Texas Two-Step

Posted July 15, 2003 at 6:57pm

Paul Kelly Tripplehorn Jr., the intern pushed out by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) for penning a saucy e-mail about his failed romance, has landed a new gig with Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas).

That has caused a bit of tension in the Texas delegation, with Granger’s top aide, Barrett Karr,

revealing to HOH that she was not informed of the details of Tripplehorn’s departure when she came calling for a recommendation.

“When I called Kay Bailey’s office prior to his internship here, he was given a good recommendation,” Karr said.

A Hutchison spokesman maintained that when Granger’s staff called they were told that the intern “made a terrible mistake and hopefully learned his lesson.” Tripplehorn, meanwhile, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Tripplehorn sparked the firestorm by dispatching an e-mail, first reported by RollCall.com on Monday, marked “you suck” to a female intern in Hutchison’s office last month. The missive, which has been forwarded thousands of times around the Hill during the summer lull, revealed how ugly things can get when preppie love flames out.

“I will always have more friends than you just because I don’t care about beating people and lying to get to the top,” Tripplehorn wrote in the long missive. “(You are an absolute hipocrit[sic] in everything that you do, I am not going to go into details why you are because that would be a waste of my time and yours but I can assure you if you were to ever meet yourself you would hate your twin).”

He added to the young lady, who also did not return an e-mail from HOH, “good luck being miserable for the rest of your life.”

Karr said Granger’s office is trying to make the best of the situation.

“Obviously we’re disappointed about the e-mail he wrote before he came to our office,” she said. “As an intern in our office for about a week now, he’s done everything our office has asked of him. At this point, I think he needs to finish out his short internship and leave the D.C. rumor mill.”


Right-Wing Idiot-ology? The yuks were flying at yesterday’s Human Rights Campaign forum with the Democratic presidential candidates.

In mid-rant about the Bush administration, ex-Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) got a bit ahead of herself. “This right-wing idiot — uh, ideology,” she said, as the crowd roared their approval of the misstatement.

Then it was former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s turn to get some laughs, as he was grilled by moderator Sam Donaldson of ABC News on the issue of gay marriage.

“I feel like I’m back on the Tim Russert show,” Dean cracked in reference to his weak performance on “Meet the Press” recently.

“Tim,” Donaldson shot back, “was but a pup when I got my start.”


Strange Bedfellows. Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) could only listen to so much of her colleagues griping at a closed-door meeting about how difficult it was to cast their recent votes on Medicare reform.

So Berkley stood up at the Democratic Caucus meeting and mentioned the tension — political and otherwise — between she and her husband, Larry Lehrner.

“Each time I cast these votes, he pushes me a little further out of the bed,” Berkley cracked, as Members laughed a bit at the imagery.

Lest anyone believe that she’s having personal troubles, Berkley quickly explained that it’s only a political dispute: her hubby is a wealthy kidney doctor who grows especially unhappy when his wife votes with her Democratic leaders on health care matters.

“I’m married to a Republican. I mean, look at this rock!” she said, flashing a rather large diamond for the crowd.

Berkley spokesman David Cherry told HOH: “Indeed, the Congresswoman is married to a Republican doctor and they often find that when it comes to politics, laughter is the best medicine. However, it is our policy not to comment on what is said during closed-door Caucus meetings.”

Strange Bedfellows Part II. Despite rarely seeing eye-to-eye on political matters, two powerful leaders in Congress announced Tuesday that they will be joining forces to raise money for inner-city Catholic schools in D.C.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), ranking member on the Senate education panel, and House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio) will co-host the first annual Boehner-Kennedy dinner on Sept. 17 to raise money for the Center City Consortium.

Comic Bill Cosby will be the special guest to drum up support for the consortium, which steers money to 13 Catholic schools in some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Boehner noted that while growing up in Cincinnati, his parents spent what little money they had on sending the future Congressman and his 11 siblings to Catholic schools.

“The sacrifices my parents made opened doors of opportunity for us that have served us throughout our lives,” he said. “Every child deserves that chance.”

The host committee for the $1,000-per- person black tie event include a who’s who of Boehner and Kennedy’s closest allies in D.C., including Thomas Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Jolly of Jolly-Rissler and Henry Gandy of the Duberstein Group.


Dixie Chicken. Ex-Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.), who dodged repeated phone calls from HOH about his attendance at a recent Dixie Chicks concert last month, has finally admitted that he attended the controversial show — sort of.

After HOH’s item on the matter, a Thune spokesman confirmed to the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader over the weekend that the boss did see the band that’s been dubbed unpatriotic by some for slamming President Bush over the war in Iraq.

But the staffer explained that the potential Senate candidate’s D.C. lobbying firm, Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahan, had a luxury box for the show.

“So John stopped by for the last 25 minutes to say ‘hi’ to some folks,” the spokesman said. “He wasn’t there for the whole concert.”

In other words, he attended but didn’t inhale the music.


Makan His Move. After a handful of years at the forefront of the Senate’s judicial wars, Makan Delrahim is leaving the chamber, moving from staff director for Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to assume a plum post at the Justice Department.

Sources tell HOH that Delrahim is set to become deputy assistant attorney general in the antitrust division, handling international antitrust laws and intellectual property battles. Those were his personal interests academically and in his years as a lawyer before getting his front-row seat to the he said-he said battles of Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (R-Vt.), the committee’s ranking member, over judicial nominations.

Delrahim’s departure from the Judiciary panel is but the latest sign that no Supreme Court justice is going to announce his or her retirement this summer. The Bush administration would not steal away the top staffer of the committee that would handle pushing through a contentious nomination.

Delrahim, who also holds the title of chief counsel on Judiciary, could be starting at Justice as early as next week. It’s unclear who his replacement will be, but Delrahim’s departure marks the third top staffer on Hatch’s committee to leave in the past two-and-a-half years.

Manus Cooney, the staff director during the Clinton years of the judicial wars, left in December 2000 to become a lobbyist. Sharon Probst, chief counsel on the panel, left in the summer of 2001 to become a federal judge.

Perhaps it’s the bigger and better opportunities that are out there for Republicans these days, or maybe it’s the wear-and-tear of nonstop sparring with Leahy and his staff.

Before signing up with Judiciary in 1998, Delrahim worked at lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs LLP, where he focused his practice on intellectual property, antitrust and international trade. A graduate of George Washington University Law School, Delarhim has also worked in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the National Institutes of Health.

Chris Cillizza and Paul Kane contributed to this report.