Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) gave his blessing to the reelection campaign of Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who is facing the “race of a lifetime” as he battles Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) in the primary for a San Fernando Valley congressional seat.
Issa and Berman were being honored on Sunday at the annual American Spirit Awards from the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors.
“I don’t tell people to vote for Democrats, and if there were a good Republican in the race, I wouldn’t tell you to vote for Howard, probably,” Issa told the crowd at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “But the fact is Howard is in the race of his lifetime, and I want him back.”
Issa praised Berman’s efforts to reach across the aisle, noting that he is among the few in Congress who “when they say they are going to do something they put the power into it.”
Issa did quip about Berman’s brother, Michael, who served as a redistricting consultant in 2000 (and is a sore spot for Sherman). “His brother did shit on me in redistricting 10 years ago, and I am bitter,” Issa said. “I lost Orange County over it.”
Issa and Berman found themselves on the opposite ends of the debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act. Berman was one of its champions, while Issa helped lead the campaign against it, sponsoring an alternate piece of anti-piracy legislation called the OPEN Act. Both bills have stalled out.
“I will tell you there will be a deal,” Issa said. “It may not be SOPA and it it may not be OPEN and all the other names you have heard. There will be a deal. Congress has to address this.”
He called for “cooperation from organizations from Facebook and Google and all the other people who profit from the Internet because of their innovation..”
“I want to get it right, so I am not sorry that we didn’t get there, but I am sorry we didn’t get back to the table the next day,” he said.
Berman also praised Issa, calling him “one of the most creative elected officials with one of the most creative minds” he has served in Congress with.
On anti-piracy legislation, he said, “Regardless of the differences in approach… we all agree there is an urgency here and an importance to addressing this issue.”
Writer-director Lionel Chetwynd introduced Issa and Dennis Doty introduced Berman. Also honored were Bob Barker and Larry Auerbach.