Judiciary Committee prepares for river of tears

The forecast for today’s House Judiciary Committee is tears, with a chance of some sobbing.

Monica Goodling, the former Bush administration official who has been granted immunity in exchange for her testimony on the U.S. attorney scandal, is slated to give her side of the story and some on the Hill expect a show.

Sources say that that Monica has been emotional about the issue and she also has a history with crying. As soon as Goodling learned that she could be the subject of an investigation by the committee, an ITK informant said that she spoke through tears to higher ups at the Department of Justice.

“I just heard she couldn’t keep it together for that, which I guess is understandable,” said an aide familiar with this week’s committee proceedings. “It is the best shot we’ve had for someone to have an emotional moment. Everyone else has been boring.”

According to a recent Bloomberg report, the former aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales  “sobbed for 45 minutes in the office of career Justice Department official David Margolis” in early March in fear that she’d lose her job.

John Dowd, Goodling’s attorney at Akin Gump Hauer and Feld, said he thought his client would be fine, but he couldn’t be totally sure. “Well, testifying always taps your emotions,” he said. “You ever testified before those lights and cameras? It’s difficult. She’ll be fine.”  

In a long line of hysterical committee moments, Goodling wouldn’t be the first to cry in Congress. Martha Ann Alito, wife of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, wept during her husband’s confirmation hearings when she thought senators were being too tough on him. And countless members of Congress have cried on the House floor, including such tough guys as Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and former Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).

Meehan lets his experience show, to the roots

Observers have noticed that outgoing Rep. Martin Meehan’s (D-Mass.) hair is grayer than usual, triggering speculation that he’s run out of Grecian formula.

His formerly dark, dynamic hair played well with constituents. Now that he’s going to be Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, it seems, Meehan is looking for a little more gravitas.  

Some evidence of Meehan’s dying habits showed up in a Fox News clip from last October where his graying roots peek out in a sharp horizontal line from his darker hair.

Andrew Gully, Meehan’s press secretary, has not noticed his boss’s graying hair, saying, “I guess I wasn’t paying attention to his hair color.”   

What Tancredo really thinks of GOP debates

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), presidential hopeful and anti-immigration extraordinaire, has a few thoughts on presidential debates — they are “incredibly nerve-wracking and annoying,” he says.

What Tancredo objects to is the format of the debates: “Here you are on this podium. The setting is so artificial.”

Tancredo said he would prefer to sit around a table and talk with the other candidates in an informal setting. “It’s theatrical more than political,” he said.

On a positive note, he said, he enjoyed Fox News’s recent South Carolina debate way more than MSNBC’s, which aired from the Ronald Reagan Building. “At MSNBC I stood there for 45 minutes and answered one question,” he complained.

The question concerned organ transplants. “I’ve got a kidney or two to spare,” he joked.

A testy exchange over vocabulary at the House Judiciary Committee  

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y) used the term “alacrity” during a Judiciary Committee hearing last week causing Texas Republican Louis Gohmert to pipe up and ask, “What does alacrity mean?”

An unamused Weiner replied, “speed.” And then someone on the dais said, “That’s a New York word not a Texas word.”

Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) cut off the exchange by announcing that Gohmert’s time had expired and that there was a dictionary in the back.

Rep. Gutierrez upgrades from splint to cast

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) now has a cast on his right hand instead of a splint. But he’s not letting anyone sign it, so don’t even ask.

“I’m not going to have it all dirty,” he said, laughing.

Gutierrez’s anti-cast signing demeanor comes on the heels of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who recently issued a Dear Colleague letter thanking his colleagues for not asking about his ruptured tendon.

Gutierrez injured his hand while playing golf.

Sighting: Rep. Marsha Blackburn gets soaked

The usually stunning Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) arrived at last Thursday’s late-night vote soaking wet, “looking like Benji after a bath,” one witness reported to ITK.

Did the lawmaker forget her umbrella?

“She had grabbed a quick workout to build her strength so she could defeat the Senate immigration bill and had jumped in the shower when votes were called,” said Blackburn’s spokesman Matt Lambert. “For her it was an easy choice. She’s no prima donna so she went to the floor with wet hair. In addition, she looked better than some people look on a good day.”

Sally Field: We like her. We really like her.

ITK hates to gush, but actress Sally Field is nothing short of a delight, even when talking about her Osteoporosis.

The 60-year-old actress who stars on ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters” visited Capitol Hill last week to talk about her condition and to promote the prevention of bone loss in women. She also lunched in the House Dining Room with Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) who also has Osteoporosis.

Field also sat down for a private chat with ITK at a law firm on the Hill.

Two years ago Field was diagnosed with Osteoporosis and for the past year has been undergoing treatment for her condition. As she states in the TV commercial, once a month she takes her Boniva pill. In addition, as claimed on the commercial, she really does have a good friend, a busy executive, suffering from bone loss.

 Field spoke about what young people need to do to avoid getting osteoporosis: “What we’re talking about is eating healthy, exercising, don’t smoke, don’t smoke, don’t smoke [and] don’t drink excessively,” she warned last week.

Then Field got pretty touchy feely: “It gives you a feeling of worth that you cherish yourself,” she said, reasoning why young people shouldn’t smoke and drink excessively. “I know it sounds silly but I am of worth and I own that. That’s a powerful piece of information. I am worth being here.”

When Field was diagnosed, she never saw it coming. “I’m a prime candidate because “I’m so small,” she said. In her late 40s she got a baseline bone density test because the condition ran in her family. By her late 50s, she explained, her condition began to go south.

Her doctor warned her not to fall down.

At the time she thought, “I’m going to fall down on the carpet and break every bone in my body.” Thankfully that never happened and thanks to her medicine that she will take as long as she lives, her progression of osteoporotic bone loss has stopped.

Field, a Democrat, lives in the hills of Malibu, Calif., where she hikes, walks, does free weights and eats healthy. “I wish I got more sleep,” she said. “I never smoked. I don’t drink to excess but I do like my glass of wine.”

ITK couldn’t leave the interview without asking her about her TV drama. What’s it like to work with actress Calista Flockhart?

“She’s my darling girl,” Field said. “She’s my sweetheart.”

To find out more about osteoporosis, visit www.BoneHealth.com