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It was all about the “Schock value” for lawmakers yucking it up at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s Congressional Dinner.

News of Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) giving his Rayburn House Office Building work digs a “Downton Abbey”-esque makeover — complete with interior decorator-styled red walls, chandeliers and feather arrangements — dominated the annual fete Wednesday at Washington’s Mandarin Oriental.

{mosads}Even fellow Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) couldn’t resist making mention of the much-buzzed-about story, first reported in The Washington Post. “You’re all ready to go to Aaron Schock’s office,” he told the black-tie-wearing audience as he took to the podium, “This is great!”

MSNBC host Alex Wagner, the emcee at the fundraising dinner, honed in on the Schock office saga from the get-go: “Most of you know the news this week that Aaron Schock decorated his office in the style of ‘Downton Abbey.’ What I did not realize is that this is apparently a ‘thing’ on Capitol Hill,” she told the crowd.

“[Rep.] Darrell Issa, his office takes inspiration from ‘True Detective,’ ” Wagner said of the California Republican. “[Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.)] office is inspired by ‘Game of Thrones.’ ” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Wager said, “is a diehard fan of ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ ” Wagner then said the perpetually tan Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) “of course has taken inspiration [on] décor from ‘Orange is the New Black.’ ”

But Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) appeared to defend Schock’s new office color scheme, saying, “It should be clear that the Ethics Committee said that members of Congress can paint their walls any damn color that they want to paint them, and it’s not violating any kind of rule.”

While he has attended the Congressional Dinner in the past, ITK did not eye Schock at Wednesday’s soiree. But that didn’t keep the crowd from buzzing about the 33-year-old congressman. A female companion was overheard asking Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) if she thought Schock was in attendance at the journalist and lawmaker-filled festivities. “I don’t know,” Gabbard was heard replying, “he might be hiding.”

Gardner got seemingly high marks from the crowd for his rapid-fire delivery of one-liners at the event, which traditionally features a pair of lawmakers who deliver humorous remarks. “I recognize I was not the original speaker for the night,” the Senate freshman said with a grin. “I wasn’t the first pick. But you know how [Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)] is — he can be so picky about the groups he talks to,” Gardner quipped to huge laughs from the audience, making light of the House majority Whip’s speech before a white supremacist group in 2002.

Rangel’s remarks appeared to be more off-the-cuff, aside from a short bit in which the veteran congressman received a fictional call (on his flip-phone) from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Telling “Bibi” — who is poised to speak before a joint session of Congress next month — that he had lunch with President Obama earlier in the day, Rangel cracked, “I’m afraid your name never came up.”

Among those spotted at the dinner: Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a selfie-snapping Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Gwen Graham (D-Fla.), “PBS NewsHour’s” Gwen Ifill, journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault (who received the Washington Press Club Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award), NBC’s Luke Russert, Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Angus King (I-Maine), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Tags Aaron Schock Congressional Dinner Washington Press Club Foundation

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