Dems’ anger may be lifting

Has Washington Post columnist David Broder made it out of Senate Democrats’ doghouse?

The scribe has had rather a rocky relationship with them since his scathing April column of Majority Leader Harry Reid, in which he compared the Nevada Democrat to since-departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. If that weren’t offensive enough for congressional Democrats, Broder went on to dub Reid a “continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance.”

In response, the Senate Democratic Caucus sent out a strongly worded letter defending Reid, hailing him as an “extraordinary leader.”

But all signs pointed to a new dawn for Broder in the eyes of Congress’s most powerful member and his supporters at a Sept. 27 press briefing, when Reid invoked Broder’s name to make a point about Republican opposition to the children’s health insurance bill that just passed Congress.

“As David Broder wrote about today,” Reid said, “they could be walking right off the cliff” by opposing the bill.

Broder, who contained himself when we called him to ask how he felt about the new warmth emanating from Reid, said, “I’m going to pass on this one.”

 


A walk down memory lane reveals Rep. Steny Hoyer’s admiration for a now-famous intern

 

When former Sen. Daniel Brewster (D-Md.) hired a new intern for the front desk, then-legislative aide Steny Hoyer said he had no inkling of the illustrious future that awaited the two of them.

Hoyer (D-Md.) did seem to know one thing when he saw Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the first time: She was pretty.

“With Nancy Pelosi sitting at the reception desk, a beautiful young woman then some 23 years of age, and the older Steny Hoyer perhaps floating around the office doing, as the senator said, almost anything that needed to be done — who would have predicted as they walked through that door that that young, beautiful woman sitting at that desk, receptionist desk, was going to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives and that young man over there is going to be the majority leader of the House of Representatives?” Hoyer said during a press conference on congressional spending on Sept. 28.

Brewster, who served in the Senate for six years, died in August at 83 years of age.

 


FAA admin. faces tough crowd

 

Take heart, America’s airline travelers — you are very, very well represented in Congress.

One would be hard-pressed to find anyone among the 535 members — all very frequent fliers — who hasn’t experienced horrific delays, lost or damaged luggage or worse.

That’s why on Sept. 28, the winner of our “person we would least like to be” award went to Robert Sturgell, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Sturgell found himself testifying in a hearing on airline delays that day, and at least one member of Congress had a little frustration saved up for the event.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), whose flights home are a mere one and a half hours in length, sat quietly and waited for Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) to complete his remarks — but it was clear from his first sentence that he had been looking forward to this opportunity.

“Mr. Hayes, you may think you just vented. Watch this,” Capuano began, going on to tell Sturgell that he is “an embarrassment.”

And if Sturgell wasn’t feeling fully flogged by his congressional audience, Capuano suggested that he might just unloose the public on him.

“If you think that America’s not angry, travel with me. I would love to have you sitting next to [me on the plane], so when people come up to me and say, ‘Congressman, why aren’t you doing anything?’ I can say, ‘Hey, he’s the guy. Talk to him,’ ” Capuano said.


Rep. Hunter makes use of child labor

We aren’t sure whether Rep. Duncan Hunter’s grandson is going to be class president or bully bait — it could go either way.

Hunter (R-Calif.) recounted in the Sept. 27 GOP presidential debate that the child, who is also named Duncan and called “D-3” by his family, has picked up some questionable habits from his grandfather.

“He walked up to his first-grade teacher about a month ago, stuck his hand out, and said, ‘My name is Duncan Hunter … My grampa’s going to be president,’” the senior Hunter said. “And then this little 6-year-old looked his teacher right in the eye, and he said, ‘Now, can I count on your vote?’ ”

 


‘Not gay’ Craig still against expanding hate-crimes

 

Bloggers and other commentators were quick to seize upon Sen. Larry Craig’s (R-Idaho) opposition to a defense authorization bill amendment that would expand federal hate-crime laws to cover attacks on homosexuals — because, of course, he is “not gay and never [has] been,” as he told us all on Sept. 1.

A look at Craig’s voting record reveals that he has been consistent in his votes on similar bills since he came to the Senate in 1992.

In 1993, he voted to enhance the penalties for hate crimes, and he voted to boost funding for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes in 2000. But his support for such bills ends with any legislation designed to expand the definition of hate crimes to include homosexuals — he opposed such efforts in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Most of Craig’s colleagues did support the measure last week, successfully placing it on a path to President Bush’s desk.

Manu Raju contributed to this page.

 

 

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