Sens. Carper, Alexander reveal secret nicknames for each other

Their initials might not be even close to each other, but that doesn’t keep Sens.  Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGOP eyes big gamble on ObamaCare Mnuchin, Price meet with GOP senators Reid bids farewell to the Senate MORE (R-Tenn.) and Tom CarperTom CarperWhy Trump picked a retired general for Homeland Security Dems, greens gear up for fight against Trump EPA pick The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Del.) from bestowing similar nicknames upon each other.

While speaking with reporters Tuesday, Carper repeatedly referred to Alexander as “L.A.” The name makes sense, as those letters are the Tennessee lawmaker’s initials.

But when ITK asked what Alexander, in turn, calls Carper, Delaware’s senior senator replied, “T.A.” 

Say what?

Carper explained that the name goes way back, when he and the former GOP conference chairman were working together on a piece of legislation referred to as the “Alexander-Carper” bill. Says Carper, “There was once a news story several years ago … one of the reporters had [written] the story as, ‘Lamar and Tom Alexander.’”

But details of the exact origin appear to be up for debate.

Alexander remembers it a tad differently, writing to ITK in an email: “Sen. Carper told me that when he got off the train in Delaware one night, he heard the local radio station attribute a quote about the bill to ‘Sen. Alexander Carper.’”

One thing is certain: The names stuck. Alexander told us, “Ever since then, he’s called me L.A. and I’ve called him T.A.”

Carper seems to be pretty pleased with the moniker, admitting, “People have called me a lot worse, I’m sure.”