By Betsy Rothstein - 06/25/08 04:55 PM EDT
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) return to the Senate Tuesday attracted the attention of hordes of journalists and even a member of the House. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) quietly, oddly waited behind the reporter scrum as the former Democratic presidential candidate entered the Capitol to attend her party’s weekly policy lunch.
With Clinton was longtime aide Huma Abedin, whom Weiner publicly admitted he was dating in May.
Asked what brought the congressman to the Senate side, he answered: “I work here. I’m a member of the United States Congress.”
Weiner had no official role in Clinton’s welcoming fanfare, as did Democratic Sens. Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.). “We need you!” Stabenow cooed to Clinton in the hallway.
Still, Weiner lurked in the marble hallways with no official business in sight and mingled aimlessly amidst the scribes. While trying to keep a low profile, he stood out like the proverbial sore thumb.
Though appearing to await Clinton’s arrival, Weiner, who wasn’t wearing a tie because “with [Clinton] today I figured no one would pay attention to me,” said he wasn’t sure if he’d get the opportunity to welcome the New York senator back to Capitol Hill.
An hour later, Clinton emerged from the closed-door lunch with colleagues to take questions from reporters. Weiner again hovered just beyond the gaggle of reporters and photographers surrounding Clinton. Abedin, as usual, was by her boss’s side.
As Weiner was walking away, ITK again asked if he was waiting for Clinton or for Abedin. He answered, “I’m waiting.”
In an attempt to throw ITK off, he said, “The action’s in there,” and pointed back toward Clinton.
Apparently Weiner is becoming part of Clinton’s entourage. On Wednesday morning, Weiner showed up with Clinton, Abedin and a bevy of other Clinton aides and Secret Service agents to the House Democratic Caucus, where there was a closed meeting with Clinton. Afterward, they all walked to Clinton’s office in the Russell Senate Office Building.
Chairman Obey stops markup to do business
The House Appropriations Committee was marking up the Energy and Water Bill midday on Wednesday when, mid-discussion, Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) called for a 10-minute recess. “Most folks in the room were rather confused by it, since they were IN THE MIDDLE of a discussion,” said an Appropriations aide in the room.
At the time, Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) was about to introduce an amendment. Latham rose, but Obey, the aide said, ignored him and put the committee in recess.
Turns out Obey had important business to attend to. “The recess was called solely because Obey had to go to the bathroom,” the spy wrote in an e-mail. “I arrive at this conclusion by noting that he made a beeline straight for the door, and a co-worker saw him in the bathroom a minute or so later.”
That 10-minute break turned into much longer. Obey returned 20 minutes later and said the committee would be in recess until 1:30 p.m. or whenever votes ended. Then he gaveled the issue — and the committee — closed.
Sighting: Conyers spotted preparing for Bugliosi call
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) was spotted in a Rayburn House Office Building hallway near a bank of elevators earlier this week getting briefed on a conference call he was to have with Vincent Bugliosi, author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. Bugliosi also wrote Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders.
A staffer spoke with the chairman about it, and Conyers had a three-ring binder-briefing book with instructions that the call was to be at 2 p.m. Bugliosi’s name was spelled out phonetically for Conyers to learn.
Granted, it is tricky and pronounced boo-lee-OH-see, with a silent G.
Most popular, most beautiful
The Hill’s annual celebration of summer beauty is more popular this year than ever before, with hundreds of nominations to our 50 Most Beautiful list. Nominees are clamoring to be on it.
But it has come to ITK’s attention that a few chiefs of staff and staff directors are telling their subordinates that they must not participate — because it is not serious enough.
Memo to bosses: Lighten up. This is just summer fun. Doing a job well and seriously doesn’t mean you have to be dull. Washington’s notorious for taking itself too seriously.
Go on. Allow your staff to be photographed — their loyalty will be guaranteed.
Eddie Vedder on Obama: ‘It’s going to be great to get some color in the White House’
Pearl Jam gave a not-so-subtle endorsement to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) during a raucous concert at Verizon Center Sunday night. “It’s going to be great to get some color in the White House,” frontman Eddie Vedder said, prompting a roar from the iconic band’s legion of fans.
The 43-year-old liberal lead singer rarely shies away from political causes, such as in 2000 when he called on his supporters to back Ralph Nader’s quest for the presidency. Nader, whom many Democrats blame for costing former Vice President Al Gore the election to George W. Bush, doesn’t seem to have won the Vedder primary this time.
In between songs, Vedder jumped into the gas-price debate, suggesting that Congress not repeal a ban on oil-drilling because companies already have millions of acres of land on which to drill for oil, echoing a Democratic talking point. He slammed Bush and Vice President Cheney, former business executives, for “running this business into the ground.”
He told his fans to keep up with “all this bulls--t”; otherwise, politicians will “run this country into the f---ing ground.”
Obama’s campaign did not return requests for comment.