Politicians plunge into Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge continues to drench the country in waves of chilly water all in the name of charity.

The challenge is simple.  A participant is nominated to either dump a bucket of ice water over their head or donate to their charity of choice.  The participant names several other nominees, who then have 24-hours to complete the challenge or donate to charity.  Most participants choose to do both.  

ALS research charities, more commonly known as those to benefit Lou Gehrig’s disease research, have received the biggest boost from the challenge.   The ALS Association reports $4 million in donations between July 29 and August 12 alone… whereas the association reported only $1.12 million during the same period last year.

“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” says Barbara Newhouse, President of the ALS Association.  “While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible, the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable.”

The latest notable participants include the Kennedy clan from their home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  Maxwell Kennedy posted a video of his family lined up, dumping icy water on their heads.  

The line ends with 86 year-old Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, braving the chill and challenging President Obama to do the same.

“Welcome to Cape Cod, President Obama,” says the 86 year-old.  ”I nominate you!”

The White House issued a response via spokesman Eric Schultz saying:

Politicians across the country are taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Last month, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) took the challenge and made his donation to the American Cancer Society.  New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino also participated, challenging his political opponent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) to do the same.  And, of course, MSNBC’s own Rachel Maddow responded to a challenge by Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith by braving a torrent of ice.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/30/14, 10:26 PM ET

Rachel accepts Ice Bucket Challenge

Rachel Maddow teases how she tackled the daunting challenge to dump a bucket of ice water on her head – for charity! See the full video at maddowblog.com.

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Politicians plunge into Ice Bucket Challenge