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Now That’s Drunk!

Yet another outrageous comment from Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), HOH is excited to report. After a news conference in the Capitol ended Thursday and lawmakers and aides were shuffling out the door, a young woman asked Burns, “How ya doing today, Senator?”

Without batting an eye the Senator replied, “I’m ready to go get knee-walking drunk!”

Whoa! Knee-walking drunk sounds pretty drunk. We know Burns is facing a tough re-election and has come under intense scrutiny for his ties to fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But did he really, in fact, go get as drunk as he said he wanted to?

“No he didn’t,” his spokesman, Matt Mackowiak, said, though he did confirm that Burns had said he wanted to.

Instead of getting drunk, Burns went back to his office and joined a conference call on Internet security hosted by Montana State University at Billings, Mackowiak said. Then he met with Kazakhstan’s ambassador to the United States, Kanat Saudabayev.

Burns apparently has kept cordial relations with Kazakh officials since that fateful Congressional delegation trip to Kazakhstan in 2004, in which Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), well, knee-walking drunk, fell off a horse, got trampled on by another, broke a rib, injured a few others, allegedly called the locals Coneheads and Lord knows what else.

Burns’ “knee-walking drunk” comment, Mackowiak said, was a joke. “He has a way of being funny.” He said the boss had had a “very long day” — he’d been awake since 4 a.m., as usual — with a packed schedule of events, running to and fro.

“He basically said, ‘I’m tired.’ But he said it in a funny way. That is who he is.”

Tough Week for Conrad. An HOH informant spotted Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), apparently on his way to work, getting pulled over by a cop on Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast, last Wednesday morning.

Turns out, it was just a “routine traffic stop,” according to Conrad’s spokesman, Sean Neary.

“They wanted to run the Senator’s plates, strange as that sounds,” Neary said. “I guess North Dakota plates are kind of exotic in Washington. ... They ran his plates. They came through clean.”

The blue-light special was just the tip of the iceberg. The next day, during the Senate Budget Committee’s markup, Conrad got into a heated shouting match with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a debate over the tax gap.

Conrad’s microphone was turned off, but aides watching the hearing on closed-circuit TV said the Senator was so mad you could almost hear him. Grassley was wagging his finger in Conrad’s face. And finally, Budget Chairman Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) had to break it up.

Striding Across the Aisle. The chief of staff to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) is leaving to go work for ... a Republican.

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