By Betsy Rothstein - 11/07/07 07:16 PM EST
Rep. Rahall causes a fuss at the Capitol Lounge Several patrons at the Capitol Lounge last Thursday night say they saw Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) in — how shall we put this? — an assertive mood. He seemed not to like the crowded bar area and the young staffers getting in the way of his destination: the bar stool at the far end of the lounge.
“The older guy came pushing past us, barged into us and came back and shoulder-checked my co-worker,” an aide said. “He literally stopped right next to him, reared back and threw his shoulder into him.”
Three Capitol Hill aides who witnessed Rahall in the glory of his pushiness at about 6:30 p.m. said they had no idea it was the congressman until a member of the media, who was at the bar, spoke up and said the man was a member of Congress.
One aide said he suffered Rahall’s elbow into his back. “I wouldn’t say it hurt,” he said. “I think if he was our age, somebody would have punched him in the face.”
A third eyewitness said Rahall excused himself from the bar several times to go to the men’s room. “Each time, he actually trampled other patrons in the bar,” the aide said. “He pushed two women out of his path after knocking [a] staffer into astonished onlookers.”
ITK phoned Rahall’s office and spoke to spokeswoman Lara Cottingham, who would only repeat the two words of reaction her boss had about the evening.
“That’s ludicrous,” she said.
Cottingham would not confirm or deny whether her boss was at the bar.
Challenger tries to get Rehberg’s goat
It’s one thing to attack wives and children on the campaign trail.
But a man’s goats?
Perhaps Bill Anderson, who is challenging Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) for his at-large seat, has gone too far by declaring in his campaign literature that he wants to send Rehberg “back home to his goats.”
Upon hearing his challenger’s harsh words, Rehberg laughed and did what any owner of approximately 1,000 breeding goats would do — he defended his kids.
“I wouldn’t mind going home to my goats,” he said. “There are a whole lot of issues we’re going to talk about. I’d like to think he’s going to keep my goats out of the debate. I don’t want my kids involved in politics.”
Tragically, the kids do have troubles of their own. Sometimes ravens will swoop down and grab the tongues right out of some of the baby goats’ mouths — at which point the goats must be killed, because they have no way to eat.
Rehberg mounted this defense of his goat-herding ways: “Being the only goat-herder in Congress, we have to protect my status. I call myself a nomadic pasteuristalist. Doesn’t that sound sexy?”
Rehberg joked that “goat and beer” are his two hobbies, and points out that goat is the No. 1 meat in the world. He sells little goats to Mexicans; medium-sized goats to Asians, the French and Greeks; and older goats to Muslims.
The congressman said a well-cooked goat is delicious. “If you cook it slowly it can be tender,” he said. “If you cook it quickly, it can be stringy and greasy and dry.”
Sighting: Norm Mineta with an interesting license plate
Former Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta was spotted pulling out of a parking garage at 14th and F streets in a tan Mercedes sporting the vanity license plate “BNTHERE.”
Bluetooth anyone? Ask expert Bluetoother Rep. Mahoney
Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) is sporting a stylish-looking new phone lately. Clipped to his right ear is the sleek, silver, rectangular-shaped Jawbone, which is not as dangerous as it sounds. In contrast to the other Martian-like contraptions out there, Mahoney’s Jawbone “is very comfortable,” with “rubber on the back,” he recently explained.
Asked how it compares to other Bluetooth phones, the congressman replied, “It’s the best, believe me. I’ve tried them all.”
Standup desks for two standup guys
When Fred Piccolo went to work for Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) as his spokesman last year, among the first things he noticed was the congressman’s standup desk. An unusual finding around Capitol Hill, the desk allows a person to stand all long day if they so choose.
Piccolo was immediately envious — he wanted one, too. A few months ago, he got his wish and now has a smaller version of his boss’s standup desk in his corner of the office. “I feel lazy when I sit down all day,” he says, noting his increased energy and diminishing back problems since getting the desk. “My back feels better. Sitting down, my lower back would hurt.”
“Idle hands do the Democrats’ work,” he jokes.
Cannon first ordered his standup desk when he began losing weight. “He figured [standing up] all day would force him to move more,” Piccolo says. “He’s so restless. His mind races a mile a minute.”
Cannon and Piccolo share their standup desk status with other noteworthy figures: Winston Churchill, Donald Rumsfeld, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and even Thomas Jefferson worked at these unique desks.
Sighting: Rummy on the corner of 17th and L
Donald Rumsfeld may be out of the political spotlight these days. But on Monday at about noon, he was spotted looking downright dapper as he walked down the street at 17th and L with two colleagues. “He looks good for his age,” an ITK informant said.
Spokeswoman dresses up as Obey for Halloween
It takes a lot of nerve to dress up as your boss for Halloween when he is known for one of the hottest tempers in Congress. But Kirstin Brost, spokeswoman to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), was up to the task last week as she came to work dressed as her boss, who, in certain circles, is said to have a good sense of humor.
Brost pulled the costume off with a dark brown suit, a passel of pencils in the breast pocket, a flag pin and an Obey campaign button. No beard, unfortunately.
Obey’s reaction: “Your pencils are upside-down.”
Sen. Boxer is the good angel; her spokeswoman, Ravitz, is the bad angel
Last Wednesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) came to work with a fuzzy white halo on her head while her spokeswoman, Natalie Ravitz, wore a fuzzy black one.
Did Boxer insist on being the good angel and Ravitz the bad?
Ravitz did not respond to inquiries by press time.
Sen. Allard’s chief of staff to run for office
Sean Conway, 48, chief of staff to Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), has made a decision to return to Colorado to run for a slot on the Weld County Board of County Commissioners. But it won’t be until after his boss’s retirement next year.
Conway has been chief of staff for more than five years. He has worked for Allard since his first day in Congress in 1991. Prior to that, he worked for Sen. Bill Armstrong (R-Colo.) for eight and a half years as his state director.
Conway grew up in Denver and at the family ranch in Edwards, near Vail. He grew up skiing but doesn’t get to do it as much as he’d like.
“I don’t like falling as much as I used to,” he says, explaining that he has commuted from Washington to Greeley, Colo., each week for the past 11 years.
Will he someday seek higher office in the House or the Senate?
“I learned a long time ago you never say never,” Conway said. “Right now my complete concentration is on Weld County. It has been my home for two decades. There are a lot of important issues I feel deeply about. I don’t sit in my basement at night plotting my next move. I never planned on running for office.”
Spoken like a true politician.