Bear Necessities

Posted June 13, 2003 at 6:40pm

As if Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) doesn’t have enough problems, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) is all but threatening to maim his colleague over legislation that would ban hunters from baiting bears with food on federal land.

Young, who once waved a walrus penis at a Congressional hearing to flash his temper at liberal environ-

mentalists, took aim after Moran testified about his bill to the House Resources Committee last Thursday.

“I wish I had my native people in here right now,” Young declared. “You’d walk out of here with no head on.” (He did not specify whether the body part of any particular animals would be used in the beating).

Wayne Pacelle, chief of legislative affairs for the Humane Society of the United States, told HOH that he was stunned by the comment. “When you don’t have a credible argument you have to resort to threats and intimidation,” he said.

Moran tried to take the high road — probably not the easiest thing for the famously combative Democrat — by not slinging any mud back at Young. He merely defended his legislation, saying it’s really not sporting for hunters to lure a bear into the open with treats and then shoot him.

Before the tension, Moran had tried to lighten the mood with a self-deprecating joke about how he had trouble getting Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to co-sponsor his bill. Moran said that when he approached her, she was thrown by his Irish accent.

Moran said Lee thought he was talking about a “bare bathing” bill and she didn’t want any part of that. Guess you had to be there.

Ready for Prime Time? It turns out that Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.) aren’t just competing for the same niche. In addition to reaching out to Southern voters they’re also relying on the same media coach.

Aides to Graham, who has previously acknowledged he was going to get some media training in D.C. before his official announcement speech in early May, confirmed Friday that the coach was Michael Sheehan. Graham had two sessions with Sheehan, a former actor who’s a well-known image consultant, in order to burnish his podium and television skills on the eve of his official rollout in Miami.

“Right before that [speech] he went to see a media trainer to get some tips,” a Graham aide told HOH. “He found it helpful.”

While staffers with rival camps snickered about a 40-year veteran of the political game still needing some coaching, the practice is pretty common. When Graham was first asked about the need for practice on the eve of entering the race, he used a baseball analogy: “Does the fact that Roger Clemens has been going to spring training for 16 years mean that he doesn’t have to go to spring training anymore?”

Indeed, former President Bill Clinton used Sheehan for debate prep and Al Gore utilized the coach’s services on the eve of his official entry into the 2000 presidential race.

“They all do it,” the Graham aide said of the other presidential candidates. “Anyone who tells you they don’t do it is lying.”

A check of disbursement records at Political -MoneyLine.com shows that the Edwards’ campaign has paid a total of $14,500 to Sheehan Associates this year for “consulting/communications.”

In addition, Sheehan’s company received a much smaller sum — just $900 — from the leadership political action committee of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) back in April of 2002, long before he had joined the presidential campaign.

Aides to Graham, who has not yet included the coaching on his FEC reports, believe the scuttlebutt about his media training suggests that other camps are growing concerned about his every move. “I think it shows people are getting worried about Bob Graham,” said one adviser.

Pelosi Heads to Chicago. Even though she’s the House Minority Leader now, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can still go out on the town in relative anonymity.

The Congresswoman laughed her way through much of opening night of the play “Chicago,” which kicked off a national tour at the National Theater last week. She and her daughter, House staffer Christine Pelosi, attended the show with MSNBC pundit Bill Press, the former chairman of the California Democratic Party.

The show’s producer, Barry Weissler, approached young Pelosi at the cast party later in the evening at Hotel Monaco. “Who’s that woman you were with?” he asked her. “You were such an enthusiastic audience.”

“Nancy Pelosi,” she responded.

“Oh, I love your mom,” shot back Weissler. “I didn’t recognize her.”

Christine Pelosi enjoyed the exchange — as well as the show — and was surprised to hear some cast members claim that they’re not quite hitting on all cylinders yet.

“They said, ‘We’re still gelling. There’s more,’” recalled Pelosi, chief of staff for Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.). “It sounds like the House Democrats.”

Theater night was a bipartisan affair, however, with Pelosi and Press joined by three lawmakers from the Illinois delegation, Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D), Ray LaHood (R) and Jan Schakowsky (D).

“Instead of the low-rent razzle dazzle of the House Republicans, who pretend to want to help children but who really just want tax cuts for the wealthy, she wanted to see a real show with all that jazz,” joked Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

Hillary’s Hand. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) revealed last week that she’s going to be calling former President Jimmy Carter for advice, but it has nothing to do with counsel on how to mount a national campaign.

After two hours of a nonstop signing of her new book at Trover Shop on Capitol Hill, Clinton told HOH that she was literally in pain.

“I am getting very familiar with plunging [her hand] into ice water, I have to tell you,” she said with a laugh. “I try to prevent it from just falling off.”

She added, “Jimmy Carter has a well- deserved reputation for being able to sign more [books] faster than anybody else. I am going to copy his signature. I am going to find out what pen he used.”

Mr. Congeniality. Now we know why Rep. Bill Janklow (S.D.) wasn’t named GOP freshman class president this year.

The gruff former governor expressed frustration this week to The Associated Press over the fact that lawmakers rarely work a full week (though colleagues would undoubtedly dispute that, noting that they work when they return to their home states). He also snapped that vacations should be shorter.

He added to the AP that Congress is made up of “a lot of good people who don’t work very hard” because they don’t have a boss (we always thought that’s what constituents were for).

Janklow also had to let slip that he worked around the clock as governor to deal with floods and forest fires. That will prepare Janklow, whose office did not return a call from HOH, well for the natural disaster of not getting any choice committee assignments.

Murdoch in the Lion’s Den. Rupert Murdoch faced some tough questions about the “fair and balanced” tagline at Fox News Channel when he had a private lunch with Democratic Senators on Thursday.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said lawmakers were incredulous about Murdoch’s insistence that his network does not put a conservative slant on the news.

“I think it caught us by such surprise — even the Senators were speechless,” Durbin said with a look that suggested he realizes how hard it is to shut up a room full of lawmakers. “They were just at a loss of words.”

Durbin added, “We said to him, ‘If you were just very honest about it and said I am a conservative Republican and that is what you are going to hear on my stations,’ we would say fine.”

Murdoch, however, told HOH that the critics are wrong and he was unfazed by the heat. “It is no different than what the Republicans say about CNN,” he said. “You know, it was a bit of give and take.”

Durbin had some praise for Murdoch: “Everybody thanked him for coming — realizing he was walking right in the lion’s den. I commended him for his courage for showing up.”

Rotten Apple? It seems that HOH’s item about Rep. Gary Ackerman (D) lining up Shea Stadium for his daughter’s wedding this past Saturday left a bad taste in the mouth of some New Yorkers.

The item was picked up by the New York Post last Thursday, and that caught the attention of some high school baseball players. The players griped to the Post that their Public Schools Athletic League championship was supposed to be held Friday night at Shea.

But it turns out that the rehearsal dinner had to be held at Shea, thereby bumping the kids. “It’s a disgrace,” one coach fumed to the tabloid, which put a headline of “It’s Wedded Diss at Shea” headline on the story.

But an Ackerman aide said that the dinner had been planned “for months,” so it’s unclear why stadium officials had not informed the players sooner.

Little Mr. Smith Comes to Washington. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and his wife, Sara, welcomed their second child into the world last Wednesday.

Jack Evers Smith weighed in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces and 21 inches long. He was named for Medgar Evers, who was killed 40 years ago last week.

“Sara and I are overjoyed that Jack Evers is joining our family,” said the Congressman.

Mark Preston contributed to this report.