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Heard on the Hill: Jackson Lee Wants Face Time

Senate Spouse Sighting. Senate wife Cindy McCain made a rare appearance on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, stopping by the Russell Senate Office Building rotunda to help promote an exhibit featuring photos of her recent humanitarian trip to Africa.

McCain lives full time in Arizona — although she joked that she spends “most of my time keeping up with my kids” — but she came to Washington to promote the exhibit, titled “Women Who Go Beyond: Success Stories from Africa.”

McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), visited the nations of Ghana and Sierra Leone with the ONE Campaign in January to study ways small investments in women have helped transform African communities. She told HOH that “women and children are basically throwaway items in Africa,” and if more isn’t done to help them, “we’re going to lose a generation of women.”

But a small investment to give one woman an education, for example, can transform lives. “If you educate a woman, you educate a village,” McCain said.

Also on hand were “Friday Night Lights” actress Connie Britton and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), whose chief of staff, Maura Keefe, visited Africa.

On a Mission. Fresh off a trip to Haiti (and a brief stop in Los Angeles for the Academy Awards), actor Sean Penn swung by Capitol Hill on Wednesday and spent time with a longtime pal, Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

The Ohio Democrat gave Penn, his teenage daughter Dylan and humanitarian activist David Peretz a tour of the Capitol, a Kucinich spokesman tells HOH.

The Jogging Caucus. New running buddy alert! An HOH tipster spotted Sen. John Thune out jogging along the National Mall on Wednesday morning — and it seems the famously fit South Dakota Republican has a new workout partner: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who our tipster said was keeping pace just fine with his colleague.

The shorts-and-T-shirt-clad Senators might be on a two-man mission to disprove the old adage that Congress moves at a glacial pace.

Librarians Gone Wild. Librarians always seem to be shushing people, but on Tuesday night, Librarian of Congress James Billington caused a stir by bursting into song.

The usually low-key librarian became the star of the evening during a concert and reception at the Library of Congress celebrating country music. Late in the evening, Billington was invited to the stage, where singer John Rich intended to serenade him with “There Stands the Glass,” one of Billington’s favorite tunes from his Army days.

But the octogenarian librarian (try saying that 10 times fast) surprised everyone by performing the ditty himself, a capella. He was rewarded with a “standing ovation by the charmed audience,” a witness says.

Also in attendance were musician-Members Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Hatch, an accomplished songwriter, brought two of his grandchildren — and scored a shout-out from Rich for his support for intellectual property rights.

Double Take. C-SPAN viewers might have gotten a feeling of déjà vu on Wednesday when Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) appeared to be doing his best impersonation of his father, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

The usually mild-mannered younger Kennedy’s fevered rant about Afghanistan and the lack of media attention bore all the hallmarks of his father’s impassioned floor speeches: waving arms, raised voice and heated words.

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