It's August. Pouring a bucket of ice water over your head for a good cause isn't the biggest risk in the world. But in the world of politics, it's enough to make headlines.
On Wednesday, Sen. Lisa Murkoswki joined the popular ice bucket challenge, in which people are encouraged to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
But the Alaska senator upped the ante, posting a video of herself jumping into her native state's frigid waters for the challenge, then daring her fellow senators to take the plunge.
The challenge started with Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player. In 2012, Frates was diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to loss of control over your muscles, arms, legs, and voice.
On July 31, he posted a video on his Facebook page challenging people to join him, and soon thousands followed. The challenge works like this: You film yourself dumping a bucket of ice water over your head, post the video on Facebook, then name a few other people to do the same within 24 hours—or donate $100 to an ALS charity.
Since then, the challenge has attracted star athletes, celebrities, and politicians. Among the politicians, Boston Mayor Marty Baron, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Sen. Scott Brow, of Massachusetts, and New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino have all gone through with the challenge.
Though the challenge may seem a bit gimmicky, it's paid dividends for ALS research. Between July 29 and Aug. 11, the ALS Association collected $1.3 million, compared with $22,000 in the same time period last year.
There is one politician, however, who definitely won't be dumping a bucket of ice on his head, despite being challenged: President Obama. Ethel Kennedy challenged the president to the ice bucket challenge on Sunday after getting doused herself.
"Welcome to Cape Cod, President Obama," Kennedy, who is 86 years old, said in the video. Obama is vacationing there, in Martha's Vineyard, this week. "I nominate you."
But on Wednesday, deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz confirmed that the president would not be participating in the challenge. Schultz said that instead, Obama has donated an unspecified sum to an ALS charity.
So we won't be seeing a grainy Facebook video of Obama getting ice water dumped on his head anytime soon. But imagine, for a moment, how much money the White House could raise if it auctioned off that honor to one lucky Republican congressman.
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