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Heard on the Hill: Something Squirrely This Way Comes

What with the pre-recess crush of legislation, things are kind of nutty over in the House. And word of said nuttiness seems to have spread to the local squirrel population.

A staffer in the office of Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) had a close encounter with one of the brown, furry beasts on Wednesday morning, and the run-in appears to have left both parties a little shaken.

Legislative assistant Erin Katzelnick-Wise tells HOH that she was sitting at her desk, prepping for a hearing, when she heard papers rustling at a nearby vacant desk. The noise grew louder, and she realized she wasn’t alone when she heard the sound of a trash can being knocked over and saw a large squirrel (“It was like he was on steroids!”) jump on the ledge inside the office just below the window.

The squirrel seemed to be stunned by the experience of coming face to face with a human — the creature urinated on the stack of papers on which it landed. Katzelnick-Wise screamed, and the squirrel eventually hopped out of the open window.

But the animal must have enjoyed its time in Eshoo’s office, since it hung out on the exterior windowsill. “He was kind of staring in,” Katzelnick-Wise says.

But not to worry, the Eshoo staff is taking no chances that the four-legged intruder will reprise his visit: From now on, the windows will remain shut, Katzelnick-Wise says.

These Boots Were Made for Voting. Sen. James Inhofe knows what he likes in a shoe — and what he doesn’t like is loafers, thank you very much.

In Wednesday’s column, HOH poked a bit of fun at the Oklahoma Republican after he showed up to a Tuesday morning vote in an outfit we described as a dressed-down royal blue polo shirt, pair of khaki pants and casual loafers. (Inhofe had just returned from a Congressional delegation trip and didn’t have time to change before the vote.)

And while Inhofe didn’t mind us joking about his admittedly casual attire, he did want to make one thing clear: “I have never worn loafers.”

Rather, the proud Oklahoman wears a trusty pair of cowboy boots to work nearly every day, he told us — something he’s done for years, despite the disapproval of some political fashionistas.

After Inhofe switched to the Senate from the House after the 1994 elections, some political types asked Inhofe whether he thought it was time to hang up his boots for a different kind of shoe, since he was joining the uber-exclusive chamber, he recalled.

“And I said, ‘I’ve always worn them. Of course I’m going to wear them,’” he said.

Within a year, several of his Senate colleagues were wearing cowboy boots, Inhofe said. “I was the trendsetter.”

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