothamist. Did we really need this bit of "political theater," asks Jennifer Fermino in the New York Post. Crowley's stunt — and House Democrats' approval of a bill extending the tax cuts for everyone but the rich — "succeeded only in infuriating Republicans." The House "bill has zero chance in the Senate," so it's up to negotiators to settle the tax-cut extension behind closed doors. View Crowley's presentation: