In the Know


By Betsy Rothstein

Rep. Lacy Clay gets braces off top teeth 

Lawmaker promptly loses retainer

It’s been 10 long months for Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) but, thank God, the braces finally are coming off. The congressman recently had the braces on his top teeth removed; the bottom ones will be free next month.

Now Clay has something else to contend with — a retainer. Unfortunately, Clay lost his last week: He believes he left it in the House gym.

“So now I’m so worried,” he said. “These retainers are going to be trouble.”

Clay was inspired to get braces by his 12-year-old daughter. She has also had retainer trouble. Hers broke over the holidays when her 6-year-old brother “popped her in the mouth.” 

But all is not lost. If Clay has his way with a House resolution, February will be declared “Orthodontist Month.” Of course, his congressional powers only go so far. He has not located his missing retainer, and if anyone does find it in the gym, ITK advises to please return it to Cannon 434.

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Sen. Rockefeller gives Durbin tight squeeze

Asian tourists return the favor

Who knew Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (D-W.Va.) was so affectionate? 

The very tall senator last week strolled past Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill MORE (D-Ill.), who was speaking with a reporter at the Capitol, and wrapped his arms tightly around his much shorter colleague.

Durbin looked around in mock fright, rolled his eyes and said, “Mr. Chairman, it’s always a pleasure to see you! Is there a photographer around?” 

Rockefeller later explained that he and Durbin share a similar sense of humor, saying he often “deliberately comes up and disrupts the continuity of anything he’s doing.” Rockefeller also has a rather high opinion of Durbin: “He’s one of the greatest people who ever came along.”

Rockefeller, as it turns out, is quite a friendly man. Just as he was talking about the Durbin bear hug, a gaggle of Asian tourists approached and acted as though they had just run into the Beatles. “Oh! Senator Rockefeller! Senator Rockefeller!” they shouted, crowding and beaming at him. “Happy New Year!”

Rockefeller warmly shook their hands and went on his way.

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SOTU: Behind the scenes

Foxx to Bush: “How about a kiss, Mr. President?”
 
Lawmakers may say bad things about President Bush, yet many are taken in by his star power: Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the action — or a kiss.  

Last week, we watched rank-and-file lawmakers exit the House Chamber after the State of the Union. As Bush made his way down the carpet, quite a few were looking for some love.

Freshman Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBachmann: Muslim immigrants trying to undermine Western civilization Religious leaders pray over Trump in Oval Office 'Real Housewives' producer 'begging' Conway to join cast MORE (R-Minn.) tried her best to get kissy-kissy with the president, as did Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia FoxxAmerica’s workers, job creators need the Save Local Business Act DeVos abandons student loan servicing overhaul House Republican offers bill to reverse controversial labor rule MORE (R-N.C.), who nearly planted a full-mouth smooch on the president. ITK has since learned that Foxx masterminded all the kissing.

While it may have looked like Bachmann started it, Foxx actually did so by asking Bush, “How about a kiss, Mr. President?” Foxx’s spokesman said his boss indeed made the appeal. “It was just a lighthearted request, being polite to the president. No big deal,” that spokesman, Michael Frohlich, said.

Bush obliged, and according to Bachmann’s office, Bachmann was simply next up. “She’s a freshman member of Congress who found herself at the first State of the Union address and she was just very honored to be there,” Bachmann’s spokeswoman, Heidi Frederickson, said. “She was next in line.”

Bush gave some lawmakers more attention than others. Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson-LeeHouse Judiciary Dems want panel to review gun silencer bill Trump could ask Congress for billions in hurricane relief next week Texas rep: Trump needs to declare federal disaster area for Harvey MORE (D-Texas), who generally has an aisle seat to get face time with the president, looked as though she was brushed off. She repeatedly tried to talk with Bush; he repeatedly ignored her smiling advances and instead chatted with others.

Bush did talk with presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who told the president he’d be happy to help with his 12-point, end-the-occupation plan for Iraq. Bush responded, “I know we both love America.”

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Red fox spotted outside Capitol

Seems there’s a creature in our midst, and it’s a red fox. First spotted outside the Senate side of the Capitol on the night of the State of the Union, Washington Times Bureau Chief Charlie Hurt came face to face with the animal when he sauntered outside. Hurt said he wasn’t afraid of the fox, and noted the animal’s cute short legs. “We both kind of looked at each other,” Hurt said, noting the animal’s “adorable, bushy red tail.”

A Capitol policeman, speaking anonymously, verified that the fox lives beyond the trailers, saying he and his colleagues also have seen him. The cop, when asked if the fox would be fired at if encountered again, said the animal would not be shot unless it attacked.

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Senators visit Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) last week visited an ailing Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) in the hospital.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE (R-S.D.), though he once ran against Johnson and lost, has visited him on more than one occasion. Each time, however, he met only with Johnson’s wife, Barbara. “She’s a terrifically strong woman,” Thune said last week. “There’s a lot of pressure.”


Rep. Gutierrez skips State of Union address — as usual

Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis GutierrezHouse Dem: We’ll shut down the government if House doesn’t pass Dream Act Dems rip leaders' deal with Trump for ignoring DACA Rep. Gutiérrez arrested at White House immigration protest MORE (D-Ill.) did not attend last week’s State of the Union address. It was not out of protest. He simply prefers to watch the big speech on TV in the privacy of his apartment.

“There’s no clapping,” he said. “There’s no interruptions. I want to listen. I don’t want distractions.”

Gutierrez said no one should be insulted by his absence — he has attended five during his time in Congress, but didn’t even attend his first with former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Lawmakers, pick up the ball on health care and reform Medicaid The art of the small deal MORE in 1993.

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Burngate: Round Two

Last week ITK revealed that the former Roll Call gossip columnist Mary Ann Akers burned a bunch of her sources on her way to washingtonpost.com by sending out a farewell e-mail without blind-copying them.

Akers didn’t reply to ITK by press time, despite an e-mail and a phone call, but she did manage a response after the item appeared the following day:

“You silly,” Akers wrote to ITK. “That was the PUBLIC list, not the super secret list of my REAL sources! But now that you’ve sent me an email, you’ve finally made the list of my” …

ITK inquired why Akers, an acquaintance of no more than thirty seconds,  did not complete her sentence. This was her reply: “Hi, dear. this is my personal email address. The way to reach me on deadline is to either call ... and ask for me, or e-mail me ... now, why are you being so hostile? I’m sure whatever is ailing you can’t be all that bad. chin up, kid.”

Perez Hilton, a celebrity blogger, weighed in on the matter, saying he would never e-mail all his sources in such a way that their names would be revealed. “No, of course not,” Hilton said by phone Monday. “Never! I would never do that in the first place. There is no reason to e-mail all your sources. If I did, of course you’d BCC everyone. It’s pretty bad.”

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