Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) shared a special leadership award on Tuesday night with local real estate developer Joe Horning. Or was it Jim Horning? Or John? Kennedy couldn't seem to decide.

The annual Founders' Award was presented jointly to Kennedy and Horning by the N Street Village women's shelter, whose annual gala at the Mandarin Oriental recognizes leadership in improving the lives of the shelter's more than 900 homeless women.

After accepting a plaque from close friend and former Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.) (at left) Kennedy spoke animatedly of his fellow award recipient. "He's one of the people who has done the most to support the important work of N Street Village," he said, "and I'm so glad to share this award with a guy as outstanding as Jim Horning." 

Murmurs immediately went up in the crowd. "Joe!" someone yelled, "It's Joe!" Realizing what he'd done, Kennedy paused. "Wow, apologies," he said before continuing.

Fast forward two minutes, and Kennedy was still at the podium, speaking eloquently about how homelessness can strike anyone. The need for broad-spectrum support for the homeless is crucial, he said. "This is something that I know my fellow honoree, John Horning, also believes in."

Doh! More murmurs, and a few more calls of "It's Joe!"

Again, Kennedy caught himself and continued smoothly. But it wasn't until the last sentence of his speech that the lawmaker finally wised up. "Thanks to all of you," he said in closing, "and especially to a very understanding Joe Horning."

Despite the gaffe, Kennedy kept the rapt attention of the more than 300 guests during his remarks, which touched on his own struggles with addiction and mental health issues.

The biggest laugh of the night came when Kennedy joked that Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who was in the audience, would no longer take his phone calls after Kennedy retires from Congress this year. "I mean, I'll be a nobody then," Kennedy joked, shrugging his shoulders. "But, oh man, I really hope Jim still takes my calls."
Laughing, Moran shot back, "Don't call me, Kennedy!"