By Betsy Rothstein - 05/19/08 05:28 PM EDT
A message from Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) presidential campaign is waxing wrong, or, better said, wexing wrong.
In an internal memo obtained by ITK, California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is confused for Florida Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, who chairs Obama’s Florida campaign and is seen as a chief surrogate to the Jewish community. In the memo, Waxman is referred to as “Henry Wexler.”
The memo announced the most recent delegates to back Obama, one of whom was Waxman.
This is not to be confused with another H.W.-initialed Obama supporter: actor Henry Winkler.
“Of course we’re not offended and the campaign is thrilled to have Henry Waxman’s endorsement,” said Eric Johnson, Wexler’s chief of staff. “It just underscores the fact that Obama has so many Jewish supporters that even we can’t keep them all straight.”
Waxman’s press office did not comment by press time. The Obama campaign issued a correction of the memo.
A supermodel and a Spice Girl to visit Capitol Hill
Supermodel Christy Turlington Burns and singer Geri Halliwell, better known as Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, are scheduled to speak at a press conference Tuesday at 1 p.m. on the Cannon Terrace.
The subject matter, obstetric fistula, is not pleasant. The condition typically affects women in developing countries. The women are in labor for days on end, their babies are typically stillborn and the women are left with chronic incontinence.
A release issued by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who is sponsoring legislation that would mandate $34 million to the United Nations Population Fund, says a woman with fistula is “often abandoned by her husband and family and ostracized by her community.” What’s more, with prospects for work greatly diminished, “victims are forced to beg or turn to prostitution to survive.”
The United Nations Population Fund is the organization responsible for bringing Halliwell to the press conference. Halliwell is the organization’s goodwill ambassador. Turlington, a CARE ambassador, has previously worked with the Congressional Women’s Caucus.
Fistula survivors will attend. Other lawmakers who plan to make appearances include Reps. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.).
Bird takes up residence in Senate Press Gallery
A little birdy tells ITK that for the past week, a small brown bird has been living in the Senate Press Gallery. Dubbed Robert C. by surrounding scribes, the bird has been pooping on Carl Hulse’s fan; hence The New York Times reporter’s cleverness: “sh-- has literally hit the fan.”
In an e-mail, Hulse said he’s not taking the presence of the bird personally. “I’m not taking it as a comment on my journalism,” he wrote. “Some people say that bird poop is a sign of good luck but that is usually people who have been pooped on.”
There is no sign that Robert C. has any plans of flying away anytime soon. An undisclosed reporter is ensuring as much by leaving birdseed for the new friend every day.
“I see no way that the bird will ever leave,” an ITK spy said. “He seems pretty fulfilled and has no means of escape.”
What’s that weird green contraption around Blumenauer’s foot?
It’s official. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has become a bikeaholic.
Not only does he chair the Congressional Bicycle Caucus, ride his bike to and from work and always wear his bicycle lapel pin, but last week he was spotted in the Capitol with a bright fluorescent-green metal band around his right pant leg so the chain of his bicycle won’t catch on his trousers.
There’s more. He has introduced the Bike Commuter Act, which extends transit benefit to employees, providing $20 a month for bike gear. The act has been part of the energy bill and is expected to reach the floor soon.
Has the congressman gone too far with his biking?
“I think it makes a nice statement,” said Erin Allweiss, Blumenauer’s spokeswoman. “With rising energy costs, [biking] makes more sense than ever.”
Blumenauer does not require staff to ride bikes to work, but he has a lot of athletic employees, many of whom ride or run to the office.
“I don’t think my boss has gone too far,” Allweiss said, mentioning a resolution by her boss that had been scheduled to reach the floor Monday.
The topic? Biking.
Men’s mag names Obama among the fittest in America
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has made the Men’s Fitness annual list of 25 Fittest Guys in America. “We have acknowledged him for his stamina, his dedication to staying fit every morning, quitting smoking and much more,” said Jennifer Krosche, the magazine’s public relations director.
The fittest man in America? It’s Tiger Woods.
Duvall: ‘I didn’t fit in’ in the Army
Actor Robert Duvall told attendees at the GI Film Festival’s congressional reception that he “didn’t fit in real well” in the U.S. Army but that he continues to be “very grateful for that experience.”
Duvall and his wife, Luciana Pedraza, were part of a crowd, which included Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and John Salazar (D-Colo.), on hand last week to kick off the military-themed film festival’s second year. The actor, known for his roles in “The Godfather” series, “Lonesome Dove,” “Apocalypse Now” and dozens of other films, talked about how he got into acting before presenting the film festival’s award to Iraq war veteran Jeremiah Workman.
Duvall’s parents pushed him toward the stage, he said. “Maybe they figured that’s all I could do, I don’t know,” he joked.
He also shared memories of his time in uniform.
“I liked the marching, the cadence,” he said. Duvall also marveled at how 1,000 soldiers could simultaneously raise the bayonets of their rifles on command, although “there would always be one guy” who would screw up, he said.