Rep. Connolly ready for spelling bee

So what’s Connolly’s game plan?

“I’m a very visual person, so I see words so I can spell them out,” he reveals. Connolly’s communications director, George Burke, tells ITK, “Contestants, beware,” because his boss is the real deal.

Burke says Connolly will “hold his own in the spelling bee,” and his spelling prowess is on display even when a bee championship title isn’t on the line. Calling him a “voracious reader” who spots grammatical errors in documents prepared by his staff and in news articles, Burke admits, “I occasionally have to go to the dictionary to determine the meaning of an arcane word he inserts into a statement.”

“All I can say is: [Sen.] Jeff Flake [R-Ariz.], look out,” Connolly tells us with a hearty laugh.

Flake, another one of the nine congressional participants in the bee, appears to be taking a much more laid-back approach.

“I’m just going to bee myself,” he said in an email.

Other lawmakers slated to compete include: Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), along with Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

But Connolly says the Beltway reporters — including The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman, CBS News’ Major Garret, and Fox News Channel’s Ed Henry, among others — are really the ones who will have to start studying their Merriam-Webster dictionaries: “We have to remind our colleagues in the press that there are no copy editors in the spelling bee.”

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