By Betsy Rothstein - 08/25/08 08:07 PM EDT
Asked about the addition of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) to the Democratic ticket, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) said, “It’ll be OK. I’d rather it had been Hillary, but what the hell?”
Murtha’s remarks came at Reagan National Airport in Washington late Sunday afternoon as he boarded a flight for Denver. Murtha sat in first class.
Early Sunday evening in the baggage claim of Denver International Airport, Terry McAuliffe, longtime strategist to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), said the former first lady “wasn’t vetted. She and I knew she wasn’t going to be picked. She’s best friends with Biden, so she’s very enthusiastic about the pick.”
Turbulence on the way to Denver
Though United Airlines is the officially designated airline of the Democratic National Convention, one woman whose son works for the Democratic National Committee doesn’t think it’s so great.
A United flight from Washington to Denver on Sunday was full, and no one was permitted to change seats except to upgrade to first class. That’s when things went awry.
Seated in 31B near the back of the plane, the woman began to complain loudly to the stewardess about being seated in a middle seat. “None of these people paid $1,500 for a ticket,” she yelled, adding, “This funky-ass airline …”
For a moment she was quiet and the tirade was assumed over.
But then she screamed, “This is bull-s--t. I’m mad. I’m furious.”
Still, the woman was not permitted to change seats. She held her hands over her eyes for much of the flight.
Cruel fates of flying afflict Sen. Lautenberg
The frustrations of air travel afflicted VIPs and rank-and-file delegates alike this week, as Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) discovered firsthand.
Lautenberg, who lives in northern New Jersey, usually flies out of LaGuardia airport in Queens and isn’t thrilled about airlines’ record of untimely departures from the crowded New York hub.
“I watch it like a hawk,” the senator said Sunday while sipping cola at a reception with Democratic strategist John Podesta at a slick osteria on Larimer Street.
Lautenberg had hoped to arrive on time in Denver for the convention so he could catch a shuttle out to Vail, Colo., to meet his son.
He almost couldn’t believe his luck when his flight left New York only a little late and touched down in Denver on time. But then the cruel fates of flying intervened.
“My luggage was the last piece to come out on the carousel and I missed the shuttle to go out to Vail to see my son,” he said.
Maybe the senator should consider a more prominent tag that lets handlers know the luggage belongs to a member of the Senate Appropriations Transportation subcommittee.
Odd smell en route to downtown Denver
If you’re curious about why you may have had to hold your breath momentarily on your ride into downtown Denver from the airport, ITK’s cab driver informs us that it was the Puppy Chow factory emitting the choke-worthy odor of dog food.
Allard has gone fishing
While his Democratic colleagues celebrate Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential nomination, Colorado’s GOP senator, Wayne Allard, is planning on going fishing.
“I’m looking to get out of town when the Democrats are in town,” he told ITK just before the August recess.
But the retiring senator does not plan on completely hiding from the hordes of Democrats running around Denver during the convention. In fact, he even extended an invitation to any of his Democratic Senate colleagues to join him in experiencing his state’s great outdoors.
“If there’s a member or two that wants to go fishing, I’d consider taking them fishing,” he offered.
Barring that, Allard advised his Democratic colleagues in the upper chamber to visit a few of his favorite places around the state: the glitzy mountain town of Vail, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Obama Girl and Nadler aide team up
Amber Lee Ettinger, better known as Obama Girl, looked no further than the wealth of musical talent on Capitol Hill for help with last night’s scheduled debut of her solo live performance of the song that made her famous: “Crush on Obama.”
Ettinger was slated to perform the Obama-loving song live Monday night at downtown Denver’s Mercury Café, with the band of Danny Ross, a scheduler and operations coordinator for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), providing the accompaniment.
“I’m a little nervous,” Ettinger confessed to ITK a few days before her performance.
Ettinger lip-synced in the song’s Internet music video and has performed the song live with the original vocalist, Leah Kauffman. But this will be her first time singing the ballad on her own.
Ettinger has plenty of singing experience — and, perhaps not so coincidentally, she just released her first single, called “Second Time” — but she still can’t hit the high notes of one of her favorite singers, Mariah Carey.
“I wish I sounded like Mariah Carey, but not quite,” she said.
Ettinger’s pep for Obama will continue after Monday’s concert. She plans to become a citizen journalist for the week, interviewing Obama supporters and other convention attendees for Barelypolitical.com, the website that created her Obama Girl character.
“We like to do the lighter side of things, so we have a bunch of questions lined up,” she said.
Rep. Thompson’s aide skips convention and heads to Bora Bora
Lanier Avant, the longtime aide to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and staff director for the Homeland Security Committee, missed the Democratic National Convention this week for a good reason: He got married.
“On a scale of one to 10, it’s a two — not that important,” Avant said dryly last week. “The televisions work where I’ll be.”
On Saturday he and Kandis Gibson, a former aide on the Homeland Security Committee, married in Skaneateles, N.Y. After the wedding, the couple flew to Tahiti for a night and then were off to Bora Bora for the remainder of their honeymoon.
Avant said he had never been in a relationship that lasted long. “I didn’t get tired of listening to her talk,” he said of his new wife. “She made it past the 90-day mark. Up until this relationship I hadn’t been able to make it past 90 days. It was usually about 85 days that I could tell it was going nowhere.”
But Gibson was different.
“She was willing to try things, things I enjoy,” he said. “I was willing to try things she enjoys. I was probably much less selfish with her than I was in the past.”