By Betsy Rothstein - 09/24/08 05:42 PM EDT
At Wednesday’s Campaign to End Obesity Breakfast with Champions at Capitol Hill’s Hotel George, attendees honored eight members of Congress for their work on promoting healthy lifestyles — while eating a breakfast of bacon, eggs, potatoes, rolls, croissants and muffins.
“Unfortunately, everything at the hotel is served with bacon,” said Jessica Donze Black, the campaign’s executive director. She explained that, in theory, attendees could’ve displayed the self-discipline to eat an acceptable portion of bacon, and also noted happily that several people walked or biked to the event.
One of those walkers was honoree Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who came in late wearing a pink backpack. “I’m a few minutes tardy [because] I typically walk to work and do my reading while I walk,” she said. “I’m either walking or riding my bike.”
Murkowski said her two teenage sons remind her every day of the importance of exercise and healthy eating. One of her sons, she said, has “rounded out at about 6-foot-5.”
“We’re feeding him all the time,” she said.
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) was also an honoree. He said he promotes healthy lifestyles as a form of preventive healthcare and an answer to overmedication. “All of the studies are in. The most effective antidepressant in the history of the world is sweat,” he said. He also got a friendly jab in toward his former Congressional Fitness Caucus co-chairman, Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who’s now running for the Senate.
It’s “certainly a lateral move, at best,” Wamp said. “We used to say the Senate is where House members go when they die, but Mark Udall is way too full of life for us to say that.”
Other members of Congress honored at the event were Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Jon Porter (R-Nev.). On hand was Brig Owens, who played for the Washington Redskins from 1966 to 1977.
Gavin Newsom scolds Congress …
Gavin Newsom, the attractive San Francisco mayor, strode into the broadcasting center of the National Press Club on Tuesday afternoon with all the ease of a politician who didn’t appear to be trying to impress anyone this week in Washington.
“It’s very quiet in here,” he said, walking into a room of just 18 people, some of whom were clearly reporters he knows personally.
“You don’t want to hear me,” he joked to one reporter.
Newsom was in town this week to hold meetings with aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). On Tuesday morning he met with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to discuss universal healthcare.
With his brown hair slicked back and crystal blue eyes beaming at the cameras, he looked the political part in a blue suit with faint white squares, a powder-blue tie and white button-down shirt. But he didn’t sound it.
“Government is so scared to make a mistake,” he said, specifically criticizing Congress’s inability to pass a bill on universal healthcare. He noted that 15 months ago, San Francisco implemented a healthcare initiative that helps half of those who were uninsured.
He admitted to giving the same “stale speech” many politicians give on the subject. But then he slammed Congress for ignoring healthcare and focusing only on the financial crisis: “The lack of leadership is alarming. Apparently we have all the money in the world to do what we need to when we need to.”
And he mentioned how boring those hearings on healthcare can be. “Listen to these congressional hearings on healthcare, you start dozing,” he said, to audience laughter.
… and offers advice to Obama
In an unrelated matter, Newsom had advice for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) for this Friday’s debate:
“His brand is authenticity. I hope he doesn’t overprepare and overcompensate by becoming a politician,” he said. “If it’s a change election, I don’t think there could be a bigger mistake than being like everybody else.
High buzz for Rep. Moran’s town hall with Charlie Wilson
On Wednesday night, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) held a town hall meeting in his district with none other than Charlie Wilson, the congressman known for his wild ways, as depicted in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War.”
Moran booked the largest venue in his district — Schlesinger Center at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va., which holds about 1,200 people. “It’s hard to say how many people will attend,” said Moran spokesman Austin Durrer Wednesday morning. “Franking rules dictated that our postcard go out in early August before the blackout period — a full seven weeks prior to the event.”
Durrer said Moran’s district office has been inundated with about 500 phone calls in the past two weeks. “Old friends who knew Charlie during his congressional days have been coming out of the woodwork,” he said.
McCain set to hold closed-door meetings with billionaire’s wife and Bono
GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was scheduled for private meetings Wednesday morning with Lynn de Rothschild in Manhattan. Later in the afternoon, his schedule had him meeting with Bono.
Some may recall de Rothschild is a former top fundraiser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) who helped raise $100,000 for her unsuccessful bid to win the Democratic Party’s nomination. When Clinton lost, she jumped on McCain’s bandwagon.
According to Forbes, de Rothschild was a successful entrepreneur before marrying international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, “who sits atop one of the oldest banking families in America.”
He now runs the wireless broadband venture FirstMark Communications Europe.
Luke’s Wings to host debate watch party — with swing dancing
A budding nonprofit organization that flies families of service members to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., is hoping for a good turnout Friday night at the City Tavern Club. The party includes a debate-watch lounge upstairs and a USO-themed swing band.
Luke’s Wings, less than a year old, has flown three families of injured service members to the hospital to be with the soldiers while they’re recovering.
The organization, with 60 members, is entirely volunteer-based. The event chairwoman, Cecily Hastings, is a legislative correspondent for Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.).
Hastings has a personal stake in the cause. Both her father and grandfather served in the military. Her grandfather sustained injuries while in the Army; her father, who worked in Naval intelligence, did not. Both are retired.
The cost for this Friday’s soiree is $35 in advance by purchasing a ticket at www.lukeswings.org or $45 at the door.