We had a number of reports Friday that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) was wandering the halls of Senate office buildings in his jammies.
Two staffers said they saw the Senator wearing “tartan” or “buffalo plaid” pajama bottoms and a “loose-fitting shirt.” By the end of the day, one informant called to say she heard Domenici was walking around in his boxers. But by that point, we already had spoken to the Senator, who assured us, “These aren’t pajamas! They’re hunting pants!”
“What are people talking about ‘walking the halls’? I work!’” the 74-year-old Domenici said, sounding a tad indignant that folks would assume his lightweight wool plaid pants were pajamas. “These pants have two pockets like any else.”
He explained he wears the hunting pants around the house and if he leaves to go to the office, “I don’t necessarily take them off.”
They’re comfy, and they’re fun, he said. “People stop me to talk about them. They’re Christmasy, they’re black and white.”
As for the loose-fitting shirt that our sources saw him wearing — that was a University of New Mexico golf shirt, you numb skulls!
A source close to Domenici who went up to check out the scene for himself confirmed that Domenici was not wearing PJs. “This is not a dedicated follower of fashion,” the source explained. “He’s more substance than style.”
Indeed, Domenici told HOH he was in his office reading up on the budget in anticipation of passing a continuing resolution next week when Senators return to wrap up this session of Congress.
“I love being a Senator. Thirty-four years is a pretty long time. I’m still going to run again, and win again,” Domenici, who’s up in 2008, vowed.
Party On. Everybody knows how Democratic bigwig Terry McAuliffe just loves a good party, especially one involving his good friends the Clintons, who are throwing separate shindiggs to celebrate the former Democratic National Committee chairman’s soon-to-be-published book “What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals.”
For her part, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is planning to host a huge bash for McAuliffe in February at the newly re-opened Park Hyatt at 24th and M streets Northwest. She even wrote a blurb for McAuliffe’s book, which is due in book stores on Jan. 23.
“I’ve often said Terry’s energy could light up a city, and readers of this book will know why. Terry’s excitement for politics — and life — is evident on every page,” Clinton wrote, according to an advance copy of her blurb obtained by HOH.
The other Clinton (the former president) is planning to throw a party for close friend “Mac” on Jan. 22 in Manhattan at an as-yet-to-be-disclosed location. “It will be somewhere in New York City,” a source said.
The parties will coincide with a six-week book tour through 40 cities.
Investigations Are Us. With Hurricane Subpoena bearing down on Capitol Hill, veteran GOP spin masters Mark Corallo and Barbara Comstock are hitching their wagons to help Republicans fight the storm and — well, sure — rake in some dough.
Corallo and Comstock are forming the crisis management firm Corallo Comstock, Inc. They aim to open shop on Jan. 1, just before the new Democratic chairmen will start banging their gavels and demanding information from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Just in time for subpoena season,” Corallo told HOH.
Besides handling press for various Bush administration officials and policies that have come under fire (Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, the USA PATRIOT Act and the war on terror), Corallo and Comstock are masters of Congressional investigations. They go back to the days of the House Government Reform Committee under then-Chairman Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who investigated everything under the sun as it related to the Clinton administration.
Together, they’ll be doing crisis management, communications strategy, strategic consulting, government relations and basically helping GOP folk who are up a creek without a paddle. (Though Comstock expects to continue in her more innocuous roles, such as consultant to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2008 GOP presidential campaign.)
Comstock, 47, currently a partner at Blank Rome Government Relations, and Corallo, 40, who has his own communications firm, both served as spokespeople for former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Post-administration, Comstock has done strategic PR for then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who was indicted in Texas, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), who’s at the center of an earmarking scandal, and Libby, who got indicted in the CIA leak investigation.
Corallo has represented, among others, Rove, Tom Perkins in the Hewlett-Packard scandal, and eBay in the MercExchange’s suit against the company.
A Lott of Singing. If you’ve been yearning for the glory days of the harmonizing tunes of Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott’s GOP barbershop quartet “The Singing Senators,” we’ve found the next best thing to satiate your nostalgia — in the form of Lott’s son, lobbyist Chet Lott.
With the chiseled features of a country singer and a hint of the laid-back drawl of a native Mississippian, Lott fits the bill in his new CD, “Erased It,” which features original blues songs and twists on such classics as “Tupelo Honey” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” He even does a reggae-inspired rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” (You know, like Singing Senators band member John Ashcroft’s reggae rendition of “Let the Eagle Soar.”)
The Lotts are a singing family. Father and son, future Senator and future lobbyist, would harmonize at birthday parties, at church or around the house, belting out tunes like “Amazing Grace” on a whim. As a teenager, the younger Lott strayed from church music and did “the garage band thing,” though he said that Daddy, shockingly, never “rocked out” with him.
Lott was compelled to make “Erased It” after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his family’s home in Pascagoula, Miss. He got together with J.D. Pennington, who co-wrote Alabama’s hit “Take Me Down” and is a member of the country-rock band Exile, and churned out a professional-sounding CD to raise money for the Red Cross.
And what about Dad? Could his comeback as Minority Whip mean a revival of the oh-so-dearly beloved “Singing Senators?”
“I do know that Dad would like to see more harmony in the Senate,” the suave lobbyist managed. This time, he said, the Senator wants a bipartisan group.
Emily Yehle contributed to this report.
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