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Heard on the Hill: Pearls Before Swine

In front of a mixed crowd of buttoned-up Washington journos and enthusiastic Paulistas, Paul called the presidential contest between Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) “a charade,” adding that he even turned down a request from McCain’s camp to endorse the Arizona Republican.

“I don’t like the idea of getting 2 or 3 million people mad at me,” he said.

Not everybody was seated around the fringe-candidate campfire, however. Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr backed out of the event at the last minute, creating a bit of a huff among the gathered Paul supporters.

But Barr spokesman Andrew Davis tells HOH that the decision wasn’t meant as a snub, and he said his boss is still on board with the overall united-front effort. The former Republican Congressman from Georgia merely was prepping for his own press conference, held down the hall just minutes later, where Barr announced he has asked Paul to be his running mate.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Paul had not responded to Barr’s offer.

Tying the Knot. Sorry, ladies, one of the House’s few bachelors is off the market.

Rep. Artur Davis is engaged to Tara Johnson, the Alabama Democrat’s office confirms. A resident of Montgomery, Ala., Johnson oversees outreach efforts for the Alabama Forestry Commission and previously worked as the state coordinator of the Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers.

The pair met in late 2006 and plan to marry in January.

It’s the first marriage for the 40-year-old Congressman, who turned heads during a 2007 Appropriations subcommittee hearing when he (seemingly jokingly) hit on actress Kerry Washington by “personally” welcoming her to Washington as “a single member” of the House. When Washington testified again before Congress earlier this year, she opened her remarks with a joke about how she got a date out of her previous visit (although, as we’re sure Johnson is glad to hear, the date never actually happened).

Sans Stones, Hodes is Rolling. If we were as good a musician as Rep. Paul Hodes, we’d write a get-well ditty for the New Hampshire Democrat (and half of folk duo Peggo & Paul), who missed work in Washington to recover from a kidney-stone operation. According to a statement from his office, Hodes was taken to the emergency room at Concord Regional Hospital on Monday and had kidney stones surgically removed in a routine procedure on Tuesday. “He will be flying to Washington as soon as possible to vote on the comprehensive energy package that is expected to come up on the House floor later this week,” the statement says.

HOH sends its best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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