By Betsy Rothstein - 12/16/08 06:48 PM EST
Even if House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) had access to spousal privileges, he would not be allowed to bring the man known as his boyfriend, Jim Ready, 39, a surfing enthusiast, to the House floor.
Last week Frank approached the Speaker’s Lobby with Ready, who was spotted wearing a green blazer and the traditional congressional spouse pin, and asked to bring him into the Chamber. He was told no.
The rules are that no spouse or life partner — gay, straight, male, female — is allowed on the floor. Only a lawmaker’s children are allowed to accompany a parent into the chamber.
Frank took the news in stride and didn’t make any trouble. After being told why he could not bring Ready onto the floor, he reacted amiably, saying he understood the reasoning.
Why such stringent rules? Envisioning the sheer number of spouses who would convene on the floor makes many Capitol employees roll their eyes.
“Spouses aren’t allowed in here,” remarked a Capitol employee, explaining, “Kids aren’t a pain in the a-- on the floor.”
Frank has given the spouse pin to his partners before. He said in the mid-’90s he gave it to his then-partner Herb Moses. He said other gay lawmakers also have given pins to significant others such as Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)’s domestic partner, Lauren Azar.
It’s “up to you,” Frank said, explaining that he gets to decide to whom to give his spouse pin. “In much of the country there is no way for a same sex couple to do anything officially,” he said. He added, it “isn’t any of your business” if he and Ready will have a commitment ceremony.
While House rules have extended the spouse pin to domestic partners, House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood stresses to new members at the beginning of each Congress that the pin be given out with great care for security precautions. He also asks that spouses request the spouse ID card for secondary security.
“It’s got to be a serious relationship,” said a spokeswoman for the House Sgt. at Arms office. “If something goes bad then we lost a pin. We’re not in a process of supplying pins for every girlfriend or boyfriend a member has. He wants to make sure it’s a serious, committed relationship.”
[After this item was published, Frank's office released this statement to ITK: "Rep. Frank strongly disagrees with The Hill's 'sources' that he was trying to bring his partner onto the House floor, which Rep. Frank knows is not allowed. The unnamed source that incorrectly reported the interaction between Rep. Frank and the Sergeant of Arms personnel -- who was not a party in the conversation -- was wrong. The truth is that Rep. Frank was asking for clarification from the staff of the rules for access to the Speaker's Lobby, which is located behind the chamber."]
Will.i.am to attend Inauguration even if he has to sleep on bus
Will.i.am, the founding frontman of the Black Eyed Peas who gained additional fame for his “Yes We Can” video in support of President-elect Obama, has not been asked to perform at Inauguration. But come here he will — even if he has to camp out in a rented tour bus amid the 4 million people expected to attend.
“I would love to perform,” the two-time Grammy nominee told ITK by phone from Los Angeles on Monday. “I haven’t felt this way ever in my life.”
He says Obama won because people needed something different.
“We don’t even trust politicians anymore,” he said. What the f---? Politicians speak over my head. I don’t know what all that s--- means, and a lot of Americans feel that way.”
TV hosts and broadcasters are getting practice pronouncing the complicated surname of beleaguered Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who allegedly tried to sell President-elect Obama’s Senate seat.
Some need a lot of practice.
CNN’s Lou Dobbs last week could not pronounce the governor’s name just 14 minutes before his show was to start. “Bleh-go-vich,” he started out. “Bleh-go-vich,” he stammered, before finally referring to him as “the Illinois governor.” Dobbs concluded, “I’ll have it by 7.”
But Wolf Blitzer, who was promoting Dobbs’s show, semi-seriously took his colleague to task. “It’s not that hard,” Blitzer scolded. “I’ll say it three times: Blah-goy-a-vich, Blah-goy-a-vich, Blah-goy-a-vich.”
Dobbs wasn’t alone in finding the governor’s name to be a tongue-twister. On ABC’s “The View,” the ladies were also having a hard time until Whoopi Goldberg said, “It’s not that hard. We can say it — Blah-goy-a-vich.”
By 7 p.m. Dobbs had it right, and just to prove it, said it four times in less than one minute, displaying the fact that it took him less than 15 minutes to learn the correct pronunciation of the governor’s name.
Grandpa reveals: Bristol Palin’s having a boy
Grandparents.com is breaking news on the Palin family.
The niche website this week posted an interview with Chuck Heath, the father of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Heath revealed that his pregnant granddaughter Bristol Palin is having a boy and confirmed that her due date is Dec. 20. Heath said the newest Palin will be welcomed in a lime-green and yellow nursery.
Grandparents.com asked if a baby name had been chosen. The Palin family repertoire of names, after all, caused a stir during the campaign. (In addition to eldest daughter Bristol, Sarah and husband Todd have two sons named Track and Trig, and two other daughters, Willow and Piper.)
“Oscar,” Heath said after putting down the phone to ask the nearby Bristol. “No, I’m just kidding. They don’t have a name for it yet.”
Heath opened up about the frenzy that ensued after his daughter became Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) running mate. He said Sarah has more than 200 media requests, including open invitations from Oprah Winfrey, Bill O’Reilly and David Letterman. He said the governor has 87 boxes of unopened mail from all over the world that the family is sorting through.
Grandparents.com Editor Susan Avery had nothing but praise to lavish on Heath. She told ITK, “He was lovely, he was absolutely lovely.”
To see the full interview, click here .