In the know

“Dude, with those pipes ya shouldn’t need Jdate”

Who knew Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) could sing? A Democratic campaign staffer was in awe of the congressman’s pipes at a recent celebratory karaoke event at the Democratic Club. The karaoke fest, held monthly, is hosted by the Democratic National Committee.

“Victory Karaoke,” as it is called, drew a crowd of about 100 people that included a mix of lawmakers, staff, lobbyists and campaign types.

According to the Democratic staffer who attended the event, the venerable dean of the Karaoke Caucus is Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), who was the backup singer on many songs. One highlight of the evening was a duet of John Denver’s “Country Roads” by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) and Rothman. McCarthy, dressed in a bright pink jacket, “rocked it like a rock star,” said the staffer, who added that their rendition of the song had everyone dancing. 

By far, the star of the night was Rothman, who closed the place down with Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Approximately 30 people gathered on stage to sing along. Also noteworthy was the fact that this was the moment in which a recently unemployed campaign hand approached the lawmaker and asked for a job. It’s unclear how Rothman replied, or if his office has any job openings.

Rothman’s spokeswoman Kimberly Allen confirmed that her boss has a sublime singing voice. “I think he’s often the star,” Allen said, explaining that the staff attended a karaoke event a couple of months ago to support him. “I know he goes regularly. He’s a good singer, [but] he’s modest about it.”

Rothman has a musical background, though he wouldn’t say he has any formal training. At Syracuse University, he sang in a band that had a few paying gigs. “I wouldn’t call it a band,” he said through his spokeswoman. “I would call it an acoustic group.” There were two acoustic guitars and two voices, one of which was his.

All boasting aside, everyone was impressed with Rothman’s singing voice, which prompted the Democratic aide to wonder, “Dude, with those pipes ya shouldn’t need JDate.”

Rothman might beg to differ. The happily married lawmaker met his wife, Jennifer Beckenstein, on JDate. The couple wed in August.



New members want to know: Where’s the bathroom?

It’s got to be tough being a new member of Congress. All those vast marble hallways and not a lot of signage for the bathrooms.

This was evident during the recent Democratic leadership elections in the Cannon Caucus Room located on the third floor of the Cannon Building. At one point during a break, incoming freshman Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) wandered by and remarked, “It’s tense in there. That’s why I’m going to the bathroom.”

Later, Rep.-elect John Hall (D-N.Y.) walked by Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Davis told him that he used to wake up to the sound of his voice on his clock radio. Hall, a musician who founded the band Orleans in the ’70s, scarcely acknowledged the compliment and replied, “Can you tell me where the bathroom is?”



Virginia Foxx: at one with God and Thanksgiving

So much for the separation of church and state on Rep. Virginia Foxx’s (R-N.C.) congressional campaign.

The congresswoman last week e-mailed out the rare Thanksgiving e-card (most lawmakers do not send out Thanksgiving greeting cards) wishing folks a Happy Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on God’s blessings in our lives and on those who mean the most to us,” the card stated.

Michael Frohlich, Foxx’s spokesman, pointed out that the congresswoman’s reelection campaign, and not her congressional office, sent out the card. “We can’t send out releases for federal holidays,” said Frohlich, who formerly worked on the House Franking Commission. “The rationale behind it is it’s not official business.”

Jim Skotthy, Foxx’s campaign event and finance director, said, “From what I understand she did it last year and might have even done it in the state Senate. It is a little unusual, but I thought it was nice.”

Asked about Foxx’s entwining of Thanksgiving and God, Skotthy refused to explain it and what it says to non-believers, saying, “I’m not going to comment on that.”

If anyone thinks Foxx has already gone holiday crazy, just wait for Christmas — her family owns a Christmas tree farm and she once introduced a House resolution in praise of the Christmas tree.

Earlier this month, Foxx’s bill to recognize the contributions of Christmas tree growers to the U.S. economy passed the House by voice vote. The legislation also acknowledged “the historical importance of the Christmas tree to traditional family values.”


Sighting: Andrea Mitchell on plane from New Hampshire

Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News, was spotted over the Thanksgiving holiday sans former Federal Reserve Chairman husband Alan Greenspan on an 11:30 a.m. US Airways flight Friday from Manchester, N.H. to Washington, D.C.

According to an ITK spy, who was sitting across from Mitchell in row four, she wore a long, deep-red coat and dark sunglasses (which she wore the entire flight even though no one seemed to know who she was).

“She was not incognito, but she was definitely nondescript,” says the spy. “No one seemed to acknowledge that she was onboard the plane. No one approached her during the flight.”

Among the things Mitchell did on the flight: Says the spy, “Ms. Mitchell read the morning paper, checked her Blackberry and reviewed some information in a manila folder.”

During the flight a mother, seated in the fifth row of the plane, let her 9-month-old baby crawl in the aisle of the 50-seater jet. The flight attendants didn’t mind. Neither did Mitchell. She greeted the child as the child stopped in front of her. At the end of her voyage, Mitchell, dedicated newswoman that she is, read the paper while waiting for her baggage.

Mitchell, through a spokeswoman, said she was returning from Thanksgiving with family.


Announcements

Capitol Police officer dies in motorcycle crash 

Ken Meadow, 48, the civilian head of the Capitol Police department’s vehicle maintenance division, died Saturday in a motorcycle crash.

In remembrance, flags are at half-mast in front of Capitol Police headquarters.

Viewing: Nov. 29, 6 - 9 p.m., Robert Evans Funeral Home, 16000 Annapolis Road, Bowie, Md. 20715; 301-464-8836.

Services: Nov. 30, 10 a.m., St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church. 1800 Seton Drive Crofton, Md. 21114; burial will follow services: Maryland Veteran’s Cemetery, Crownsville, Md.


Rep. Vic Snyder enjoys fatherhood for the first time with wife betsy

ITK sends out belated congratulations to Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) and his wife, Betsy Singleton, a United Methodist pastor in Little Rock, Ark., on the birth of their son, Charles Pennington Snyder.

Charles Pennington is 5 and a half months old. Snyder, 59, is a first-time dad.

The couple met in June 2001. Singleton attended a fundraiser at a pub for a group trying to preserve the memory of the late Louie Jordan, a blues-jazz bandleader and singer from the ’40s and early  ’50s.

“I was standing at this fundraiser,” recalled Singleton. “I kept feeling this person standing next to me. I looked up. He looked down.”

The man was Snyder, whom Singleton had met before. The two sat down and talked. By the end of the night he asked if he could come to her church, which he did the very next day. “I thought possibly I might get a date out of that,” she said. A week later he phoned from Washington and asked her out. He returned to her church each Sunday that he was home.

Singleton said he is the first politician to whom she donated money when he ran for Congress in 1996. “I was so impressed with the way he was addressing issues on that campaign,” she said. “I was very impressed with him from afar.”

In July 2003 the couple married; it was his first marriage and her third.

“I’m not a young person,” she said. “He met me within a week of my 40th birthday, so hopefully I’ve had a little wisdom about dating.”

Singleton said she had no problem dating a Washington politician: “I was actually more concerned about him being a family physician because I had dated doctors, but he turned out to be just fine.”

And what a wonderful dad she swears he is. “He’s great. He changes more diapers than I do when he’s home,” she said, explaining that Charles Pennington is named after one of Snyder’s favorite uncles (Charles) and her great-grandfather (Pennington), who served in the Arkansas legislature in 1897.


 

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Announcements, which include births, engagements, deaths or any significant life event, can be sent to the above address or phone number.

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