Bush's limited-time engagement yields laughs

So last week, the president came to the Hill to convince lawmakers to approve his legislation allowing interrogation of detainees.  Hilarity ensued. 

So last week, the president came to the Hill to convince lawmakers to approve his legislation allowing interrogation of detainees.  Hilarity ensued. 

We’re sure there was plenty of serious policy talk.  But anytime the seldom-seen-on-the-Hill president ventures into the Capitol, there’s bound to be some funny encounters.  

On the way to a meeting of Republican members, an entourage that included the president, the vice-president, Karl Rove, and other top West Wingers were walking through the Capitol basement, only to be joined by a very unexpected guest. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her gang of staffers just happened to be entering the hallway behind the executive-branch types. 

Pelosi seemed a bit surprised to find herself practically steps away from Rove, but took it all in stride. 

“We’re not part of this party,” she joked to the gaggle of reporters staked out nearby. 

Just in case they were confused on that point. 

Then, during a closed-door meeting of Republicans, there were some cracks made about the Ohio State University’s Buckeyes defeat of Bush’s home-state Texas Longhorns the previous weekend. Republicans in the Ohio delegation presented Bush with an OSU flag, according to our spies. And when fellow Texan Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) stood up to ask Bush a question, he told the president that he didn’t shed a tear when the Longhorns lost. Gohmert cheers for the Aggies as a graduate of Texas A&M, one of UT’s biggest rivals.

Bush, to plenty of good-natured snickers from the audience, then asked the freshman Republican whether his remarks were on the record, since they might prevent the former judge from running statewide.

Yes, he just flew in from 1600 Pennsylvania, and boy, are his arms tired …



Spoiler alert: staffer from ‘Hill’ show weds

For those of you who like to read the last page of a book first, here’s a spoiler.  On the Sundance Channel’s series “The Hill,” which chronicles the everyday work lives of staffers for Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), Wexler’s foreign policy adviser Haley Soifer ditches her Republican boyfriend for a Democratic one. 

Though he’s never identified by full name on screen, Hill hands will recognize the new, blue paramour as Andrew Kauders, the former executive director of the House Democratic Caucus and aide to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who is now a principal with government-relations firm PodestaMattoon. 

The four of six filmed episodes that have aired so far have delved into Kauder and Soifer’s debate over whether they should move in together.

Unlike so many other reality-TV couples (i.e., Whitney and Bobby, and nearly every couple from the Bachelor), the two are now blissfully married.

They tied the knot Aug. 19 in Lansing, Michigan.

Another update: Soifer has left Wexler’s office to pursue a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins in foreign policy with an emphasis in the Middle East.  Soifer says she misses life on the Hill, particularly her old colleagues in Wexler’s office. But now she’s happily busy with subjects such as Arabic language and economics, which she says she wouldn’t have been able to pick up on the job.

Still, Soifer says she’d like to come back to the Hill, work for a campaign, or maybe in the executive branch someday.

“There’s something very addictive about the Hill,” she says.


 
Haliburton film, hearings get cross-promotion

Robert Greenwald, the maker of scathing documentaries who has previously turned his yellow lens on favorite Democratic targets like Tom DeLay and Wal-Mart, has found another subject.  And it’s (drum roll, please) Halliburton! 

Greenwald, whose credits include Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price and The Big Buy: Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress, held a press conference on Monday in the Senate Dirksen building to promote his new film, Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.  The film delves into the Pentagon’s use of contractors in Iraq, and we’re guessing the depiction isn’t a flattering one. 

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), whose Democratic Policy Committee is coincidentally holding hearings on that very same topic (imagine that!) joined Greenwald at the press conference.  And though the director hailed Dorgan as a hero for shedding light on contractor improprieties in Iraq, Dorgan himself emphasized he was not “promoting” the film but rather the idea that “there needs to be accountability” in Iraq.  Dorgan called on GOP colleagues to convene hearings on the matter. 

The American people “expect things to be done right,” Dorgan said.


Ned Lamont’s shifting “part”-isan politics

Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont rode his liberal bona fides to a victory in the Democratic primary over Sen. Joe Leiberman.  But now is Lamont moving to the right? 

It seems, at least, that his hair is making a decidedly rightward march.  Make that his part, specifically.  The first pictures that pop up on Lamont’ s campaign website show the telegenic candidate with a part that sits on the right side of his tousled ‘do.

But when you look at other photos of Lamont posted on the site, it seems that he is and always has been a left parter. Part-switchers (not unlike party-switchers) particularly among men, are few and far between.

But a Lamont source says it’s all a big misunderstanding. The pictures featuring the right-side part are just from flipped negatives, adjusted to get the proper angle for their spots on the website’s front page.


 Pun gives press release relief

We get mountains of press releases, some straightforward, others painfully full of exclamation points and purple prose.  We’re offering a special and occasional award for pun-iness that makes us laugh/groan to this missive sent from a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

“Panel to Eye Contact Lens Sale,” the release is headlined.

To those who say puns are the lowest form of humor, we say, lighten up.


 Frist and wife heart Romanian ambassador

Who knew? He’s huge in Romanian circles. At Romanian Ambassador Sorin Ducaru’s farewell fete last Wednesday, none other than Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and his wife Karyn became the life of the party. 

Frist clearly did not want to steal the ambassador’s thunder, but after a heartfelt speech wishing Ducaru well, he was  surrounded by guests who wanted to shake his hand.

The Frists did not appear to be new to the Romanian Embassy circle. Mrs. Frist remarked that Romania has had some wonderful ambassadors. She was referring to Mircea Geoana, Ducaru’s photogenic predecessor, and of course Ducaru himself, who was pivotal in promoting Romania during its ascension to NATO two years ago.