Rep. Israel turns red on subject of hot mud wraps

Members of Congress hardly ever admit they have time to relax, much less indulge in luxury spa services such as a mud wrap.

But Monday night at the congressional debate at George Washington University, GOP Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) started off the evening with a story about how Joe Kennedy knew it was time to pull his money out of the stock market once his shoe shine guy started talking about stocks right before the 1929 crash. Putnam then made a bizarre analogy, remarking that when the guy giving you a mud wrap in South Beach is offering you mortgage advice, something is wrong.

In response, Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) declared that no one at the debate has ever had a hot mud wrap.

At which point Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) began cracking up and turning bright red, saying, “Not in South Beach.”

Israel was asked through his press office if he had ever been wrapped up in foil and covered with a mound of blankets after being slathered with hot mud (which is on a par with the standard mud wrap).

Israel’s spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak remarked: “The congressman doesn’t sling mud, nor has he ever been wrapped in it.”


Book about Sen. Obama, not Clinton, makes Children’s Paperback list

Here’s a primary you hadn’t thought about — and in this contest, too, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is ahead of his rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

It’s the Children’s Paperback list published recently by The New York Times.

Barack Obama: An American Story by Roberta Edwards (Grosset & Dunlap) is No. 9 on the list. But another book, also published by Grosset & Dunlap, has not made the list. It is Hillary Clinton: An American Journey by Laura Driscoll.


Rep. Ryan, like Sen. Obama, is ‘tall, handsome and articulate’

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), 34 and single, was pleased to learn this week that he’s as good-looking and as smart as Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

That is, at least according to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who made the comments to reporters at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington.

Strickland, whose comments were reported on Buckeyestate Blog, called Ryan “hugely talented” and an “exceptional person.”

But after such lovely compliments, Strickland put Ryan down by saying, “Ryan, like Obama, served for a stint in the state Senate and has been in Congress for a relatively short time, three terms.”

And he said Ohioans should support Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for president because the upcoming primary is not about choosing the “next ‘American Idol.’ ”

Brad Bauman, Ryan’s spokesman, remarked over e-mail,  “We certainly appreciate the fact that Ted Strickland thinks Tim Ryan is a tall, handsome, articulate and politically savvy individual; we feel the same way about the governor.”

Ryan has not endorsed either Clinton or Obama.

A question for Ryan: Will the congressman demand his own Ryan Girl, like Obama Girl? “Only if you’re offering,” Bauman quipped. (ITK will politely have to decline.)


Fortunate cookie magic to hit Library of Congress

Who writes those little messages in fortune cookies? Did General Tso cook his own chicken? Jennifer 8. Lee — her middle name connotes “prosperity” — discusses her book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, on Monday, March 17, at noon at the Library of Congress.

Lee, a New York Times reporter, studied at the University of Beijing.