In the Know

Kingston is guinea pig for Colbert’s new show

After last week’s joking tirade against Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, whom Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said he had never watched, Kingston’s press office was somewhat antsy about an interview the congressman was set to have the following day.

Kingston, vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, who is known for his humor and one-liners, was the first interview for Stephen Colbert’s new Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report.” Kingston’s segment will air during the show’s first week, in mid-October. Colbert is best known for his witty role on Stewart’s “The Daily Show” as senior Washington correspondent.

“It’s kind of special; we like it,” said David All, Kingston’s spokesman.

The interview took place in Kingston’s Capitol hideaway, which the show quickly turned into a studio, complete with bright lights and an alligator head that was already in the office.

“They didn’t necessarily talk about current events but focused on Mr. Kingston’s history,” All said. “They spent a lot of time talking about the fact that my boss at one point said he was a frustrated herpetologist [i.e., one who studies reptiles amphibians]. My boss is actually really into snakes and frogs. He has always lived on the river. He has a boat. A lot of the time when he’s not with his family, he’s cruising the river.”

DeFazio tears tendon in finger

Perhaps Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) ought to get some biking tips from six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

While biking for charity, the congressman took a breather at a rest stop near The Dalles, Ore. While trying to unlock his feet from the bike clips, they suddenly snapped his feet back in. That is when things got dicey.

On the brink of crashing to the ground, DeFazio grabbed on to a street sign, thereby saving himself from serious injury but tearing a tendon on his left ring finger.

“It happened in Rep. Greg Walden’s [R-Ore.] district, so I blame him,” DeFazio said.

The congressman is wearing a plastic splint to keep the finger in place. “I don’t think he’s in a lot of pain,” assured DeFazio spokeswoman Kristie Greco.

Clinton’s press secretary: sweet or salty?

What is Philippe Reines, press secretary to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), really like? After last week’s flap over taping reporter interviews with his boss in the Senate hallways, Reines wrote in to say, “When you get to know me, I’m really a warm guy like Snepp.”

David Snepp, spokesman for Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who also records members of the press who speak to his boss, didn’t react so caustically when asked about the recordings.

We’re ready to give Reines another chance. If you have had any interactions with Reines, please e-mail testimonials to ITK at

Some lawmakers are twins

Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-N.Y.) has a twin sister. So does Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio). And Schmidt’s twin sister, Jennifer, looks just like her, even though they are fraternal twins.

Last week, Schmidt explained the science behind her and her sister’s births. “Two different eggs, two different sperms, hook up and create two different babies inside mother’s womb. Two different sacs, two different placentas.”

So why do Schmidt and her sister, a real-estate agent who lives next door to the congresswoman, look so much alike? “There’s a theory,” says Schmidt, “that there can be fraternal-identical, that the split happens so quickly.”

In the meantime, she says, it’s hard to tell them apart: “Same height, same weight, same blood type, same teeth issues,” she says.

In other Schmidt news … During her recent swearing-in ceremony, Schmidt brought in her own family Bible to use during the ceremony in House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) office. “I was asked if I wanted to bring the family Bible, and I thought it would be a good idea,” she said.

Hurricane Paul hits credit-union conference

News flash to Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.): Hurricane Katrina jokes are not funny.

Last week, the congressman expressed a unique idea to resolve the turmoil of hurricane season involving Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: “I’m thinking of denying [the right of] naming hurricanes in the future with female names, because they seem to be terribly destructive,” Kanjorski told a group of credit-union officers at their annual convention last week.

When his joke left the guests pin-drop quiet, Kanjorski explained: “Looking at our audience here, there seems to be more males than females, so I’m taking the liberty” to make wisecracks. Later, he called this month’s first deadly hurricane “little lady Katrina.” Again, no laughter.


Rep. Cuellar hires a new chief of staff

Colin Strother, who had been chief of staff to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), recently stepped down from his position.

Given Cuellar’s rocky relationships with many of his Democratic colleagues, some are wondering if there is more than meets the eye. Cuellar’s office confirmed that the congressman has found a replacement. He’s Terry Stinson, whom Cuellar hired last Friday after extensive interviewing.

Stinson was formerly district director for a California member, but so far the office is unable to provide any further details.