Blackburn: The fairest of them all

The ballots have been tallied, and the results are in: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is the “hottest woman in U.S. politics,” according to a poll by the Politics1.com website.

The ballots have been tallied, and the results are in: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is the “hottest woman in U.S. politics,” according to a poll by the Politics1.com website.

Called a “real upset” by the site’s editors, Blackburn ousted the 2004 winner and “presumed favorite,” Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.), who took second this year.

Blackburn, the second-term congresswoman who turns 54 next Tuesday, took 27.8 percent of the vote to Herseth’s 22.2 percent. Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) finished sixth, with 4.8 percent, and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) came in 10th, with 2.4 percent. Rounding out the 10 choices  were Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and five state legislators, topped by the fetching Gretchen Whitmer, a Democratic state senator from Michigan.

The poll drew an impressive number of respondents — more than 3,300 — and the site eliminated all duplicate responses by the same IP address. Thank you to the more than 3,300 readers who cast ballots in the poll.

Fear not — the site is hardly sexist: It begins its “hottest guy in U.S. politics” survey later this week.

Of course, The Hill will have its own say when we publish our eagerly anticipated list of the 50 most beautiful people on Capitol Hill in late July.


Mary Landrieu, come on down!

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) made an unlikely appearance Monday on “The Price Is Right,” of all places.

The episode, which featured a trip to New Orleans as a prize, was taped July 21, before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. So Landrieu taped a public-service announcement to air before the show to welcome viewers back to New Orleans.

“Nine months later, I’m proud to tell you that Louisiana is on its way back,” she said. “And we want to share with you the food, music and spirit our amazing state is known for. Come on down!”

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) will appear in a second PSA, to be broadcast before the episode that airs June 12.

“New Orleans is a wonderful city that, prior to Katrina, was frequently offered as a destination travel prize on ‘The Price Is Right,’” explained Barbara Bloom, CBS’s senior vice president of daytime programs in a statement. “We had held these episodes from circulation out of consideration for the victims of the hurricane, but with the support of Senators Landrieu and Vitter, we feel that it is time to air them, to remind people of the spirit and vitality that continue in New Orleans.”


Paul Strauss: From senator to D.C. councilmember?

What would make a senator step down and run for D.C. City Council? A regular salary and a vote that counts could provide just the incentive.

Paul Strauss, who has served as D.C.’s “shadow senator” since 1996, has thrown his hat into the ring for the open council seat from Ward 3, which represents upper Northwest Washington.

“Honestly, I see an opportunity to do things at the districtwide level and with my kids’ school and education that I don’t see happening on the national level, especially if I don’t have a vote,” he said Friday.

The shadow senator, who is unpaid, functions more like a lobbyist than an actual senator, working with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and the mayor to advance D.C.’s interests.

“It’s been a significant time commitment, mostly in resisting attempts by members to use the plenary and appropriations powers to impose their own agenda on the District,” Strauss said. He cited efforts in Congress to overturn D.C.’s handgun ban and add a school voucher system and recent attempts by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) to pass a flat tax for District residents.

Strauss was born in New York City but moved to Washington in 1982. He had previously been elected chairman of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E. In addition to serving as shadow senator, he chairs the city’s Board of Real Property Assessments and has a legal practice specializing in tenant law.

He said he has no plans to endorse a candidate for mayor, although he noted he has “good working relationships” with the two front-runners, Linda Cropp and Adrian Fenty.


Tariff bill: From shoes and cheese to padded potty seats

The Senate Finance Committee’s tariff bill continues to provide amusing reading.

Just a week after introducing a wealth of shoe-friendly bills that would make Imelda Marcos proud, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) has turned his attention to toilet training.

Last Thursday, Brownback introduced three measures to suspend the duties on “padded potty seats,” “traveler padded-potty seats” and “contoured padded-infant potty seats.” That oughtta cover it.

Spokesman Brian Hart said the amendments were introduced for the benefit of Mommy’s Helper, a business in Wichita, Kan.

Not to be outdone, several other senators checked in with bills specific to their states’ industries.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has three measures on “ski and snowboard pants.” Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) would like to “remove the 100 percent tariff imposed on Roquefort cheese.”

And all the paisans in Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D) home state of New Jersey should be pleased with his efforts to scrub the tariffs on preserved pepperoncini, preserved giardiniera and preserved artichokes.

And we thought more fishing than golf went on in Montana, but Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would like to get rid of the duties on “certain golf-bag bodies.”


Where’d that photograph  come from?

The campaign of Harry Mitchell, who is running to unseat Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) in Arizona’s 5th District, is crying foul over a mailer that Hayworth recently sent to constituents in Tempe.

Hayworth’s piece told residents of the college town that he “supports local projects to improve transportation in Tempe” and included a photo of cars jammed up on a busy Tempe street.

Or does it? A release sent out by the Mitchell campaign argues that the photo doesn’t appear to depict a Tempe street “or a street anywhere else in Arizona.” It goes on to note that most of the vehicles have California plates, the street is wider than most Arizona roads and signs and markers are “blurred or covered up so recipients of the mailer can’t read them.”

Hayworth’s campaign office referred us to his Capitol office because the mailing was an official one, paid for with taxpayer funds. Hayworth’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment


Voting against Da Coach?

How could Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) vote against the guy who taught his kid to hit the cutoff man?

Just watch him. At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast last week, Davis disclosed that James Webb, the former Navy secretary who’s running to unseat Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), was the assistant coach for his son Carlton’s T-ball team.

Carlton and Webb’s son, James Jr., are friends.

Webb “has a very marketable r