Got Botox?

Posted June 6, 2003 at 5:42pm

Since his Senate campaign in 2002 went down in flames over some intemperate comments about Arab-Americans, you’ll never guess what former Rep. John Cooksey (R-La.) is doing to make ends meet these days.

Cooksey, who has returned to his ophthalmology practice, is now offering Botox injections to his customers in Monroe, La.

“Would you be interested in learning more about the Botox experience?” says the

promotional material at CookseyCosmetics.com. “Dr. John Cooksey and staff will be conducting an information seminar on June 17th at 7 p.m. where all your questions will be answered. There will be a reception immediately following the seminar.”

While Cooksey was unavailable for comment on Friday, an assistant at his medical office cheerfully told HOH that ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons and dermatologists are all allowed to join in the Botox fun. Cost depends on how many injections a customer needs. “It just depends on how many units — each patient requires a different amount,” the staffer said.

Cooksey ran into plenty of hot water after less-than-considerate comments about racial profiling in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “If I see someone [who] comes in that’s got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over,” the Congressman said in comments that sent his Senate ambitions plunging.

Nevertheless, the Botox Man is mulling a political comeback, with Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) hoping that Cooksey will challenge freshman Rep. Rodney Alexander (D-La.). Democrats, however, seem eager to see it happen.

“Botox may make Dr. Cooksey a better-looking guy, but not a more attractive candidate,” mused one Democratic strategist. “Voters in Louisiana rejected him because he had nothing to show for six years in Congress, not because of crow’s-feet around his eyes.”

Cooksey has reportedly demanded that GOP leaders line up $1 million in campaign money upfront — but maybe he can work out a deal where they put up $750,000 in PAC money and a couple thousand Botox injections.

Hooters Air. The new Hooters Air launched its inaugural flight Friday from Baltimore/Washington International Airport to Myrtle Beach, S.C., giving the Palmetto State’s Congressional delegation a new option to get out of town on weekends.

The festivities included appearances from Mark Peterson, the company’s chief operating officer, as well as various scantily clad “Hooters Girls” from local Hooters restaurants. With no lawmakers in attendance for the launch, HOH was reminded of how much we miss having retired Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) in the chamber — he never would have missed the grand opening!

While it might seem like Members would be leery of any potential political fallout from choosing the airline, the office of Rep. Henry Brown (R-S.C.) says the boss will be glad to fly on the airline, especially since Hooters’ Myrtle Beach headquarters is in his district.

“Oh absolutely,” Brown spokesman Denver Merrill told HOH. “We’ll certainly take advantage [of the new service] when he needs to get to Myrtle Beach.”

Will there be any political repercussions? “We hope not,” he said with a laugh. “We’ve got to support the businesses in our district.”

A staffer for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he prefers to fly out of Reagan Washington National Airport, so he will probably not be taking advantage of the service.

One can only hope that Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), who is known for his sharp quips, will take a flight or two. Just think of the ad: “Roundtrip tickets to South Carolina — under $300. Greens fees in Myrtle Beach — under $100. The Senator’s comments to the flight attendants — priceless.”

Lincoln for Veep? While Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is stealing the limelight and sparking speculation about her ambition for higher office with today’s publication of her memoir, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) thinks another female Senator might have a shot at a spot on a future presidential ticket.

Asked last week about Clinton’s role in the Senate and her chances of winding up in the White House, Daschle turned to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who had joined the leader at his briefing with reporters.

“I think Senator Lincoln or Senator Clinton has a future on a national ticket,” Daschle said. There was some laughter in the press corps, perhaps owing to the fact that the leader seemed a little too eager to suck up to the colleague standing next to him — as well as the fact that Lincoln will be tied up at least in 2004 trying to defend her Senate seat.

But Daschle quickly added, “I really mean that. I think both of them would do very well. Maybe it’s that Arkansas water, but … they do well, and I would be enthusiastic about seeing something like that.”

Daschle went off message a bit there by suggesting that Clinton owes her talent to the water in Arkansas. Everyone knows it’s because of the water in Illinois, er, New York.

Kerry’s Other Election Cycle. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) has a story he likes to tell about why he thinks his Massachusetts colleague, Sen. John Kerry (D), has enough determination to make it to the White House.

Kennedy is reluctant to pass along all of the details because it pokes a little fun at his nephew Anthony Shriver. But at a meeting with Roll Call editors and reporters last week, the Senator just couldn’t resist passing along what happened at last year’s bike race that Shriver holds to raise money for Best Buddies.

The race covers 76 miles from the Kennedy Library in Boston to the family compound in Hyannisport on Cape Cod. It was raining so hard at last year’s event that three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, who was on hand to boost the charity, said it was the worst conditions he had ever seen for a bike race.

“Vickie and I are in the kitchen at the Cape and there is a knock and somebody says, ‘There is a bicyclist at your door,’” Kennedy recalled. “And I walked out and there was John Kerry, just finished it — blue hands and absolutely frozen.”

Kennedy marvelled about the 76 miles and then mused, “I shouldn’t tell this but I am going to. My nephew Anthony, who spends two and a half hours at the gym every day, has the best build of anybody I have ever seen in my life and is as strong as an ox — [he] lasted 42 miles. I mean John has a drive.”

Jackie’s New Gig. Just as the Monica Lewinsky scandal is creeping back into the news, one of the reporters who first broke the story that led to the impeachment drama is moving on to a new job.

Jackie Judd, an Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News, is leaving at the end of the month to sign up as a senior visiting fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation. She will be exploring better ways to communicate health policy as well as help the foundation and other nonprofit organizations utilize broadcast and Webcast studios at the foundation’s new D.C. headquarters.

After nearly 30 years in journalism, Judd told HOH that she’s eager — though somewhat apprehensive — for a new start. “I’m going to the deep end,” she said with a laugh.

Judd said this particular gig feels right because it allows her to wrestle with health care policy and the AIDS crisis, two subjects she cares deeply about, while still keeping her hands in journalism. One of her assignments will be educating journalists in the United States and overseas on how to better cover public health issues.

“I’m fortunate in that I was able to find something else I feel passionate about,” she said.

Kyle’s New Gig. Kyle Downey has left the staff of the House Budget Committee to become communications director for Rep. Rob Portman (Ohio), who serves as the GOP leadership’s liaison to the White House.

Downey replaces Jim Morrell, who left to take a public relations position with the lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates. Downey previously worked for then-GOP Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (Okla.).

Portman added Jessica Nickel, former co-chairwoman of the President’s Drug-free Communities Commission, as legislative assistant.

House Stork. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the 33-year-old lawmaker with a bright political future, now has two beautiful infants to take on the campaign trail.

The Congressman’s wife, Janna, gave birth Friday to Charles Wilson Ryan, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces (and 21 inches long). This gives daughter Elizabeth Anne Ryan a little playmate.

“Both our children are such blessings,” Ryan said. “And we are very grateful for all the support and warm wishes that people throughout the area have expressed to us.”

Mark Preston contributed to this report.