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Heard on the Hill: Grilling With Gohmert

It seems that Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert is still holding his famous bipartisan cookouts on his office balcony. But unlike in years past, he doesn’t really want to draw attention to it.

Is it perhaps because the barbecue was supposed to be shut down in 2010? Or is it because it is a place where Republicans and Democrats can gather together safely?

“Rep. Gohmert’s rib barbecue is put on strictly to build camaraderie among his colleagues,” Gohmert Communications Director Kimberly Willingham tells HOH. “So he generally does not grant interviews about it — because he does not want to detract from this chief purpose.” And that’s to create a haven for Members of both parties to gather and not be judged?

That is correct, Willingham tells us.

“It is about bringing Members together,” she says. “It is not about the Congressman.”

Huh. Well, OK, but we couldn’t help but notice that Gohmert did grant interviews about his bipartisan grilling sessions a couple of years ago because it’s posted on the Congressman’s official Web page.

The clip is a 2009 Fox News story in which several Democratic lawmakers, including Reps. Mel Watt (N.C.), George Miller (Calif.), Ron Kind (Wis.), Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Steve Cohen (Tenn.) and William Lacy Clay (Mo.), rave about Gohmert’s ribs. The story also claims that Gohmert’s rib rub recipe is the same used by the old master of the Senate himself: towering Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson, the former Senate Majority Leader and president of the U.S.A.

LBJ’s Texas roots apparently run deep at the Gohmert grill, even if he did happen to be a Democrat.

Calls to the Architect of the Capitol about barbecue policy were not returned, though everyone loves good ’cue, so we can’t imagine there are rules against it.

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