Just as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid finished his prepared remarks at a news conference in the Capitol, a reporter's phone sitting on the lectern began to ring.
So, the Nevada Democrat answered it.
"Hello," said Reid to an assuredly stunned caller on the other end of a cell phone Tuesday afternoon, amid laughter from senators, staffers and press assembled there.
The caller didn't immediately hang up as Reid returned the phone to the lectern. It wasn't until after Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., began to speak that the line went dead.
"Sen. Cornyn's number! No, it isn't," joked Durbin with the phone line still appearing to be live, before joining Reid in chastising Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas for telling reporters Monday that President Barack Obama's upcoming Supreme Court nominee would "bear some resemblance to a piñata ."
The No. 3 Democratic leader, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, immediately recognized the phone number as likely belonging to someone from New York City, a point he made clear to the assembled crowd not long after.
"By the way, the phone number was an 862 number. It's one of my hometown papers, the New York Times has 862," the Democrat from Brooklyn said.
Turns out, it was a Wall Street Journal phone.