Ariza Cast in HBO Films’ “Confirmation,” Starring Kerry Washington

Kristen Ariza is getting confirmed

The part-Hispanic actress has been added to the cast of HBO FilmsConfirmation, starring Kerry Washington.

Kristen Ariza

Ariza joins Kimberly Elise and Malcolm Gets in the film, which details the Supreme Court hearings for Clarence Thomas (Wendell Pierce) that were rocked by testimony by Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill (Washington).

The hearings brought the country to a standstill and forever changed the way we think about sexual harassment, victims’ rights and modern race relations.

Ariza will play Judy Smith, the White House press liaison.

Interestingly, it’s a reunion of sorts for Washington and the Smith character. Smith is the founder, CEO and president of the crisis-management firm Smith & Co., the inspiration behind Washington’s ABC drama series Scandal. Smith was Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H.W. Bush and reportedly was instrumental in guiding his administration through the controversies surrounding the Thomas nomination.

Ariza’s credits include appearances on Parks and Recreation, Scorpion and Castle.

Bush Makes Debut as a Political Candidate at the Texas Legislative Conference

George P. Bush has made what’s being called a “safe if rather unpolished debut” as a political candidate at the Texas Legislative Conference.

The 36-year-old half-Mexican American attorney gave a keynote speech at the conference on Friday that shined a spotlight on Republican themes like energy independence.

George P. Bush

Despite a speech that lacked the easy manner mastered by other members of his political family, about 200 people at the conference still responded with enthusiastic applause before Bush left the room without shaking many hands or speaking to reporters.

“I can’t contain my burning optimism for being a Texan,” said Bush. “For being born here, for being educated here and having the opportunity to create opportunity here.”

Bush – the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and the son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush –  left Texas with his family for Florida in the late 1970s. But her returned to the Lone Star State for college and law school. He now resides in Fort Worth with his wife, Amanda.

The keynote address was Bush’s public debut as a political candidate. He formally announced this month that he’ll run for Texas Land Commissioner in 2014 after months of hints about a campaign for a statewide office.

Bush took no big risks and avoided gaffes in a speech that reminded the audience about his nine months deployed in Afghanistan and working with at-risk students in urban schools. But he often stumbled over his words and sometimes appeared to rush through the notes in front of him.

Bush, who said he wears his U.S. Naval Reserve uniform one weekend a month for training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, sounded most assured and comfortable when discussing the welfare of veterans.

Among the responsibilities overseen by the Texas General Land Office is veterans affairs. Bush vowed to make veterans more aware of the benefits they’re entitled to if elected to land commissioner.

Bush, whose mother was born in Mexico, is considered a rising star among conservative Hispanics, and his political pedigree is hard to match. He has been active in politics for years. Last summer, he was promoted to deputy finance chairman of the Texas Republican Party.

George P. Bush Debating a Run for State Office in Texas

It looks like George Prescott Bush may continue his family’s political legacy…

The 36-year-old half-Mexican American attorney says he’s close to settling on campaigning for the position of Texas Land Commissioner next year. He doesn’t believe he’ll make up his mind until he knows what Texas Governor Rick Perry, a fellow Republican, decides to do.

George P. Bush

“We for sure are running, the question is the office,” Bush told The Associated Press during the first interview about his political future since filing paperwork in November to seek elected office in Texas.

Bush’s father is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, his grandfather is former President George H.W. Bush and his uncle is former President and Texas Governor George W. Bush. Perry has been governor since George W. left for the White House.

The land commissioner position has traditionally served as a steppingstone to higher office, but Bush said little about any plans to eventually become a national political force.

Instead, Bush spoke about how his past experience as an asset manager would help him manage the Permanent Schools Fund, which pays for public education and is managed by the land commissioner. He also said his perspective as an Afghanistan war veteran will help him use the post to become a leader in veterans’ affairs.

Bush said he would announce his final decision after the Texas Legislature adjourns in May but added that his choice will depend “where the governor’s thinking is.” Perry, who made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination in the race for president, remains popular in Texas, and he’s planning to reveal this summer if he’ll seek another term.

Some have speculated that Bush could challenge Perry for governor — and even if he doesn’t, what Perry decides will trigger political dominos falling.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson plans to run for lieutenant governor next year, creating a vacancy in his office. But Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, may himself run for governor in 2014, meaning his post could be open too.

Bush suggested he’d be willing to wait his turn politically rather than immediately seeking top positions coveted by others in the state GOP.

“We’ve said that we want to be team players in the party, providing a younger, fresher vision for our values,” he said.

Bush speaks Spanish, and his mother Columba is from Mexico. Conservatives view George P. Bush on the ballot as a way to solidify support among Hispanics.

A Democrat hasn’t won statewide office in Texas since 1994, but Hispanics tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic and accounted for two-thirds of Texas’ population growth over the last decade. Bush noted: “We’ll be majority Hispanic in six years.”

“I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that having a candidate of Hispanic origin, or someone who can speak Spanish, can automatically obtain these votes,” Bush said of Hispanics. “Having said that, it’s important tactically to have candidates that understand issues of the community.”

Bush said of trying to stand out among his famous political family, “It’s always been the thing of my grandmother to say, ‘Go out and make a name for yourself’ and that’s something that I’ve followed.”

“But who better to ask for advice on politics than two former presidents and a former governor?” he said. “They’re not involved in the day-to-day operations. They’re not involved in formulating my ideology. It’s more of an informal advice.”

Bush said his grandfather inspired him to join the military, and he was deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He said that before enlisting, he knew politics was in his blood but felt he was too inexperienced to run for office.

It wasn’t until the last few months, however, that “I felt it was time for my generation to step forward in state politics,” Bush said.

Bush now spends his time crisscrossing Texas and the country, raising money and meeting with supporters. He was in Austin on Monday and posed for pictures outside the state Capitol before disappearing into meetings with legislators.

Eva Longoria to Co-Chair Presidential Inaugural Committee

Eva Longoria served as a co-chairwoman of President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and gave an inspired speech at the Democratic National Convention… And now she’s playing an active role in his inauguration.

The 37-year-old Mexican American actress will serve co-chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, along with former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun, the national finance chairman of Obama’s campaign.

Eva Longoria

Longoria and Barzun will be joined by Jane Stetson, the national finance chairwoman of the DNC, and Frank White, who served on the Obama administration’s National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprises.

Obama’s second inauguration will again include a “national day of service” and his inaugural committee includes honorary chairman roles for the four living ex-presidents, according to the committee. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush will serve as honorary co-chairmen of the weekend.

Obama’s public inauguration events will take place on Monday, January 21, 2013, though he will be officially sworn in for his second term of office on January 20. The U.S. Constitution specifies a presidential term begins at noon on January 20th. The public events however will be held the next day because the 20th is a Sunday.

Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, will head the inaugural parade, while campaign deputies will lead efforts such as the national day of service, inaugural balls.

On the Saturday before his inauguration, Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and members of each of their families will participate in a national day of service. They will encourage “Americans across the country to organize and participate in service projects in their communities,” the committee said.