In the know


Domenici grills reporter on White House scandal

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) was riding the Senate subway with David Rogers, correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, last week when Domenici began grilling the reporter about the White House indictments.

“You’re the silent marauder, also known as Mr. Mole,” Domenici told Rogers. “What’s the view from the basement of the White House, Mr. Mole? Is it bad? Do we have to start over with a new team?” Rogers, straight-faced as always, looked at the senator impassively, and Domenici said: “Not even a whimper. Not even a nod.”

When Rogers finally spoke up, he asked Domenici about an energy-related matter.


Congressional page turns up on MTV reality show

Who said being a congressional page couldn’t prepare you for a spot on an MTV reality show? One in which you’re asked to find the best make-out spot in New York City and get along with a group of 17 17-year-olds all vying to be on the cover of Seventeen magazine?

Jill, as she is called by first name only on the Monday-night show (10:30 p.m.), made the first cut last week. We’ll see if she makes it to the top and wins February’s cover, an internship, a Maybelline print ad and a college scholarship. So far, so good. The long wavy-haired brunette teenager appears to be playing nicely with castmates and not causing too much trouble.

Jill’s stats: She’s actually 18 and majoring in political science and business at the University of Illinois. Though the show refers to her as a congressional page, her bio says that she was a House intern and that she was her high school class president and captain of the dance team.

On last week’s episode, Jill is seen soaking in a bubble bath with some of the girls — not to worry, it’s PG-rated and she’s wearing a bathing suit.

Jill has nothing but praise for the other girls.

“The wrong reasons for being here are to advance yourself personally,” she said in last week’s episode.


Rehberg recovering nicely from esophagus surgery

If Rep. Dennis Rehberg’s (R-Mont.) voice sounds scratchy these days, cut the congressman some slack — he’s recovering from esophagus surgery.

Rehberg first noticed something was awry when he began choking on his food. Turns out, Rehberg is allergic to carrots.

“It would concern me,” he said. “Every so often I’m the keynote speaker at a luncheon.”

Though his throat was hurting last week, Rehberg, whose surgery involved putting a pipe down his throat and spreading out his esophagus, was hopeful that going through the surgery was worth it.


Discrimination against openly left-handed Rep. Frank

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert stopped by Capitol Hill last week to interview Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) in a Financial Services Committee room. He quizzed the 13th-term congressman on whether he found it difficult to serve in Congress given his status as ... openly left-handed.

Frank, ever the charmer with members of the press, remained stoic as Colbert deadpanned the confused Massachusetts Democrat through a labyrinth of minority labels, hilariously steering around the obvious.

After extracting that Frank did not find it troubling to serve as openly left-handed, Jewish or overweight, Colbert wondered if Frank’s wife was bothered by his girth.

Frank assured Colbert that his weight definitely did not bother his wife — or his boyfriend.

Frank’s office seemed unfazed by the contents of the show. Asked if Frank had any reaction to all the ribbing about his sexual orientation, his spokesman, Steve Adamske, said: “I don’t know. We didn’t have a chance to discuss it.” Adamske said he thought “parts of it were funny” and found “no parts offensive.”


Welcome to Moran’s office, a shocking experience

It seemed simple enough: Put up signs outside congressional offices proclaiming: “Welcome, please come in.” Make constituents feel more at home, more confident to call on their elected leaders.

Yet, in one corner of Rayburn House Office Building, because of some cramped wall space, constituents may be in for an electrifying encounter with democracy. The signs were installed not next to the office door but beside a door labeled “Danger: high voltage.” At least two offices, those of Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), have been affected.

Austin Durrer, a spokesman for Moran, said the office had been trying to correct the problem.

“We have made two requests to the superintendent’s office to have the sign moved to the other side of the door,” Durrer said. “Congressman Moran was concerned that while his constituents are shocked by the way Republicans are running Washington, they certainly don’t need another jolt when they come to visit.”