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Heard on the Hill: He's Baaaack

Actor Wilmer Valderrama came to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, just more than four months after his last appearance in the halls of Congress — and this time, he remembered to wear the proper color socks.

Valderrama appeared with Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and several other Members at a press conference to officially launch Voto Latino’s campaign urging Hispanics to participate in the 2010 U.S. Census. Valderrama last came to Capitol Hill in the fall, also touting his work with the nonprofit group — and during that visit, Becerra poked fun at the actor for wearing white socks with his dark suit.

“I forgot the white socks this time,” Valderrama joked Wednesday, noting that he and the Congressman share a joke that the fashion faux pas is the actor’s tribute to the late singer Michael Jackson. “I think it’s a good look — they obviously disagree.”

Valderrama joined Becerra and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Mike Honda (D-Calif.) to introduce Voto Latino’s new census-themed public service announcements. And since Valderrama has become such a familiar face on Capitol Hill, HOH wondered whether he might make a run for Congress himself.

“I don’t know, man,” Valderrama told HOH, laughing. “I don’t know if I’ll be running for office, but I definitely want to be part of the big picture. You’ll see me a lot more around here.”

Vegas, Baby. President Barack Obama and Las Vegas: Let’s call them the new Brangelina (Las Obamas? Vebama?). They’re on, they’re off; they’re making up, they’re in a tiff.

“We’re on an emotional roller coaster with this man,” says David Cherry, spokesman for Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.).

Obama ticked off lawmakers from Sin City on Tuesday by warning that people shouldn’t go “blow a bunch of cash in Vegas” when they’re trying to save for college. That remark came almost a year to the day from when he first angered Nevadans by telling bailout recipients not to take the bucks to Vegas — an insult that sent the president into damage-control mode and precipitated a trip to Vegas last May, in which he gave the city props.

And although Obama backtracked on his most recent Vegas-bashing, he’ll have a chance to do more: He’s scheduled to take a trip to the maligned city later this month.

Cherry said Berkley’s staff has been joking about ways the president could atone for the insult. “Maybe he could do a David Blaine-type stunt where he does the people’s business for a few days while suspended above the Strip,” he suggested.

Here’s the timeline:

• 2007 and 2008 — During the campaign, Obama visits Las Vegas frequently, to the delight of Democratic lawmakers.

• Feb. 10, 2009 — Obama’s first snub, in which he urges Wall Street types not to spend those taxpayer dollars in Vegas.

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