Biden knows how to pack a room

Sen. Joe Biden (D) said he figured out in his first Senate campaign, as a 29-year-old, how to turn people out for a fundraiser.

Sen. Joe Biden (D) said he figured out in his first Senate campaign, as a 29-year-old, how to turn people out for a fundraiser.

“Find enough beautiful women and enough guys will show up,” he quipped.

He quickly added, “The Hill newspaper is here, and they’ll think that’s a sexist remark.”

No we won’t, senator. It’s just human nature.

Biden was speaking Thursday night to a near-overflow crowd of 200-plus — the vast majority of whom were under 30 — crammed into the hip, industrial new Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Penn Quarter.

Through his new Unite Our States PAC, Delaware’s senior senator appears to be reaching out to the Gen X and Gen Y crowds as an early strategy in his nascent presidential campaign. Biden was the first Democrat to announce for 2008.

Trucking in cases of Delaware’s own Dogfish Head beer, the PAC asked for only $100 a head — a bargain in the world of Washington fundraisers.

“Two years ago, he never would have done this,” a longtime Biden adviser said. “He would have gotten on the train and gone home to Wilmington.”

Biden seemed to agree. Giving the crowd a sense of what may well become his stump speech, he said that only 15 months ago he thought bipartisan efforts in the Senate would be enough to heal the rift in the country.

But he admitted it is unlikely that the Democrats can take the Congress back this cycle; therefore, the only way to unite the country and reestablish U.S. leadership in the world is to elect a Democratic president.

“I’d rather have you all raise $20,000 than the way I would raise four hundred to five hundred thousand dollars,” he said. “It’s more consequential.”


Indictment a boon to Libby’s 1996 novel

At least there’s one silver lining for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, now that he’s been indicted and resigned his post as Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff: His 1996 novel is getting some attention.

Libby’s book, The Apprentice: A Novel, written under “Lewis Libby,” has shot up the Amazon.com rankings since he was indicted. The hardcover version has soared as high as No. 464 from 80,852. The paperback has moved from No. 5,717 on Thursday to No. 335 yesterday.

The book is out of print, so it’s available only from other users in the Amazon Marketplace. As of yesterday, it could be had for as little as $2.95 hardcover or $1.99 paperback.

So what’s it about? Here’s the synopsis: “Setsuo is a young apprentice at a remote mountain inn in turn-of-the-century Japan, who falls in love at first sight of the beautiful Yukiko, one of a roving band of actors who have come to stay. Trapped at the inn by a blizzard is a larger group of strange travelers. Emotionally wrought by his feelings for Yukiko, Setsuo cannot see that he is getting involved in political skullduggery as he tries to fathom the increasingly odd behavior of the guests. The finding of a corpse and a mysterious small box keep the reader guessing too.”


Watch for flu, Byrd says from experience

Anyone in the Senate remember the Spanish flu of 1917-18? asked Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) rhetorically last week as the chamber debated the labor-HHS spending bill.

Of course no one did, including the senior member himself. But it certainly left an impact on his life. Only a year old at the time and living in North Carolina, he lost his mother to the disease and fell ill with it himself.

Before she died, his mother said to his father: “Give the baby to the Byrds.”

“One of my father’s sisters had married a Byrd, Titus Dalton Byrd,” the senator explained.

The Byrds, who lived in West Virginia, were childless at the time.

“Yes, that is why I am here today,” Byrd said. “They took me in, changed my name [from Sale], and brought me to West Virginia, away from North Carolina. And here I am.”


Rep. Harman is a marathon woman

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) was among the throng of thousands who completed the 30th Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, her first 26.2-mile test.

She completed the race in five hours and 23 minutes.

A statement from Harman’s office said she spent the past few months training for the race, often logging miles before arriving at work in the morning.

Harman turned 60 this past June. “When I celebrated a big birthday this year, I decided to tackle this race,” she said. “It’s both a test of physical strength and mental endurance.”

“But my run was also to celebrate the men and women serving our armed forces in Iraq and other parts of the world, and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The white gravestones at Arlington Cemetery were the visuals in the last mile of the race. Those buried there were on my mind.”

Harman isn’t sure whether she’ll run next year’s marathon, but she plans to continue to run. “It keeps you young,” she said. “I’m going to take it one race at a time.”


Louisiana pols assembling po’ boys today

Louisiana pols Rep. Charlie Melancon (D), former Sen. John Breaux (D) and congressmen-turned-power-lobbyists Bob Livingston (R) and Lindy Boggs (D) will be getting their hands dirty in the kitchen today as they help to assemble hundreds of po’ boy sandwiches for Acadiana restaurant’s second “Po’ Boy Power” fundraiser.

Flush with the success of the first event, on Sept. 12, which raised $27,000 for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, the new Louisiana restaurant on New York Avenue is bringing in approximately 20 female chefs to sling roast-beef and shrimp-remoulade sandwiches along with the pols for the All Saints’ Day event.

Proceeds from the event will be directed to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre Program to benefit farmers and the Louisiana Economic Culture Foundation, recently established by Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu (D).

In fact Landrieu, the brother of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will be on hand with his staff tomorrow to sample the wares.

The sandwiches will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a donation of at least $25.


Even Shoeless Joe basks in Sox victory

If you pass it by voice vote, he will come.

Or at least he may have his good name restored. Last week, with the good feelings surrounding the Chicago White Sox’ World Series win still fresh in the air, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) passed a resolution recognizing perhaps the most storied member of the franchise, South Carolina’s own “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

“The White Sox have won the World Series for the first time in 88 years, and I can think of no better time for us to honor one of the team’s greatest players,” DeMint said in a statement.

Jackson was one of the eight Sox banned from baseball for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series, despite putting up enviable stats in the series and being acquitted in a criminal court. DeMint says he believes Jackson was innocent, and the resolution calls for him to be “appropriately honored” by the game.

Jackson figures prominently in the film “Field of Dreams,” which takes place largely in an Iowa cornfield. Fitting, then, that the resolution’s co-sponsor is Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) even got in on the act. “The ghost of ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson can finally rest in peace,” he said from the Senate floor, as he and a giddy South Sider, Sen. Barack Obama (D), introduced a resolution honoring the Sox.

Carrying a 1959-style Sox cap with him, marking the last time the team made the Series, Obama said, “I know those of you who had to listen to Red Sox fans last year may have gotten a little weary of those of us who have all this pent-up energy when we finally win the championship.”

Maybe the Cubs are next.