By Betsy Rothstein - 01/24/07 12:00 AM EST
Baird forced to hold host’s sausage on “The Colbert Report”
Congressman reveals hilarious moments cut
Stephen Colbert is known for pushing the envelope when he interviews lawmakers for his Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report.” But did you ever wonder about footage so over-the-top it ends up on the cutting-room floor?
In last week’s “Know a District” segment, Colbert handed Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) a giant red sausage to highlight a famous sausage festival held in Baird’s district. That much aired.
What was edited out?
Colbert asking the congressman, “Will you eat my sausage?” To which Baird said he replied, “I’ll pass on that.”
Baird wasn’t upset. “At one point I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes,” he said. “There were parts I was absolutely in stitches I was laughing so hard.”
Yet Baird is glad a few other clips weren’t broadcast. For instance, he supports exterminating a small number of sea lions to help maintain salmon population along his District’s Columbia River. “We like to say ‘reducing by lethal force,’” Baird spokeswoman Ciaran Clayton says.
But Colbert blew it out of proportion: “He asked why I wanted to kill baby seals,” Baird said. “He said, ‘Why do you want to kill Shamu?’” Who is, of course, an orca, not a seal.
While many lawmakers question why anyone would open himself to such televised ridicule, Baird says he has no regrets and encourages colleagues to accept the booking. He does have some advice: Let the host be the funnyman.
Baird said he enjoyed his hour-plus meeting with Colbert in his office. “I was completely relaxed,” he says.
Colbert repeatedly played on the fact that Baird was a psychologist, asking him how he felt. And when he was laughing so hard he teared up (in another unaired moment), Colbert comforted the congressman, saying, “It’s OK to cry.”
GOP aides try to take back Capitol Lounge
But owner says ‘No Politics’ at the bar
GOP aides inundated the Capitol Lounge last week in a somewhat lighthearted effort to retake the bar that was once heavily associated with their side of the aisle. Recently Democrats, their ranks bolstered with the new majority, have been showing up there in greater numbers.
So Thursday night, the Republicans gathered friends and headed to the lounge. Among those attempting to stage the GOP party coup were a Senate GOP Conference aide; a Senate GOP spokesman; Doug Heye, a press secretary to a GOP freshman who worked on Maryland Republican Michael Steele’s failed Senate campaign; and a former spokesman to Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), David All, who now runs his own media-affairs firm, the David All Group.
“It was all GOP as far as I could tell,” an ITK spy said.
The bar’s proprietor, Adam Manson, said in an e-mail, “I certainly don’t want to scare off any GOP members because the Dems are in power now. Though a Capitol Hill destination, the Capitol Lounge has always and will always maintain a policy of No Politics. We just want to be a place known for good beer, good food and good service. After all, why talk shop after eight hours of it during the day?”
One GOP Senate spokesman at the lounge that night remarked in a joking tone, “Republicans wanted a show of support for not just the Capitol Lounge but all small businesses whose bottom lines would be harmed by the Democrats’ policies of higher taxes and more regulation. Their recent appearances alone are a little hypocritical — you can’t support America’s small businesses halfway.”
Susan Sarandon makes the rounds on the Hill
Actress Susan Sarandon will visit Capitol Hill today to show her support for legislation that will bring American troops home from Iraq.
The actress will appear with a group of veterans who last year starred in a documentary, “A Ground Truth,” which focused on soldiers’ return home from Iraq. Sarandon was not in the movie, but she will accompany the veterans as they visit Capitol Hill along with the film’s producer, Patricia Foulkrod.
Sarandon will meet in the office of Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. with fellow California House Democrats Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters. Last Wednesday Woolsey introduced the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act. The bill calls for a withdrawal of troops within six months, political aid to Iraq and a fully funded Veterans Administration.
Sarandon is also said to have scheduled a meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Rep. Lowey suffering with plantar fasciitis
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) is suffering from inflammation of the fascia, tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot.
Last week the congresswoman was spotted hobbling along. She had to be helped down into the aisle of the House floor by a colleague. “She was in so much pain,” an ITK informant said.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, you are more likely to suffer from the condition if a) you’re a woman, or b) your job requires walking or standing on hard surfaces. Other conditions that could cause the illness include tight calf muscles, flat feet or high arches.
Lowey’s plantar fasciitis started shortly before Election Day.
“Sprinting past the Republicans in November left Congresswoman Lowey with a sore foot, but that hasn’t stopped her and the Democratic majority from moving quickly to address Americans’ priorities,” Lowey’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Stanley said.
Reps. King and Edwards cope with vocal cord issues
After a press conference last week regarding the first 100 hours of the Democratic agenda, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was lamenting his troubled vocal cords to Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.). During the presser, King’s voice became slightly hoarse. This was reminiscent of the condition he had last year, he told Gingrey, when he had laryngitis so bad he couldn’t even whisper.
Summer Johnson, King’s spokeswoman, wouldn’t confirm the boss’s troubled cords. Nor would she confirm his laryngitis from the previous year. She did, however, admit to having laryngitis two weeks ago and having to stay home for a week to recover. “Is that news?” she wondered.
In other congressional-vocal-cord news, Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas), who is recovering from larynx surgery and can’t speak, has had staffers read statements for him.
The trouble began during the campaign when Edwards became hoarse. After visiting a doctor, he learned he had a non-cancerous polyp on his larynx; hence the need for surgery.
Edwards’s surgery took place last Monday. For the next two weeks he has to rest his voice entirely, which means no whispering.
“Technically he won’t be speaking until the first of February,” says spokesman Josh Taylor.” Other than that, he knows his way around his computer and e-mail.”
In one release, Edwards remarked, “I especially want to thank 9-year-old Erin Buenger, a special friend of mine in College Station who is fighting brain cancer and has written me an e-mail every day for the last two weeks because she was concerned about my operation. Her thoughtfulness and personal courage are a constant inspiration to me.”
Taylor says his boss has a good sense of humor about having to remain silent. In another release, he joked, “I’ll be the congressman who can’t talk. I expect my job approval ratings are going to skyrocket. I’ll have to check the Guinness Book of World Records to see if a congressman has ever gone that long without speaking. It’s doubtful.”
Burning her sources on her way out
Everyone knows it’s not proper etiquette for a gossip columnist to reveal her sources. But Mary Ann Akers, the outgoing gossip columnist for Roll Call who is heading to Washingtonpost.com, has angered some of hers by listing them all in her farewell e-mail.
“It violates your confidentiality,” one House Committee aide on the list told ITK. “It’s their private e-mail. People don’t want their e-mail out in public. This whole thing burned the living s—- out of me as it revealed me and all the other ‘leakers.’”
The only lawmakers on the list were Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).
“Anyone who is on there, I’m sure they’re pissed,” said the aide.
Akers did not comment by press time, nor did Kennedy. Gohmert’s spokeswoman, Lauren Huly, remarked, “My boss invited Mary Ann over for ribs one afternoon. Other than that, I’m not sure why else she would have included him on the e-mail.”