Stephanie Mencimer

Stephanie Mencimer

Reporter

Stephanie works in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. A Utah native and graduate of a crappy public university not worth mentioning, she has spent several years hanging out with angry white people who occasionally don tricorne hats and come to lunch meetings heavily armed.

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Stephanie covers legal affairs and domestic policy in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. She is the author of Blocking the Courthouse Door: How the Republican Party and Its Corporate Allies Are Taking Away Your Right to Sue. A contributing editor of the Washington Monthly, a former investigative reporter at the Washington Post, and a senior writer at the Washington City Paper, she was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2004 for a Washington Monthly article about myths surrounding the medical malpractice system. In 2000, she won the Harry Chapin Media award for reporting on poverty and hunger, and her 2010 story in Mother Jones of the collapse of the welfare system in Georgia and elsewhere won a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.

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Jeb Bush Named His Dog After His Brother (No, Not That One)

Mitt Romney had Seamus. Jeb Bush had Marvin.

| Tue Jun. 16, 2015 6:05 AM EDT
Marvin the dog
From a 1998 Jeb Bush Campaign Ad C-Span

When it comes to naming new family members, the Bush dynasty isn't particularly creative. There are at least three Georges, two Barbaras, and a couple of Prescotts in the family. Apparently this sort of limited imagination also applies to John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (father to a George Prescott and another John Ellis Jr.). When he was given a black Labrador a year before winning his first election as Florida governor, in 1998, Jeb opted to call the dog Marvin, after his least-famous little brother. (Perhaps this was revenge for Marvin's role in ensuring there is only one surviving photo from Jeb's 1974 wedding. As the official wedding photographer, Marvin accidentally loaded his camera with film previously used at a Frank Zappa concert.)

Marvin the dog made several appearances in Bush campaign ads, and at one point even had his own chat room (remember those?) on Jeb's campaign website when he was running for governor. But Marvin wasn't always as cooperative as the Bush children, who also featured prominently. As Bush explained in a recent Washington Post story about his former campaign advisor Mike Murphy:

"We were doing a family bio ad, the family was having a picnic, along with our beloved dog Marvin. Marvin didn’t follow the script and jumped on the table and destroyed the neatly staged picnic." Bush said Murphy "turned lemons into lemonade" and created "a real and funny" spot, "one of the better ads of its kind I've seen."

Here's the full ad:

Poor Marvin isn't around for any cameos in Jeb's presidential campaign. He expired in 2006 at the age of 11, just two days before Bush signed into law "doggie dining" legislation, allowing canines in Florida restaurants. "Now, man's best friend can enjoy Florida's fine dining too," Bush said at the time. Judging from his picnic performance, Marvin might have relished the opportunity more than most.

Contributing GIFing by AJ Vicens

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Tue Sep. 9, 2014 6:30 AM EDT | Updated Tue Dec. 16, 2014 10:10 AM EDT