Blonds Have More Fun?
On a day when he was coming under fire over comments he made about Jewish-Americans, a weary-sounding Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) returned a call to HOH to clear up another more mundane matter.
He wanted to explain why he’s dyed his hair from a distinguished white to a cartoonish blond, which has left Hill insiders giggling yet again about a lawmaker who has been buffeted by one problem after another.
Moran told HOH that his 13-year-old son, Patrick, has been worried about the toll that all of the negative stories have been taking on his dad. So the boy decided
to find some blonde dye to try to match the Congressman’s reddish-blonde eyebrows.
The Congressman said he realizes that the color hasn’t quite come out right, but he “didn’t have the heart” to correct his son.
“He loves his Daddy so much that he wanted to make me look younger,” said Moran. “Given what’s happening all around me, to have a son who cares so much about me, I really don’t give a shit what people think [about the hair].”
Moran has already been under fire for receiving several questionable loans from lobbyists with business before Congress. Then Tuesday he was hit with a Washington Post story revealing that he had offended Jewish-Americans with comments at a recent constituent meeting.
“If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this,” Moran said at the meeting. “The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should.”
Moran apologized profusely Wednesday, but that was not enough for several Jewish leaders, who urged the Congressman to resign. And he was blasted by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“Congressman Moran’s comments were not only inappropriate, they were offensive,” she said. “He has properly apologized. His comments have no place in the Democratic Party.”
Just moments after Pelosi released that rebuke to the press, Moran told HOH in a telephone interview that he did not blame his leader for being critical.
“I think the best thing she can do is divorce herself from me,” said Moran. “I think her statement should have been even stronger.”
Then he added a stunner: “It’s not worth anyone else going down with this ship.”
Wait, does that mean he is stepping down? “I’m not going to resign,” he quickly insisted. “But I’ve managed to make my seat so competitive every two years that I’m certain at some point [the Republicans] will be successful in taking me out.”
So will he stay on for now but bow out at the end of this term? “Not at all,” he said. “I have no intention of resigning or giving up anything.”
He added, “I’m a competitor. I have been through tough times. I have no intention, at this time, to hang it up. I hope to be able to serve more.”
And he had a final warning for his adversaries. “If somebody wants to take me on they better be damn well prepared to be working 16 hours a day to represent the 8th district,” he said.
Holy Cow. Rep. Frank Lucas (R) was back at work Tuesday despite losing a tooth Sunday night when he literally butted heads with a 250-pound heifer on his Oklahoma ranch.
The clash came when Lucas tried to slap an identification tag on the animal.
“I’m sure he will probably hear about it from his colleagues,” spokesman Jim Luetkemeyer told HOH. “Farming is a dangerous job, and my boss is a living testament to that.”
Indeed, Lucas sustained a broken nose seven years ago when another cow slammed a gate into his face. The latest run-in left Lucas with a gash on his lip and will require root-canal surgery this weekend.
“He was lucky enough to have his local dentist perform an emergency procedure to replace the tooth,” said Luetkemeyer. “He was pretty nonchalant in describing it — but it made me wince.”
After the surgery, however, Lucas got on a plane the next morning and was back to work on the Hill. “He’s just fine,” said his spokesman.
Schumer Wuz Robbed. It used to be said that the most dangerous place in Washington was to stand between Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and a television camera.
There may now be a corollary: The most dangerous place in New York is to stand between Schumer and a representative of E-Z Pass, the service that hands out electronic devices allowing commuters to breeze through toll booths at bridges and tunnels at a discounted rate.
After his car was stolen in Brooklyn over the weekend, Schumer ripped into a top official at E-Z Pass. The Senator was furious to find out that he would have to pay $23 to replace the E-Z Pass that was in the stolen 2001 Ford Taurus.
In a letter to E-Z Pass official Alex McKevney, Schumer made it clear that he had no problem paying the $23 himself. But in classic Schumer fashion, he railed about the indignity to average consumers who have to pay the fee.
“It is outrageous that crime victims facing the burden of paying for another car should also be required to pay for a replacement E-Z Pass,” wrote Schumer. “As you may know, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles waives the fee to replace license plates if you have a police report saying they were stolen.”
HOH can see a Schumer press conference — and legislation — just around the corner.
Business Is Brisk. While some anti-French protesters have dumped out bottles of Bordeaux wine in some parts of America, that sentiment doesn’t seem to have dampened the neighborhood’s appetite for la nourriture francaise.
When it comes to frequenting the area’s French dining establishments, most people seem to have decided to follow the philosophy of Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), who was spotted having lunch with his 5-year-old son, Matthew, at the popular Hill boîte, La Brasserie.
“I really try to separate my food from my politics,” Wu told Roll Call, adding that his son is particularly fond of the restaurant’s bread.
“I have worked for the liberation of China all these years, but I still eat Chinese food,” he added sagely.
At Bistro Bis — a fashionable eatery on E Street Northwest frequented by Members and other political heavyweights — a manager pooh-poohed the notion that the transatlantic rift had trickled down to the Yankee palette. “I haven’t noticed any decline in guest numbers,” said Fromager Mark Sutherland.
“We aren’t really hard-line French in that our wine list isn’t exclusively French,” he asserted, adding that the restaurant doesn’t have a single French person on staff and is American-owned.
At La Colline, a favorite haunt of Republican Senators, part owner Paul Zucconi told Roll Call that terrorism — not a rise in anti-French feeling — presents the far greater threat to his business’ long-term viability. Besides, Zucconi observed, La Colline’s diverse wine list means that patrons can “come and order anything they want without being openly visible about their objections.”
As for Union Station’s Au Bon Pain, managers there could only smirk with disbelief when asked if Franco-U.S. tensions had negatively affected food sales. “This is ridiculous,” said one customer en route to the fast food eatery’s check-out. “I’m just hungry.”
Close Encounter. Screen siren Glenn Close will be the star attraction tonight at National Geographic during a preview of “A Closer Walk,” a new film exploring the ravages of AIDS.
Close, who narrates the film, said she got involved to awaken the world to the “holocaust” of AIDS, particularly in Africa.
Nils Daulaire, president and CEO of the Global Health Council, wants to show the film in D.C. as Congress prepares to consider President Bush’s $15 billion AIDS initiative.
“Our hope is that everyone viewing this film will want to take immediate and aggressive action to extinguish the fire that is global AIDS,” said Daulaire. “That goal is attainable, but reaching it will require concerted effort, political will and a substantial increase in funding.”
Local Boy Makes Good. Former Hill staffer Rob Nichols has been named the new assistant secretary for public affairs under Treasury Secretary John Snow.
Nichols succeeds Michele Davis, another former Hill staffer, who recently left Treasury to take a top job at Fannie Mae.
Nichols, who has been touted by Republicans as a potential candidate for Congress from Washington state, previously toiled as a press aide for Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.) and then-Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.).
Bree Hocking contributed to this report.