Minutes before the House cast a vote on the trillion-dollar package to fund, among other things, its own operations, Speaker John A. Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hammed it up for the chamber’s new chief administrative officer.
At a small reception in the ornate Rayburn Room, the Ohio Republican and California Democrat congratulated Ed Cassidy on his appointment and ribbed him about the transition from behind-the-scenes director of House Operations to the more public role of CAO.
“You’ll have to forgive me, I may not be very eloquent today, because it's usually Ed telling me what to say at these things,” Boehner joked. “Like I always say, you only tease the ones you love ... and the one who signs your paycheck.”
Chuckles erupted from the room full of members, staffers and high-ranking officials, including House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine and Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks.
“I think Ed ... signs ours,” Pelosi chimed in.
Both praised the Boehnerland insider, who started his career as a House intern in 1977, for his institutional knowledge and love of the Capitol that he will now oversee. “You know the wiring in this building may have his DNA in it,” Boehner added, before attendees set down their glasses of soda or wine to applaud.
When it was Cassidy’s turn to take the microphone, he launched into a list of thanks including shoutouts to his wife, three daughters and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., whom he served as a chief of staff for 12 years.
Cassidy also promised to do his best not to do “a full Boehner here,” pulling a white handkerchief out of his pocket in reference to the speaker’s tendency to break into tears.
The laughter raised to a roar as Boehner drew out his own white handkerchief and theatrically dabbed his eyes.
Once the volume died down, the CAO quickly regained his composure, assuring his boss: “You only kid the ones you love, Mr. Speaker.”