Fashionistas are abuzz about first lady Michelle Obama’s State of the Union sheath dress — it had sleeves! — but Capitol Hill denizens seemed more interested in freshman Rep. Frederica Wilson’s flashy houndstooth ensemble.
The Florida Democrat donned a red and white houndstooth jacket over a red skirt, paired with tall black boots. She also sported one of her trademark cowboy hats, a red one embellished with sequins, when she wasn’t in the House chamber (per official rules, of course).
Wilson tells HOH she selected the outfit “so I could stand out.”
“I said, ‘Nobody is going to have on red and white houndstooth,’” she says, laughing. “No one.”
Fashion aside, Wilson told HOH she was impressed with President Barack Obama’s speech. The former school principal was particularly moved by his words on education and immigration, she says.
“It was very special,” she said of the address, her first as a Member. “I was taking in every word he said.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) took some time to mix and mingle with fellow Republicans before the State of the Union on Tuesday night. McCarthy hosted a pre-SOTU dinner party in his office for Members and their families. “It’s a great way for Members to spend some time getting to know each other in a more casual setting,” a tipster tells HOH.
Dozens of Republican Members attended the feast, including Reps. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.) and Ted Poe (Texas). We hear several lawmakers brought their spouses, while freshman Rep. Tim Scott (S.C.) even brought along his younger brother.
McCarthy served a buffet of pasta, chicken Parmesan and chicken marsala from the Dupont Circle eatery Buca di Beppo. Those in attendance were even treated to cannolis for dessert.
The State of the Union was special for Rep. Sean Duffy for a few reasons. For one, it was the first SOTU the newly sworn-in Wisconsin Republican attended as a Member.
But the one-time “Real World” cast member says there was another reason the speech was special: He got to bring his dad as his guest.
Duffy’s father — a lifelong Democrat, by the way — sat in the House gallery during the big speech. Dad also hung around with his son for a few days this week, attending receptions and other events, Duffy tells HOH.
Duffy adds he was impressed with the pomp and circumstance of the State of the Union itself. “It was very cool,” he says.
Overheard on the Hill
“@BarackObama just shook Tom’s hand and asked about me. #bringbackthebeard.”
— A tweet posted during the State of the Union from @TomCoburnsBeard, the anonymous Twitter feed that claims to be the voice of the Oklahoma Republican’s facial hair. The Senator recently has sported a clean-shaven look, much to our favorite tweeter’s dismay.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.