After weeks of being a publicity magnet with a pack of photographers permanently attached to his hip, Sen. Roland Burris is attempting to fly way under the radar. But his efforts to go incognito only seem to be garnering the scandal-battered Illinois Democrat even more attention.
Hill-watchers have noticed that Burris, weeks into his new job, has strangely little to say at many hearings that he attends: At an Armed Services Committee meeting last week on acquisition reform, Burris had no questions for the witnesses (even though Chicago-based Boeing Co. is keenly interested in the topic). Mr. Chairman. I would rather listen than to talk, he said. I yield my time.
Lips-sealed performances aside, others have noticed the newest Senator sometimes seems a tad confused. At a subcommittee hearing last week on the census, Burris used his opening statement to talk about an unrelated topic the stimulus package. The incongruity left some in the audience scratching their heads, although Burris did eventually ask census-related questions.
His befuddled performance was little improvement from a month ago, when he sat on the GOP side of the dais at an Armed Services meeting, oblivious to the fact that he was sitting to the right of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
He seems lost, but its because he just doesnt have anyone helping him out, one Senate staffer said, noting few Senators want to befriend their controversial colleague.
Burris spokesman Jim OConnor would only say that his boss is just keeping his nose to the grindstone. Hes busy at work voting and meeting with constituents, he said.
Cobles a Double Threat. Rep. Howard Coble isnt getting stage fright even though the North Carolina Republican, who is set to tread the proverbial boards for Arena Stages annual benefit performance on Monday night, hasnt yet seen a script or even knows what part hes going to play in the local-star-studded adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.
Spokesman Ed McDonald said his boss has been there, done that, having taken part in the same fundraiser a few years back and had a good time. And theyll give him the script when he gets there I dont think its that long, he told HOH.
Coble, whos a theater supporter, if not a big stage buff, also has a not-so-secret weapon thats all but guaranteed to charm the audience. Unlike his co-stars, who will include D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), several members of the D.C. City Council and NBC 4 sports anchor Lindsay Czarniak, Cobles got that Southern accent, so hell at least stand out, McDonald said.
Rimes With Psoriasis. Will they just install a red carpet outside the Capitol already? Wednesday marked yet another celeb-packed day on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.