Pumping Up the Resume
A fawning story with a saucy photo of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) in the latest issue of Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine, which is prominently featured on her official House Web site, shows that she has a better physique than most of her colleagues.
But the story also suggests that Sanchez just might be pumping up accounts of her accomplishments a bit in addition to her biceps.
In order to show that Sanchez has been “an incredible force during her seven-and-a-half years in
Congress,” writer Beth Sonnenburg recounts the dizzying array of activities that apparently keep the Congresswoman busy.
“While most of us wield power over our own lives, Rep. Loretta Sanchez truly has the power to change millions of lives in an instant — for the better,” says the story. “A champion of women’s rights, she added one billion dollars to the U.S. budget for women’s cancer research.”
How does the 43-year-old Congresswoman get all of this amazing work done — including the fact that “she expanded Head Start” — especially since she’s a relative newcomer in the minority party and doesn’t even sit on a pivotal committee like Appropriations?
“She credits much of her strength and endurance during her 20-plus hour days on Capitol Hill to her demanding fitness routine,” says the story.
But then the story adds: “Members of Sanchez’s staff know they’re forbidden to schedule anything before 8:30 a.m. to avoid interfering with her precious workout time.”
Let’s do the math: If the workday starts at 8:30 a.m., and you furiously pump out legislation until midnight, that’s still only a 15-and-a-half-hour day. And that would also leave Sanchez precious little time to hit the town.
“While in Washington, D.C., Sanchez is up at 5:30 a.m., waking up her political colleagues for their morning power walk,” the story added, quoting Sanchez that “at 5:45 we’re out no matter if it’s raining or snowing.”
So if she’s up at 5:30 a.m., that gives her another three hours of activity. But it still only gets her to 18-and-a-half-hour days.
“I don’t know that it was meant to imply that she works 20-plus hours every day,” stressed a chuckling Carrie Brooks, Sanchez’s spokeswoman. “I think most Members would agree that there are occasional 20-plus-hour days.”
“The main thing is that this was a fitness writer,” said Brooks, who just might not “be familiar with the political process.”
Brooks added of the boss, “She’s an early to bed, early to rise person. Typically she’s down for the count at 10:30 p.m.” (That totally throws off the math on that 20-hour thing).
Brooks, who sat in on the muscle interview, also stressed that Sanchez was not trying to take sole credit for the legislation she discussed. “She used the term ‘we’ a lot,” she said. “It was a discussion of women working together in Congress.”
Bipartisanship Behind the Camera. Even though Alexandra Pelosi’s second documentary is going to focus on the Democratic presidential sweepstakes, President Bush is guaranteed of a cameo — and a director’s credit — in the upcoming film.
At last year’s White House picnic for Congress, the filmmaker tried in vain to coax Bush into letting her follow him around the campaign trail again for the redux to “Journeys with George.”
So this year, she brought a video camera along to the picnic (she attended last week’s event with her mom, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California).
“Alexandra, you have a camera again!” Bush parried. He then grabbed the camera away and trained it on the filmmaker, just as he did in the first film.
“I made you famous once — I’m not going to do it again,” Bush said as he filmed Pelosi with her mom.
Nevertheless, the filmmaker got what she wanted: brief footage of Bush, as well as footage of Bush filming her.
“He’ll get another director’s credit,” sister Christine Pelosi told HOH.
Feet of Clay? When Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) hastily arranged a conference call last month to address questions about his personal life, the Congressman and his allies charged that Democrats were spreading rumors that he’s gay.
“I’m declaring today that I have a right to privacy, like anyone else in this country,” Foley said in the conference call. “The fact that I’m not married has led many people to speculate, but I’m not going to be dragged into the gutter by these rumormongers.”
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) also put out a statement declaring that “liberal Democratic activists have reached new levels of hypocrisy.”
But an e-mail obtained by HOH suggests that at least one Republican staffer on Capitol Hill has helped to spread the story DeLay called a “despicable” attempt to derail Foley’s Senate bid.
Wendy Rosen, press secretary for Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.), decided to craft an
e-mail on May 8 that included a story that appeared in an alternative newspaper the same day. The story in question made a series of allegations about Foley’s personal life that ultimately led to the Congressman’s conference call later in the month.
Using her House e-mail account, Rosen forwarded a full copy of the story to seven staffers in Shaw’s office as well as a former aide no longer in the office. The e-mail eventually fell into Democratic hands.
The subject line of Rosen’s e-mail said “NEWSFLASH: Out with the Truth why won’t U.S. Congressman Mark Foley just say that he’s gay?” In fairness to Rosen, most of that subject line came straight from the headline of the story in New Times Broward-Palm Beach.
“‘Newsflash’ — Democrats really don’t care about Mark Foley’s personal life, but apparently it’s a gossipy joke with his Palm Beach colleague’s staff,” said a Democratic staffer who first obtained the e-mail. “This ‘newsflash’ from Clay Shaw’s office should help put a cork in those baseless Republican charges that Democrats are spreading rumors about Foley.”
Aides to Shaw confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail and said that Rosen routinely sends stories about the delegation to her colleagues, but the aides refused to comment to HOH on the record about the controversy. Foley’s office also declined to comment on the e-mail.
Rewriting History? A House Democratic aide was stunned to find Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) memoir featured in the “fiction” section of the Books-a-Million store in Alexandria, Va., early last week.
Critics have suggested that Clinton is less than truthful in “Living History,” but the staffer felt that the bookstore shouldn’t take sides. “We always knew Virginia was conservative, but this takes it a little too far,” said the staffer.
As of Friday afternoon, however, co-manager Brad Pettingell assured HOH that the book was safe and sound in the nonfiction section. “It’s been moved,” Pettingell said.
He allowed that there may have been some confusion because “we have it in a couple of different places,” such as “biography” and “memoir” in addition to its main spot.
But he stressed that there was no deliberate attempt to make a statement about the book. “I never saw it there [in fiction], but I
wouldn’t say it wasn’t there,” he said.