Check out some of the keywords below:
A section of tax code; Political organziations that under IRS rules can accept unlimited donations and spend that money on political advocacy, these groups must disclose their locations monthly
Long term unemployed who have exhausted the 99 weeks of eligible unemployment benefits
Andrews Air Force Base, the home of Air Force One.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees; the largest public employee and health care workers union in the U.S.
- Anti-trust exemption
Health insurance companies do not have to comply with federal laws that regulate trade and prevent monopolies. They are regulated by states. In a majority of Metropolitan areas, a single health insurer controls at least 50 percent of the market.
- Armistice Agreement
A formal agreement signed by the U.N., China and Korea to end the Korean War in 1953.
- Armistice Day
November 11, 1919 — Marked the first anniversary of the end of WWII
- Baked in
A predetermined outcome
When a political candidate hits the campaign trail, making stops across a state or country
- Beat Sweetner ** Special Journo Speak
When reporters write a flattering "profile" on an official they cover on their beat
- Bend the cost curve
Lower costs over time
- Big Gulp
A barge that has been converted into a large capacity skimmer.
Short for bilateral; a one-on-one diplomatic meeting
- 'Bottle Noise Bombs'
Per Secretary Gates -- Designed to affect the security climate and intimidate people not to vote in Iraq elections.
- Bottom Kill
Opposite of "top kill," drilling mud and cement blown into the well from relief wells under the leak to seal it off
- Brush pass
The clandestine, hand-to-hand delivery of items or payments made as one person walks past another in a public place
Informal written communication between government officials
- Cadillac tax
A nickname for the president’s plan to tax the most expensive “cadillac” plans to help pay for reform. It would tax insurance companies and critics say the cost would be passed on to consumers.
- Cap and Trade
Environmental policy that sets a cap on the amount of pollution and allows companies to trade credits that permit pollution.
- Carbon neutral
Balancing the carbon released in pollution by sequestering an equal amount, or buying carbon credits to make up the difference.
A group of people in the same political party who decide on policy or select a political candidate
- CDO or Collateralized Debt Obligation
The repackaging of loans and other debt into a single security that can be sold. The higher the risk of those loans defaulting, the more the CDO pays.
- Circling the wagons
Gathering around to defend and protect
Washington likes its Western talk! To use in a sentence: Democrats are circling the wagons around Harry Reid so he survives.
- Close hold
Don't tell anyone
A vote taken to end debate: 60 are needed in the Senate. Cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit to overcome a filibuster.
Short for congressional delegation; a visit abroad by members of Congress.
Cost of living adjustment
A formalized, scripted discussion on the House floor that helps demonstrate the intention of lawmakers as they craft a bill.
A document released at the end of a summit outlining the achievements of the summit and the road ahead.
Candidate for appointed office whose known positions and background set off few or no alarms
- Cross tabs or Cross tabulation
The breakdown inside polls of political affiliation, self-described ideology, age, sex, income bracket
- Curtain raiser
A TV or print story that previews a certain event
- Cuts camera
The camera that shows the other angle, the reporters, the unexpected closeups that the main "head on" camera misses
- Dead cat bounce
A politician or party sees a brief bounce in poll numbers after a period of decline.
- Debt ceiling
Maximum level of national debt the government can take on
- Deem and pass
The House can "deem" certain parts of the health care bill as passed, without having to vote on them.
- Deep regret
Diplospeak for I'm really, really sorry
Term associated with foreign policy; what are the concrete outcomes especially in meetings with foreign leaders?
A way to buy insurance against some risk or to bet on some financial outcome
- Discretionary spending
Spending set by annual appropriations made by decisions of Congress, optional spending as opposed to mandatory funding for entitlement programs
- District work period
Time set aside for members of the House to visit their home districts
- Donor maintenance
When a politician meets with his donors to say hello and raise some money
- DREAM Act
Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act
- Drilling 'mud:'
Clay and minerals custom mixed with oil or water, in this case to reach 16.4 pounds per gallon so it's heavier than the oil and the water
- Document dump
Release of large quantities of requested information.
- Donor maintenance
Fundraising term for keeping your big donors happy with perks.
- Doomsday plane
The modified Boeing 747 designed to serve as a backup Pentagon and Air Force One in case of attack.
Denial of Service Attack
- Doughnut hole
In a Medicare drug benefit, coverage ends at a certain dollar amount, and patients must pay for drugs themselves until they reach a second very high deductible.
Opposes military force to resolve conflict
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
- Down ballot
Races below the marquee races on ballots, like dogcatcher or coroner or judge
- Dual tracking
Trying to pass two different bills at the same time
A Congressional provision directing funds to be spent on specific projects, typically inserted by a lawmaker to benefit his or her state.
- East Wing
In the White House, home to the First Lady and her staff
- Echo chamber
Talking points repeated over and over
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
- Emergency declaration
How local and state governments as for federal funding in a crisis; funding is capped at $5 million
- Exit poll
A poll of voters as they leave the voting place
- Express advocacy
Political ads that explicitly ask voters to elect a candidate or defeat a candidate
- Evergreen ** Special Journo Speak Look
A news story that can be aired at any time, it's not time sensitive or tied to a news event
- Family photo
Group shot at G20 or other big diplomatic gatherings
- Fannie Mae
Federal National Mortgage Association
Federally administered tribal areas
- Fat finger
Slang for a typo where you hit the wrong key, or two keys instead of one key
- Fence mending
An attempt to try to repair icy or broken relations with the leader of another country or a fellow politician
- Final status
Commonly understood to be the key issues that need to be resolved before a final peace deal can be reached: how to share Jerusalem, the borders of two states, the future of Palestinian refugees and Israel's security
Seats that must be held in order for one party to retain the majority
Floating hotels; housing for BP workers in the Gulf.
Presidential motorcade, but on boats
- Food security
Having a reliable source of food and sufficient resources to purchase it
Diplomatic code for contentious
Privilege allowing a member of Congress to use his signature in lieu of a postage stamp.
- Freddi Mac
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
Informal, off-camera briefing with Press Corps by the White House Press Secretary
- Gang of eight
Eight members of Congress who must be informed by the White House and CIA about any covert intelligence orders signed by the president.
- GDP or Gross Domestic Product
The market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a country in a year.
Get Out The Vote
- Government in a box
Gen. McChrystal coined the phrase to describe the U.S. backed Afghanistan administrators and police who set up the civilian government in Marja right after the offensive.
TO be exempted from new regulations
- Green Room
On the first floor of the White House. Historians claim its been a presidential favorite for its "intimate scale and distinctive decor."
- Grip and grin
When a politician shakes hands and smiles, mostly for the cameras
- Ground game
The strategy used by a campaign to get voters to the polls.
Favors military force to resolve conflict
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response — a certification standard for Hazmat cleanup jobs
Military and government term describing discussions and evaluations of an agency's performance following training or a major event
Greek for "what" or "such"
Wiggling out of an answer
- IAEA or International Atomic Energy Agency
The UN Agency in charge of monitoring nuclear activity around the world
- I'm just saying
A passive way of telling others I'm right and you're not
Sharing ideas across different branches of the government
Investiture ** Court speak
Final, formal step to becoming a Supreme Court Justice
The use of public appeals to influence a business
Pashto word, a gathering of a few or a large number of people
- Joint Base Andrews
Naval Air facility in Washington, D.C.
- Judicial fifth
Nominee not answering a case question during confirmation because he or she might have to decide that case
- Junk stop
Injecting debris into a well as a stopper
- Lame duck
Elected official holding office during the period between the election and swearing-in of a successor
- Liberal leave
Allows government workers to leave early or call out on bad weather days
Word used by the White House to say, "no more open press events," like travel lid or photo lid.
- Likely voter
Voting record, level of interest
- Loop current
Warm ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico
- Magic words
Vote for, elect, support, defeat, reject
- Major disaster declaration
No cap on how much federal money a local government can get
- Man up!
Don't be a wuss
- Margin of error
The maximum possible error rate of a given poll
Using political polling and consumer data to shape a message
- Mistakes were made
When officials acknowledge errors, screw-ups or wrongdoings
- 'My friend'
Loosely translated, it means: I totally and fundamentally disagree with you but let's keep it collegial, shall we?
New Executive Office Building
Not In My Back Yard
- Nothingburger ** Special Journo Speak Look
A derisive term to describe a story or event that doesn't have a lot of importance/significance — but is hyped as though it does
- Nuclear Posture View
Process determining the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. Security strategy
Overtaken by events — a military term; when a situation changes so rapidly that a proposed plan or course of actions is no longer possible or relevent.
Old Executive Office Building
- Ohio clock
Clock that stood in or near the Senate Chamber ever since it was purchased in the early 1800s. No record explains how it received its name.
- Omnibus bill
Bundles together several measures into one
- On Message
When a politician sticks to his talking points
- Open source
Information available to the public
Operations Security. It means to keep sensitive information about a mission or operation from your enemy.
The way a decision or actions looks to observers, especially as it pertains to the actions of elected and government officials.
Off the record, on the run
"Of the United States" as in:
POTUS — President of the United States
FLOTUS — First Lady of the United States
SCOTUS — Supreme Court of the United States
Office of Vice President
- P5 Plus One
The group considering sanctions against Iran. The "P5" stands for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: The United States, Britain, France, China, Russia. Germany is the plus one because of its long-standing dealings with Iran.
A pat-down inspection complements the hand-wand inspection. In order to ensure security, this inspection may include sensitive areas of the body. Security officers are rigorously trained to maintain the highest level of professionalism.
- Pebble Beach
Nickname for the White House North Lawn area used for television stand-ups
- Pen and pad
An off-camera briefing for reporters
One party takes a seat away from the other party
Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Greece
- Pocket veto
President does not sign the bill; Congress must be adjourned
- Point of order
Made during floor proceedings to say the rules are being violated; proceedings stop and presiding officer decides if it's valid
- Pool hold
The place where the reporters and photograhers stay while the president's at an event.
- Pooled Press
A media arrangement where the major TV networks "pool" their resources and one network covers an event for the others. ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC are in the network pool rotation.
- Pool spray
Media is allowed into an event at the White House for a quick minute or so and photographers are "spraying the room" — shooting from left to right, quickly, to capture the scene.
A preemptive rebuttal
- Predator drone
Unmanned aerial vehicle
To judge beforehand, usually without sufficient evidence. In Washington, it means — "No, I'm not going to answer that question. Next, please."
- President's Daily Briefing
Top secret document containing highest level intelligence on threats to national security.
- Presidential finding
A highly classified presidential order authorizing covert action
Special measures that cannot be filibustered from coming to the floor
A safe throwaway word that means nothing and offends nobody.
- Proprietary Trading
Wall Street language that turns into Washington Speak: Investments made banks using their own money, not the money of clients
Opposition or resistance to a plan and in this case — a reporter
United States, United Nations, Russia and European Union
A briefing of a meeting delivered by a top official who is in the meeting
To be briefed on a piece of intelligence, or intel program or any secret that is closely held
The repitition of criminal or delinquent behavior, especially after one has been punished or served time for said behavior
A procedure that would allow one party to bypass a potential filibuster and pass a bill with a simple majority vote. The rule was created to allow Congress to pass budgets in extreme circumstances and is rarely ever used.
- Red Meat
When a politician plays to his base
- Red Notice
International wanted persons alert
Systems in place to catch other systems' errors
- Resolution of ratification
Formal consent by the Senate to ratify a treaty
- Responsible party
As it relates to the BP oil spill in the Gulf, the "responsible party" is the person who pays the bill for the clean-up. It comes from a law passed 20 years ago after the Exxon Valdez disaster.
- Retail politics
When a politician seeks votes one-by-one, in person.
- Ride herd
To supervise someone or something
A clause added to a legislative bill having little to do with the subject matter of the bill.
An automated phone call that politicians use in a campaign
When a document is signed without being reviewed
Strong, healthy or hardy
Republic of Korea
Rest overnight or remain overnight
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility
People that lead the way and make sure everyone reaches the Summit safely
Losing 60 or more seats in the House
To bet against an investment long; to bet that investment will do well
- Solicitor General
America's lawyer - responsible for representing the United States before the Supreme Court
Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty
- SOUTHCOM or U.S. Southern Command
The military divides up the world into nine regions. Southcom is the region that covers Haiti and is now coordinating the U.S. military response in Haiti
- Special relationship
The alliance between the U.S. and the U.K.
- Spike **Special Journo Speak Look
To cancel a story a reporter is working on
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
- State Work Period
Aka Senate Recess
- Statuary Hall
One of the most historic chambers in the U.S. Capitol
A rousing or stirring speech
A temporary substitute for something else
Space Transportation System — original tame for the space shuttle program
You often hear about a politician or a surrogate out on the "stump" or giving a "stump speech." Quick history — It began in the 19th century when politicians actually spoke from sawed off tree stumps.
- Super pac
A political action committee that may raise unlimited sums of money
Secure Video Teleconferences
Ballistic Missile Test Data — Key Variables recorded and transmitted back to ground stations for analysis
- The Base
A group of voters devoted to a single political party or ideology
- The Diet
Japanese parliament composed of 242 members of the House of Councilors, and 480 members of the House of Representatives
- Tick tock
The play by play of how a major decision is made
- Think tank
Organization involved in policy advocacy and research in areas such as political strategy, economics and science
- Threat stream
A series of terrorism threat reports from a particular group or aimed at a specific target.
- Thumbsucker ** Journo Speak Look
A big, philosophical "what does it all mean" story
- Top kill
Pumping heavy drilling fluid or "mud" into the well to stop the flow, then sealing it with cement
- Top line
The basic findings of a poll; the bullet point endings of take away
- Tracking poll
A poll conducted daily, usually part of a three day rolling sample, to track voter trends
Politician presenting ideology as above and between the left and right side. Coined by Dick Morris during Clinton's re-election campaign.
- Two minute warning
Notice given to Press Corps before briefings and news conferences
UN General Assembly
- "Up or Down" vote
Another word for reconciliation or as Republicans would say, "jamming it through."
- Vessel of opportunity
Program incorporating fishermen and local boaters to help in the cleanup in the Gulf
Background check on a candidate for a political appointment
- VIP pool
When the five networks "pool" their coverage of a very important person's travel
- Walk it back
To try to refine, clarify or minimize a statement to undo the damage
- Ways and Means Committee
The chief tax-writing committee in the House with jurisdiction over social security, unemployment and Medicare. It is also an English Parliamentary term referring to methods of collecting money to meet the requirements for the state.
William M. Daley
A candidate who has clearly won the race, beyond the normal margin for a recount.
- "With all due respect"
The words politicians use just as they're about to lower a boom on an adversary. Loosely translated it means — "I'm about to say something you don't like."
Being in trouble and getting chewed out
Expert who studies a subject or issue thoroughly or excessively; associated with "policy wonk"
© 2013 msnbc.com