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Heard on the Hill: Not Exactly Good Sports

Looks like Rep. John Campbell won’t be rooting for Maryland in the NCAA tournament.

The California Republican spent much of his Wednesday trying to defeat a resolution introduced by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) congratulating the university’s men’s basketball team for “an outstanding season.” And Campbell’s fight against Hoyer’s measure (which passed, barely) was personal.

Astute HOH readers will recall that in late 2009, Campbell’s bill saluting the University of California at Irvine’s men’s volleyball team for winning the national title was pulled from the floor after Campbell got into a legislative fight over a water bill introduced by Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.).

So when Hoyer’s sports measure hit the floor, Campbell again seized the opportunity to point out his Irvine resolution remains stalled — and talk a little trash about Maryland basketball.

“A national championship-winning team from a Republican gets pulled [and Hoyer] then puts up a team that doesn’t even win its conference, who lost in the first round of its conference tournament and has the lowest graduation rate of all 64 teams in the playoffs? And that gets a resolution?” Campbell told a Roll Call reporter. “I mean, come on.”

Burn!

Campbell said he spoke to Hoyer on Tuesday night, but the pair couldn’t reach an agreement. Campbell added that if he had time to properly whip the bill, he could have stopped it.

“You know, a lot of people think we shouldn’t be doing these resolutions anyway,” Campbell said. “Are we going to do them for any team that makes the playoffs? Oh my God. Men’s and women’s sports? We’ll be doing thousands.”

A Hoyer spokeswoman said Campbell’s opposition shows that “Republicans are staying true to their ‘party of no’ doctrine.”

“Whether it’s health care, job creation or basketball, Republicans aren’t for anything,” the spokeswoman said.

Race to the Finish. Forget college basketball — in Alaska, the biggest sporting event of the year is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. And when winner Lance Mackey and his team of hardworking canines crossed the finish line at 6:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday (2:59 p.m. Alaska time), the Last Frontier’s Senators raced to congratulate him.

Just moments after Mackey’s win, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) sent an e-mail saluting the musher, which landed in an HOH spy’s inbox at 7:01 p.m. Sen. Mark Begich (D) wasn’t far behind, as his similarly themed e-mail hit our spy’s inbox at 7:03 p.m.

Even so, HOH guesses Mackey had the harder race — 1,150 miles in nine days.

Ethics Go Braugh. Ah, the trappings of St. Patrick’s Day: green beer, shamrocks and, if you’re in Washington, an ethics guide to buying drinks for Congressional staffers.

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