He keeps insisting he has no plans to retire from Congress, but Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) seems to be itching to replace David Letterman on the late-night talk show circuit.
Dingell brought down the house at a private House Democratic Whip meeting on Thursday as he lashed out at the way Republicans are handling conference negotiations over the energy bill.
“Democrats are like mushrooms,” Dingell cracked. “We’re kept in the dark and fed horseshit.”
That followed this gem about the Medicare talks at a previous closed-door meeting: “There is no end to the rascality of these flinty hearted bastards.”
After being contacted by HOH, Dingell spokesman Michael Hacker confirmed the accuracy of the quotes. “He’s expressing the frustration he feels over being appointed to the Medicare and energy conferences but not being included in those discussions,” he said.
Pryce Isn’t Right. House GOP Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (Ohio) proved Friday that where there’s smoke, there’s not necessarily fire.
There was a scare when Pryce’s staff threw a log into the old fireplace of the boss’ Capitol hideaway to start easing into winter. (Does this mean they’re planning for Congress to be in session through December?)
Despite assurances from the superintendent’s office, the chimney flue wasn’t fully opened, so the upstairs office of House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was suddenly hit with a bit of smoke. But order was restored quickly.
“We were working on some rhetoric near the mantel and it was so good it caught fire,” explained Pryce spokesman Greg Crist, adding: “If Democrats don’t agree on an energy package soon, we will need to open all the fireplaces in the Capitol.”
Maybe Dingell can help shake things loose?
A Long, Hard E-Slog. Cathy Hurwit, chief of staff for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), kicked up quite an amusing fight when she circulated an electronic “Dear Colleague” urging Republican Members to support a resolution calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The resolution, pushed by Schakowsky along with Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), charges ol’ Rummy with being “dishonest with the American people in his assessments of the progress of the war and occupation.”
Since the letter was circulated by e-mail to all House offices, Republican staffers ended up having a ball by hitting their “Reply All” buttons and unloading on their Democratic counterparts in a full-scale counterattack that enlivened the Hill on Thursday.
“My boss prefers to support our troops and their mission in Iraq rather than playing political games,” wrote Erica Striebel, an aide to Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.).
“Grow up, people,” shot back Democratic aide Cindy Pellegrini. “Members are entitled to their views — and bills. If you disagree, just delete the Dear Colleague.”
GOP aide Debra Marshall retorted: “We do have the right to disagree vocally too. You all probably wouldn’t mind if we were all writing back how great this is. Chalk it up to the wonders of email.”
Hurwit, meanwhile, told HOH: “There was a lot of rhetoric flying around. But we were merely trying to offer our colleagues on the other side a chance to get on board since they have been expressing concerns about the Defense Department trampling the State Department.”