Sighting: Rummy spotted on L Street with boxes

Since resigning from his perch atop the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld has all but disappeared. Some say they think he’s going to work for a defense contractor. Others have heard about a book.

Now speculation is centering on 1620 L St. NW. That’s where, on April 30, at least one resident saw him walking into the elevator area, carrying stuff in a postal crate.

ITK spies in the building, which serves as the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management and several law and consulting firms, say others in the building have reported their own Rummy sightings.

Building management isn’t returning phone calls, and Rumsfeld’s not on the building’s roster. The security guard in the lobby not only doesn’t have him on the tenants list. She doesn’t know who Rumsfeld is. So much for staying power.


Edwards’s campaign staff accused of being standoffish at Iowa bars

Reports from political operatives in Iowa, the first state to hold a presidential contest, indicate most of the rival Democratic campaigns are checking their allegiances at the door when happy hour rolls around.

Given the small community of battle-tested campaign staff, many of whom have worked together on other races but may now be backing different horses, it would seem natural for everyone to gather together over cocktails and swap war stories.

As they say, misery loves company.

Noted one senior campaign aide, “You can’t swing a dead cat at a bar in Des Moines right now without hitting a staffer, and we are eight months out from the caucuses.”

But one camp has been accused of being notably absent from the revelry. Sources noted that operatives from former Sen.
John Edwards’s (D-N.C.) campaign are reluctant to cavort with their competition. “It’s like his staff live under a rock,” said one campaign staffer. “They appear to be avoiding the social circuit. Maybe they just don’t like having fun.”

This collegial nature of the campaign trail sometimes goes awry. There are infamous stories from 2000, when the staffs of Al Gore’s and Bill Bradley’s campaigns would go out of their way not to speak. When they did cross paths at times, fireworks ensued. In one such encounter, which went unreported at the time, a near-brawl broke out after a heated argument between campaign aides. “They actively avoided each other, and in the few cases they didn’t, they almost came to blows,” one source said.

Tensions mounted in 2003 among the campaigns of Edwards, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) and former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.).

Pundits have always said politics is a blood sport. Look for more of this as the campaign love-fest ends and the gloves come off — even at the bars.

Dan Leistikow, Iowa spokesman for the Edwards campaign, laughed and said there is no rancor between the campaigns. A good example, he said, was last weekend’s barbecue held by Iowa Democratic Party communications director Carrie Giddins.

“No one mentioned anything to me yesterday when I was at [that] barbecue with Clinton and Obama staffers,” he said. “Carrie wanted to have people over for hot dogs and beer.

“People go out all the time with all kinds of people,” he added. “The Democratic Party is a family and people go out with each other and they run into each other at bars and talk with each other. It’s very friendly.”

Giddins insisted that the Edwards campaign is not its own island. “We have six very active Democratic campaigns out here,” she said. “As we get closer to the caucuses everyone is looking out for their own best interest. In the end we see staffers out every night, everyone is friendly, everyone is working hard for their candidate and I don’t see any animosity among the campaigns.”

Having said that, Giddins acknowledged she had heard the rumor about the Edwards campaign. But she doesn’t believe it. “Saying that campaign is exclusive is wrong,” she said. “I think you see healthy competition.”

Giddins said staffers from all six presidential campaigns were invited to her weekend barbecue — four aides showed. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s (D) aide did not show due to a trip conflict and Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) spokesman didn’t show because of Mother’s Day.


Schumer takes cell phone into the john

An observation made in the basement of the Capitol last week raises the question: Does Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) ever get off his cell phone?

Last week he was chatting away on his cell phone near the Senate Recording Studio when he apparently needed some relief. He was talking when he entered the men’s room. He remained in there for two to three minutes, and when he left, yep, still talking on the cell phone.


Sen. Carper aides operating out of trailers

For the next six weeks, Sen. Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) staff will operate out of two trailers parked in the Russell courtyard — please, try to refrain from trailer-trash jokes.

The reason? The senator is redecorating and his aides need a place to set up shop during the renovations of new carpet and paint. Carper, too, is working out of the trailer. “We’re one big family, we move together,” said spokesman Trevor Kincaid. “We even have indoor plumbing and air conditioning.”


Reps. Gingrey and Serrano: No longer twins

It’s amazing what less facial hair can do for a guy.

Before Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) shaved off his mustache, he was often mistaken for Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.). The pair could pass for twins and were even once mistaken for each other at the Attending Physician’s office.

Serrano recently passed by Gingrey on the steps of the Capitol as the Peach State congressman was having his photograph taken with a member of the Rome, Ga., Chamber of Commerce.

After sharing a few war stories (and laughs), Gingrey and Serrano posed for a picture with the group.

Gingrey shaved off his mustache during the weekend of Feb. 10. “He made a promise to himself that he was going to shave it at the first sign of gray,” said Gingrey spokeswoman Becky Ruby. “He saw gray and the mustache came off. He didn’t tell anyone he was going to do it, except he got approval from his wife.”

After the shave, a district aide sent Ruby some event photographs. “I called the aide up to say, ‘Why didn’t you get Phil in the photograph?’ He was right in front of my eyes, just sans mustache.”

Ruby says the ’stache won’t likely return “considering how many people have told him how much younger he looks without it.”


Sighting: Boehner and Graham at Cantina Marina

Apparently the five-day workweeks are allowing for some time out on the town.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is becoming quite the regular at the D.C. waterfront’s Cantina Marina.
Last week he was spotted there again — this time with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “Graham looked very uncomfortable,” said an ITK informant who was there. “Boehner had a pink tie on so loosened, it was almost to his knees.”

Draws to the venue include the sunshine and the ability to smoke cigarettes and cigars outdoors.