House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has been bombarded with questions about Frank Underwood, the fictional Democratic House Majority Whip in the Netflix original series “House of Cards,” since the show’s debut last month.
Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is the main character in the political thriller. Cold, calculating and power-hungry, Underwood will do anything to get to the top of the political food chain. The only thing more terrifying than watching Frank Underwood carry out his dark deeds on screen would be becoming a victim of the Congressman’s tricks in real life.
McCarthy told Red Alert Politics that the fake majority whip has in fact pulled a fast one on him, the real majority whip, in real life.
Congressman McCarthy was finishing work in his office one day when the landline rang. McCarthy answered, and a voice on the other line said, “This is Frank Underwood.”
The purpose of Spacey’s call was to ask McCarthy for advice on developing his character, the Congressman said. McCarthy told Red Alert he was reluctant at first to help because he thought the liberal actor would make him look bad — until the Republican Congressman discovered the show’s lead character was actually a Democrat. Then, he had zero qualms helping the actor, he said, jokingly.
The California Congressman said that the show not only modeled Underwood’s office off of his own, but that Spacey even adopted one of his lines.
During a meeting with Spacey, McCarthy told the actor that that before a bill is voted on he tells members of his caucus to, “Vote your conscience, vote your district. Just don’t surprise me.”
McCarthy said he was watching the show one day and heard Spacey repeat the line nearly verbatim to House members before a vote: ‘This is where you guys are, this is where you are, this is where the conference is and I’m going to tell you one thing, you vote your district, you vote your conscience. Just don’t surprise me.” (Underwood utters the line in episode nine of the show’s first season.)