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Connery to politicians: Come visit Scotland

Sean Connery can make even the most powerful American lawmakers claim Scottish heritage for a night.

The legendary actor with the universally recognized brogue mingled and laughed with several members of Congress on Tuesday night at a reception to honor the newly formed Senate Friends of Scotland Caucus, which complements the already established companion caucus in the House.

Connery also joined Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in cheerleading their country’s attractiveness to tourists.

“I’m not here to act, I’m not here to make a speech,” he told a crowd gathered in the Library of Congress’s members room.

“I’m actually thrilled about the idea that 98 percent of you are going to come to Scotland,” Connery joked . “You come to Scotland, you tell them you know me, and you’ll get a good deal.”

Lawmakers seemed eager to take him up on the offer.

“I want to wiggle an invitation from him to St. Andrews,” said caucus member Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller Rand Paul under pressure as Pompeo hunts for votes Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination MORE (R-S.C.), referring to the world-famous Scottish golf club (which many Capitol Hill aides might remember for being the location of one of the congressional junkets that got convicted ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others into trouble).

Graham said he was told his Scottish relatives were cattle thieves in the country’s border region.

“I feel like I let them down by going into politics,” he said.

Perhaps the proudest Scottish-American lawmaker at the event was Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), the co-founder of the Senate’s caucus and the author of Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America.

Salmond heaped praise on Webb, who told him a year ago that he could persuade at least 20 of his colleagues to join the caucus. Webb rounded up more than 30.

The senator said among the many reasons for lawmakers to acknowledge Scotland are the contributions its American descendents, who number around 30 million, have made to the country’s fabric.

The most notable contribution on display Tuesday night, though, was Scottish humor.

Webb singled out a few of his fellow senators, saying his “dear friend” Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillOvernight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Heitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State Duckworth brings her baby to Senate vote, drawing a crowd MORE (D-Mo.) is also a fellow member of the unofficial, three-person redneck caucus.

“You don’t want to get in a street fight with Claire,” Webb said.

(McCaskill’s response: “Jim Webb’s the kind of guy when he tells you there’s good whisky, you show up.”)
He also said he learned upon reading Connery’s biography that the actor has two tattoos.

“My son and I are probably the only two people in the room that have more tattoos than you do,” said Webb, pointing out his son Jimmy, an Iraq war veteran, in the crowd.

Considering that revelation, it’s little wonder why Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism Dems to party: Go on offense with Trump’s alleged affairs MORE (D-Nev.), one of the busiest lawmakers in Congress, felt obligated to stop by Tuesday night’s reception.

When asked if he is Scottish, Reid replied: “No. I’m afraid of Jim Webb.”

What might the Virginia senator have done had Reid not shown up?

“I didn’t want to give him the chance,” Reid said while slipping out of the Library of Congress after a five-minute cameo.

Other members were giddy to talk to Connery.

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Congress poised for busy week on nominations, defense bill | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer The Hill's Morning Report: 200 Days to the Election Koch network targets Tester with new six-figure ad buy MORE (D-Mont.), waiting among the hordes to greet Connery, was leaving open the possibility of his Scottish heritage.

“You never know in my bloodlines,” he said. “You never know where my father’s been.”

On the prospect of meeting the famous actor, Tester said, “I mean, hell, 007?” referring to Connery’s turn in the James Bond franchise.

The Montana legislator was also excited to talk to Connery about the scenes he filmed in the Big Sky State for “The Untouchables.”

Also at the event were Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMaternal deaths keep rising in US, raising scrutiny Supreme Court weighs future of online sales taxes Senators press administration on mental health parity MORE (R-Tenn.), the Senate caucus’s co-chairman; House caucus Co-Chairmen Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.); Sens. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerLet's hold Facebook to the same standards as other players in the industry Cindy Hyde-Smith sworn in as Mississippi's latest senator Miss. Dem touts campaign poll saying he leads GOP candidates in Senate race MORE (R-Miss.), Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Politics is purple in North Carolina MORE (D-N.C.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHeitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Amid struggle for votes, GOP plows ahead with Cabinet picks MORE (D-Va.); and Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Brad Miller (D-N.C.) and Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtHouse Oversight a gavel no one wants Overnight Finance: House Appropriations chair to retire | Exit sets off fight for gavel | GOP banks on tax cuts to help in midterms | Crypto exchange under scrutiny after theft | Conservatives push Trump on capital gains taxes House retirement sets off scramble for coveted chairmanship MORE (R-Ala.).