Rep. Keller’s dramatic weight loss

There is a lot less of Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.) these days — specifically, 41 pounds less.

In the past four months, Keller has gone on a massive diet to shed weight that has been plaguing him for a long time. Although he is looking noticeably slimmer, he says he has 30 pounds to go.

What’s his secret?

“Less calories, more cardio,” Keller said last week, explaining that he takes in 1,800 calories a day — three 500-calorie meals and three 100-calorie snacks. 

The congressman’s exercise regiment is a strict hour and a half of cardio that involves 30 minutes of running. “I’m trying to click off at 10 pounds a month,” he said.

Keller said he has struggled with his weight for a long time, but he “just decided to fix this thing already” for health reasons.

“I feel great,” he said. “I used to be a pretty good athlete and over the years porked up. I still eat a ton of food. I just eat healthy food — fruits, lean meats and grains.”

Rep. Tauscher goes from blond to brunette

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) may be taking a style cue from Cameron Diaz or Jessica Simpson these days. Tauscher’s locks are noticeably less blond and more of a dark caramel color, just like the former blond stars who made the stark — but favorable — switch to brunette. The lawmaker, once an obvious yellow-blonde, has her darker hair woven with sparse blond highlights.

Tauscher says she has been changing her hair color gradually.

“Given how hard we have been working in the majority, I’m glad to be deciding between blond and brunette, as opposed to gray,” she said. “And besides, I’ve always had a blonde personality with brunette responsibilities.”

Sighting: Kucinich bites nails in Longworth Cafeteria

What’s presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) so nervous about these days?

Last Wednesday, Kucinich was spotted standing in a wrap line in the Longworth Cafeteria, talking on his cell phone and biting his nails. A spy says he was “looking very presidential biting his nails as he talked on the phone. He won’t be happy when he finds wraps are up a quarter.”

The Longworth sandwich wraps have risen in price from $4.99 to $5.25. “He was gnawing on the nails — one hand only. Save on manicures,” the ITK spy reports.

Kucinich’s press office had no comment on the congressman’s nail-biting by press time.

Rep. Coble self-treats painful skin cancer  

Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) was diagnosed with skin cancer in the late 1990s and has had several growths surgically removed from his forehead over the years. But he now treats himself with a topical solution that burns the skin cells and turns the outer skin on his face a blistery red.

“It’s painful and not real good-looking,” said Coble spokesman Ed McDonald, explaining that his boss has recently begun another treatment on himself. Coble undergoes these treatments three to four times annually.  “The doctors swear he’ll look like Robert Redford. That’s his joke.”

Less funny, McDonald said, is that Coble was found out right at the time when the late Rep. Steven Schiff (R-N.M.) was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1998. Six months later, Schiff was dead at 51. Coble takes the cancer seriously and diligently goes to the dermatologist for checkups.

Sighting: Armey and wife search for restroom

Recently spotted wandering the halls of the Capitol were ex-Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas) and his wife. They asked a startled loiterer (a reporter, no less) where they might find a restroom on the first floor.

The loiterer, who is usually a basement dweller, started to point them toward some stairs to the basement when he was interrupted by the former majority leader.

“Isn’t there one around the corner?” asked Armey, leaving the reporter to wonder why they were asking directions from someone who knows less than they about restrooms in the Capitol.


Friends toast to engagement of Kinzel and Ridgway

Friends recently gathered at The Capital Grille to toast the engagement of Will Kinzel, associate counsel at the Republican National Committee, and Marcie Ridgway, deputy director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Education.

Ridgway previously served in communications roles for Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and the Republican National Committee.

The pair met in April 2006 through mutual friends, who initially wanted Kinzel to finish law school before formally introducing them. “I’m not sure they thought I had time to be in any relationship,” Kinzel said.

Ridgway, meanwhile, had told the friends, “If you meet a tall, dark and handsome guy, let me know.” Both thought of Kinzel.

Their first date was to a rehearsal dinner — not the typical first date. Kinzel was in a friend’s wedding and invited Ridgway to be his date.

The rockiest part of their relationship, they say, was their engagement last month. Kinzel had originally planned to propose on a sailboat in Annapolis. Earlier this year, he learned to sail so he could propose on the water.

Kinzel’s elaborate plan was set. He had flowers situated on the boat. He had champagne, strawberries and brand-new Waterford crystal flutes hidden in the car, not to mention the ring. 

But when the day came — a Friday after she’d had a long day at work — things went awry. She was so tired that she told him to grab one of the guys and go sailing without her. Another mishap: It began to rain.

The couple nonetheless began the drive to Annapolis. The rain never ceased. At some point, Kinzel realized he couldn’t go through with his plans, and the couple returned to her place in Washington.

“I realized all of those things were just little details to what I wanted to do, which was ask her to marry me,” he said. “So I ended up asking her to marry me on her couch.”

Ridgway wasn’t disappointed. “Will is just such a thoughtful man,” she said. “I really appreciated him learning how to sail. But then in the end I’m so glad it did work out the way it did, because the most important thing was him and I.”