Seasonally inspired Senators traded partisanship for goodwill last night during the chamber’s inaugural Secret Santa exchange. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) convinced 60-plus lawmakers to join him in the holiday gift swap, which turned out to have an artificial cap of $10 per present.
Among the booty:
• Wyoming Republican John Barrasso scored a $20 gift certificate for Barnes & Noble. “There’s a $10 limit — I got a $20 gift certificate,” Barrasso marveled.
“What about reining in our budgetary spending?” our HOH spy inquired. “Well, remember who gave it to me ...” Barrasso said, suggesting it was a Democrat.
• New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen netted a Michael Smith CD (Tennessee musician) from Tennessee Republican Bob Corker.
• Alabama Republican Richard Shelby received maple syrup from Spring Harvest Maple Farm from Shaheen.
• North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad walked off with a “Texas Border Patrol” trucker cap courtesy of Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. The new lid was part of an ongoing joke between Conrad and the one-time Texas gubernatorial hopeful (he’d volunteered to help her with tighter border security if she had won that race; Hutchison’s gift came with a note stating, “Keeping my promises”).
• West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin was bequeathed a six-pack of craft beer and a sock filled with actual lumps of coal from Colorado Democrat Mark Udall.
• Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns can spice up his life with the bottle of Anchor Bar buffalo wing sauce shared by New York Democrat Charles Schumer.
• West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller immediately indulged in the gourmet chocolates furnished by Indiana Republican Dick Lugar. “I started four days ago a 25-pound, crash Marine diet. Richard Lugar has given me 50,000 calories of all of my favorite chocolate,” Rockefeller said of the untimely temptation.
• Schumer was the beneficiary of hand-carved donkey and elephant figurines from Manchin.
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.