One of the many advantages of being President of the United States of America is that you can request special screenings of movies that interest you, since a POTUS trip to a movie theater is literally a national security concern. Senators, however, are not often so lucky as to get private screenings of big releases. But yesterday the U.S. Senate took an official recess from their embittered battles over tax reform to see Steven Spielberg's Lincoln at a special screening in the Capitol's Visitors Center.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid first proposed the idea of a screening earlier this month, and at the time we speculated he wasn't so much looking for fun movie times, but rather was hoping to influence senators from across the aisle. ABC News reports Reid spoke more directly about the film, and this screening, saying:
“I hope everybody who shared his anti-political mood will go out there and see Lincoln. The movie portrays a nobility of politics in exactly the right way”.

Having seen Lincoln, I'm frankly a little surprised Reid used the phrase "nobility of politics," since much of the film is about ethically questionable compromising, backroom deals and reluctant bipartisanship to pass legislation that the president believes is crucial to the success of our nation - in this instance the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. As Tommy Lee Jones playing Republican House of Representatives member Thaddeus Stevens says in the film, "The greatest measure of the 19th century was passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America." Basically, Lincoln is far from being a glossy enamored look at American politics.

Still, Reid said of the film, “For me, it’s what I work with every day but it’s good the American people have seen or will see what the great Abraham Lincoln did to get things done. It’s remarkable.”

For now we don’t know if the film will influence senators toward bipartisanship as the fiscal cliff draws nearer. Regardless, Spielberg and Lincoln's star Daniel Day-Lewis turned out last night to be a part of the history-making event, alongside with the senators and their spouses. In a rare move, the Senate Rules Committee even granted special permission for the attendees to enjoy popcorn during the screening.

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