By Betsy Rothstein - 04/28/08 05:31 PM EDT
MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson had many opinions to share during a talk last week with Senate flacks as part of a Senate Press Secretaries Association speaker series in the Russell Senate Office Building.
Carlson began with how unvetted Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is:
“Obama’s the kind of guy you sit with on a flight from Dulles to LAX and you have a few glasses of red wine. You have a great semi-drunk five hours across the country. But you don’t know anything about the guy. He could be the escaped state mental patient.”
His thoughts on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.): “You are a drunk, boorish house guest. Get the hell out of here.”
And Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “I can tell you that McCain doesn’t know why he got it. I like the guy. He never yelled at me.”
Sighting: Former Rep. DeLay finds religion in the Capitol
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was spotted on the third floor of the Capitol last week.
What was he doing there?
“Bible study,” said DeLay.
Sighting: CNN’s Larry King gets dolled up for interview, but Speaker Pelosi is late
It was an unusual sight to see. There was CNN’s Larry King, sitting in a chair last week in an obscure corner of the Capitol outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office. The famous talk show host was preparing to interview her.
And prepare he did. He sat with a forest-green sheet draped over him while a woman applied his makeup, which involved copious amounts of foundation.
King was soon spotted standing outside Pelosi’s office in tight black jeans, black snakeskin cowboy boots and red suspenders. Then someone from the Speaker’s office came out and said, “I’m really sorry, she’ll be here in just a few minutes.”
An ITK spy said that at least 15 minutes then lapsed before King entered her office for the meeting. ITK sources say Speaker Pelosi is known for running late to meetings, but a frequent observer said she often claims the stage by being the last person to arrive at her own events.
“The Speaker’s schedule was off because of votes,” said a Pelosi spokesperson.
Rep. Flake assumes intern duty for a day
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) appeared to be on intern duty last week as he paraded a group of young men and women around Statuary Hall. The group was from his alma mater, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, where he met his wife, Cheryl.
“Isn’t that a good enough reason?” he said when asked why he was giving the tour. It also wasn’t a hard choice, since it entailed playing hooky from a subcommittee hearing of the Natural Resources Committee.
The hearing of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands was an understandably mind-numbing discussion on five pending bills. One is “to direct the Secretary of the Interior to continue stocking fish” in various national recreation areas; another establishes the Lesser Prairie Chicken National Habitat Preservation Area.
Asked if his interns were busy that day, Flake laughed and assured us that they were also on the tour.
Pint-sized plant questions Pelosi
Most days, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can probably predict the questions she’s going to get at a press conference (economy, Iraq, economy, Iraq).
But Take Your Daughter or Son to Work Day last Thursday was different when Pelosi invited children at the Capitol to attend her regular weekly briefing.
Questions from the pint-sized press corps veered from “Do you like being Speaker?” to “Why is the Anacostia River so dirty?” Pelosi stumbled on the latter, at first saying she thought of it as a local issue, then promising to find out.
“It’s fabulous,” she said of being Speaker. “You should try it.”
ITK suspects this softball question may have been a plant. ITK witnessed a Pelosi staffer give a slip of paper with writing on it to the adorable little mini-reporter girl who asked the question. Afterward, she was seen hugging and having her photo taken with the same Pelosi staffer. Hmmm …
Biden lines up eulogy from Graham
After coming off the Senate floor from a recent vote, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) interrupted a conversation Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was having with ITK to make sure the Republican would be available for Biden’s funeral.
“I want you to do my eulogy,” Biden told Graham, who smiled and looked surprised by the request. “You could put the best spin on it.”
Asked later about Biden’s offer, Graham said he’d oblige if his schedule permits.
“If he dies on the right day, I’ll be there,” Graham said jokingly. “I’m a very busy man.”
He said he likely wouldn’t be able to fulfill his duties as Biden’s eulogist, predicting his Delaware colleague, who at 65 is 13 years older than Graham, will outlive him.
Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander couldn’t explain why her boss was suddenly preoccupied with his eulogy.
“Sen. Biden and Sen. Graham are great friends,” she wrote in an e-mail. “[I] think we’ll have to file that under ‘inside joke.’ ”
Eric Dane still McSteamy but not so McNice
Eric Dane, who plays the McSteamy doctor on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” turned up for the Washington Correspondents’ Dinner this past weekend.
While he obliged many female partygoers who wanted their pictures taken with him, a group of attractive female Capitol Hill reporters approached him for a photo, at which point he said curtly, “No, I can’t do it. I’ll see you later tonight, girls.”
His McHandler blocked him off and told the reporters, “He’s already done so many of these.”
Clearly not so McNice.
Tyne and Tim Daly eat in Members’ Dining Room
Several TV stars dined in the Members’ Dining Room last week as part of The Creative Coalition’s lobbying day to plead for arts funding.
Tyne Daly (“Judging Amy”), with stark white hair, said some lawmakers are more open than others: “We treat the arts as if they are dessert, and they are green salad.” But she clammed up when asked whom she’s supporting for president, saying, “I don’t tell that. That’s my right as an American citizen.”
Tim Daly (“Private Practice”), who is Tyne’s younger brother, remarked, “We’re not very good at investing at things that pay off.” Unlike his older sister, he was willing to say that he’s an avid Obama supporter.
On to more trivial matters. When Daly’s “Private Practice” co-star Kate Walsh recently visited the Hill with Planned Parenthood, she told ITK that Daly was “a cad” for blowing off their date on the show after their characters had displayed a mutual attraction.
Asked why he stood up Walsh’s character, he explained, “If that was written by a man [I] would have slept with Kate Walsh and had a moment of consciousness later.”
Rep. Space finds personal reasons to bond with Mary Tyler Moore
Freshman Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) had lunch with Mary Tyler Moore last week in the Members’ Dining Room to discuss an issue vital to them both: diabetes.
While Moore has diabetes, so does Space’s 17-year-old son, Nicholas, who was diagnosed 11 years ago.
Moore was on the Hill to lobby for increased funding for diabetes research. Space gathered a group of lawmakers to dine with her.
“The money scares people,” said Space, who is convinced that this is a curable disease. “I think it should be increased by 100 percent. This is not pie-in-the-sky stuff. This is something we have the technology to do.”
Like other lawmakers, Space was delighted to meet Moore and called her “wonderful.” But he also said it’s unfortunate that it took a star to attract lawmakers to the cause. “I couldn’t have 20 legislators come through here today unless she was here,” he said. “She’s a draw.”