By Jeff Dufour - 03/01/06 12:00 AM EST
After Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s address before a joint session of Congress yesterday, about 200 of his paisans from Congress, the diplomatic corps and local business feted him outside the Senate Foreign Relations Committee room.
The enthusiastic members — some of Italian descent, some less so — included Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), the co-chairman of the Italian-American Congressional Caucus.
Leahy, who got some face time with Berlusconi off the House floor, said it was a good speech but confessed to a bias because his mother’s side of his family is Italian. And he pointed out the pin on his lapel, marking him as a Grand Official of the Republic of Italy — the only one in Congress, he said.
He also brought along his chief of staff, Ed Pagano, whose last name leaves no doubt as to its provenance.
After sipping Chianti and munching on bruschetta in the Hugh Scott Room (what, no linguine in clam sauce?), well wishers, including U.S. News’s Michael Barone and Caf