In The Know

Tucker Carlson and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. are tight

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) and The Daily Caller's Tucker Carlson are good friends. Who knew?

ITK caught up with Carlson Tuesday night at a party for Facebook at the W Hotel. An exiting Carlson said was headed to Morton's steakhouse for a cigar at Jackson's invitation. But before he left, he sang Jackson's praises.

"Jesse's great," said the co-founder of the newest news site on the political scene while vigorously chewing on a piece of nicotine gum. "He's a cool guy and he doesn't take himself too seriously, which makes him really fun to hang out with."

Carlson left moments later for the Connecticut Ave. restaurant, and what he said would be his third social stop of the night.

Carlson hasn't always been so chummy with members of the powerful Jackson family: as co-host of CNN's Crossfire from 2001 to 2005, Carlson tangled with Jackson's father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, on issues ranging from poverty to religion.

Smoking is forbidden in Washington, D.C. restaurants, and a spokeswoman for Morton's said there was no smoking indoors on Tuesday night. If any cigars were smoked, they would have had to have been enjoyed on the second-story outdoor patio. In the snow.


Staff throws surprise birthday party for Rep. Robert Wittman

Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Va.) turned 51 Wednesday and his staff threw him a surprise party with chocolate ice cream cake, his favorite. The cake, pictured at left, is from Harris Teeter.

The congressman isn't planning on painting the town red. He said he’ll most likely have a quiet evening with his wife.


Tim Tebow seen leaving Cannon Building

University of Florida quarterback and 2007 Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow was seen leaving the House Cannon Office building late Wednesday afternoon, according to an ITK spy. Tebow was wearing a suit and was rumored to be meeting with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). Tebow had a small group of people with him, including a cameraman, for a documentary.

Tebow will attend the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, as will President Barack Obama. Tebow will be starring in an anti-abortion rights ad that will be shown during the Super Bowl this Sunday.


Indiana, Louisiana lawmakers wager on the big game

Two Indiana and Louisiana lawmakers on Wednesday made a bet on this Sunday's Super Bowl, which features teams from their respective states.

Reps. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Joseph Cao (R-La.) agreed to the terms of their wager: if the Indianapolis Colts win, Cao will have to ship five pounds of shrimp to to Indianapolis. If the New Orleans Saints win, Burton will have to send five pounds of steak to New Orleans.

Lawmakers have made similar wagers on the NFC championship game and the World Series last year.

Here's a thought for Burton and Cao: If you join forces, you could serve up some nice surf-and-turf.


Leahy snaps pics; Bayh takes grief as Obama visits with Dems

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is known for taking photos around Capitol Hill from what he says is his "unique vantage point" (a.k.a. closer than most people ever get), and he was at it again on Wednesday when President Barack Obama addressed Senate Dems at the Newseum. 

Leahy had a front-row seat at the Q&A session, and he was spotted snapping photos throughout. One attendee said he resembled a "White House tourist." 

But if Leahy wanted to commemorate the occasion, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) was much less formal, appearing at the event in sneakers. And his fashion choice didn't go unnoticed by the president. 

"Nice sneakers by the way," Obama joked when Bayh stood up to ask a question. The Hoosier didn't miss a beat. "You've got to stay on your feet around here, right?" Bayh replied.

Bayh has been caught wearing sneakers in the Capitol a few times before. He told ITK last fall that a heel injury required him to wear comfy shoes on the Capitol's miles of marble hallways.


Meek gets a boost from NASCAR news

Rep. Kendrick Meek's (D-Fla.) campaign for the Senate got a turbo-charged boost on Tuesday after announcing it would sponsor a NASCAR race car in the Feb. 14 Daytona 500 race. 

A campaign spokesman told ITK that traffic to the campaign's website is up 81 percent since the announcement, and Meek's tweets about the car were being "re-tweeted everywhere."

The car's driver, Mike Wallace (no relation to the former "60 Minutes" host), is the younger brother of retired racer Rusty Wallace, who raced in NASCAR's upper circuit, the Sprint Cup series. 

But Republicans haven't let Meek get all the positive attention without some criticism.

Ken Spain, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Commitee, tweeted a jab about the route the race car might take on the track: "Steering hard left."


Fergie, Mary J. Blige, Dave Matthews press Congress for radio compensation

Two dozen recording artists signed a petition last week encouraging Congress to pass the Performance Rights Act, which would require radio stations to pay royalties to singers in addition to the songwriters who already get paid.

Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Josh Groban, Fergie and Mary J. Blige are among the singers who signed the petition, which was timed to coincide with the Grammy awards.

"In speaking with these talented artists, I heard three constant refrains," said Daryl Friedman, vice president of advocacy and government relations for The Recording Academy.

"First, their concerns for background singers and musicians and older legacy artists who need to be fairly compensated," he said. "Second, their willingness to sit down with radio to work out a solution; and third, if radio still refuses to talk, their commitment to take the fight to Washington."

Broadcasters argue playing the songs is free promotion for the singers, which leads to other money-making gigs. Songwriters, on the other hand, don't get any of the limelight, which is why they receive royalties.

Satellite radio, internet radio and cable TV music channels are already required to compensate performers.

Take a look at my post from yesterday about the music industry's overall decline in music sales.


Celebrity Doppelganger Week on Facebook

For those of you wondering why everyone’s Facebook pages have suddenly turned to a celebrity or other famous individual, it’s celebrity doppelganger week on the social networking site.
There is currently a group on the site called “Doppelganger Week.” With over 2,000 fans, once you log into the group you can see precisely what you need to do to join in the fun. Mention in your status that it’s Doppelganger Week and upload a picture of a celebrity or other famous individual that you have been told at one time or another you look like.
In light of Doppelganger Week and ITK’s weekly feature “Separated at Birth,” here are some suggestions for lawmakers who want to become a celebrity for a week:
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Brothers and Sisters’ Sally Field – Both women have dark hair and friendly smiles to match.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Tiffani Amber Thiessen – The lawmaker and the ‘90s television star could be sisters.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and The Blind Side’s Sandra Bullock – Bono Mack looks enough like the star that she could attend next month’s Oscars for Bullock.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and the New England Patriots logo – Both have long faces and a fighting spirit.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) – Schwarzenegger’s extensive film career has saved him the trouble of finding his doppelganger---he already is his own.


Hannity to keynote NRCC annual dinner

Fox News host Sean Hannity will by the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for House Republicans next week.

The TV and radio talker will speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee's (NRCC) annual fundraising dinner in Washington on Tuesday.

“On behalf of House Republicans, it is a pleasure to announce Sean Hannity as our keynote speaker for this year’s annual March Dinner,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas)

Sessions added that "as a best-selling author who reaches millions of viewers," Hannity's "insight will be invaluable to our Conference."


Bayh on posing nude for Cosmo: 'I’m all for full disclosure, but not the full monty'

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) responded Tuesday to Cosmopolitan magazine editor Kate White's invitation to pose nude for the ladies mag. "I’m all for full disclosure, but not the full monty," he joked to ITK.

White told on Monday that "If we can't get [Sen.-elect] Scott [Brown (R-Mass.)] to come back, the only other U.S. senator we want is Evan Bayh."

White was referring to Brown's 1982 nude modeling gig in the magazine, which the incoming senator has said he regrets.

Explaining why her readers would like to see Bayh in the buff, White said, "We think he's hot in a natural, low-key, Midwestern sort of way, and while he seems stuck in the typical red tie rut, we're happy to see that at least his hair isn't pasted down in the standard Senate stay-press style."

White is not alone in her glowing review of the junior senator: In 1999, Bayh was listed on People magazine's list of America's "50 Most Beautiful" people.