Schakowsky aide has crush on Rep. Tim Ryan

It’s not easy for a congresswoman to find the perfect parting gift for an aide. Fortunately for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), she tapped into the office gossip.

So when legislative assistant Lindsay McAllister left for law school two weeks ago, Schakowsky knew just what to get her.

Schakowsky had picked up that McAllister thought Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) was pretty easy on the eyes. So the five-term Chicago native hunted Ryan down on the floor and asked the 6-foot-2 dark-haired congressman to sign a photograph for McAllister.

But Schakowsky wanted more than a signature. She had a special inscription she wanted Ryan to write.

The mission was successful. When McAllister had her going-away party, Schakowsky presented her with a signed photo of Ryan that read, “Lindsay, you’re on my list, too.”

“I’ve never seen anyone turn that shade of red,” Schakowsky recounted with a chuckle.

For the uninitiated, “the list,” said Ryan’s spokesman, is a compilation of those people you’d like to date (or more) in this lifetime.

Rep. Kingston on his back surgery: ‘It feels like a horse stomped on me’

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) is resting at home on doctor’s orders after undergoing back surgery last week in Savannah, Ga.

Kingston had an L4-5 lumbar foraminotomy. Translation: “A pinched nerve in my facet joint,” he wrote ITK in an e-mail. “The doctors said I was probably the best patient they ever had, a pleasure to work with and an inspiration to everyone on my hall.”

OK, here’s the truth, he says: “It feels like a horse stomped on me. Many Democrats would be in favor of such an event,” he joked, adding: “I appreciate all the bipartisan encouragement and I’m looking forward to break-dancing again.”



In preparation for protests at the Democratic National Convention, Denver’s City Council last week passed an ordinance banning any tools, objects or noxious substances demonstrators might use to block public access to buildings and events or threaten overall public safety.

The ordinance targets concrete-filled pipes or containers as well as handcuffs, chains, padlocks or other locking devices. But what really got the attention of City Council members, according to a summary of the discussion, was the possible use of “urine bombs” and feces by protesters.

Denver City Council legislative analyst Shelley Smith told ITK that the Denver Police Department and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) asked the council to pass the ordinance so that city officials could keep demonstrators from “illegally stopping traffic” and ensure the safety of “delegates [going] in and out of buildings.” But so far, she said, the council has been inundated with questions about feces and urine.

“I’m just amazed at how much excrement talk there is out there,” Smith said. “I’m getting e-mail questions about this with the subject lines ‘Doo-doo.’ ”

Flu vaccination campaign under way

Gossip and Paris Hilton aren’t the only things going around the campaign trail this season. Which candidate will get hit by the flu first — Obama? McCain?

This fall, electing the next president isn’t the only important decision to make.

So says a new campaign, “Flu Vaccination: Choose Your Administration,” sponsored by MedImmune, that is calling on Americans to choose not only a presidential administration but also the administration of your flu vaccine.

“The administration of flu vaccination is an important part of the healthcare dialogue Americans should be having this upcoming flu and election season,” says a statement from the election-themed campaign. The campaign urges Americans to talk to their healthcare provider to make decisions about flu prevention.

In Denver, the campaign will be seen around town at the Democratic National Convention — on cab rooftops, at the airport and on signs, T-shirts and buttons. The group will also have a presence at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

“With all the long hours, plane rides, hotel rooms and otherwise close quarters on the campaign trail, you don’t want to be sidelined with the flu,” the campaign says.

GOP candidate holds fundraiser at home of Alexander Graham Bell’s grandson

President Bush attends; security installs special phone line

Communications were on President Bush’s mind when he attended an Arizona fundraiser at the home of telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell’s grandson.

Secret Service drilled a hole in the wall of Graham Bell’s home to ensure the president would have a secure phone line during the event, which raised more than $500,000 for GOP state Sen. Tim Bee, who is challenging Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Bush didn’t seem to want his words to show up on the Internet; he asked the 400 attendees to shut down recording devices. “I do know about YouTube,” he told The Arizona Daily Star.

“It was a private event in a private home,” explained Bee spokesman Tom Dunn.

Democratic operatives claim this was part of a concerted effort to prevent photographs of Bush with Bee from appearing. While candidates love to get the money a presidential visit can attract, they don’t always want to be seen standing side by side with the unpopular president, particularly in swing districts.

Twelve-year-old Andi-Elena O’Bert still managed to get a photograph of Bush with Bee, which landed in the Vail Sun, a Tucson weekly. Vail School Government Board member Anne Gibson invited the budding photographer as her guest.

Lucky for O’Bert. The cost to attend was $1,000 for regular guests, and $10,000 to take a picture with the president.

Democratic claims were also spurred by Bee’s decision not to meet with Bush when he arrived at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The congressional hopeful claimed a scheduling conflict — his six children. Bush arrived at 10 p.m. and Bee’s kids had to be up at 3 a.m. in order to get to Graham Bell’s house for the following day’s fundraiser, Dunn said.

Bee also did not send the president off the following day, remaining at the fundraiser at the Graham Bell home.

Dunn said these were not slights to Bush, nor was Bee avoiding being seen with a president with low approval ratings. “Not at all,” said Dunn. “President Bush gave us a lot of free media and helped us raise funds to get our message out.”