Never Let ’Em See You Sweat.

Posted July 22, 2003 at 6:38pm

With his approval ratings plummeting on the other side of the pond, British Prime Minister Tony Blair can at least take solace in the fact that there could be a lucrative American underarm deodorant commercial in his future.

Hill aides on both sides of the aisle couldn’t help but

notice that Blair, who’s facing heat over the justification for war in Iraq, was perspiring quite a bit during his trip to Washington, where he addressed a joint session of Congress.

Staffers in both parties mentioned to HOH that Blair wore a blue shirt and light-blue tie to a closed-door bipartisan meeting with House and Senate leaders early Thursday. Later in the day, Blair wore a white shirt with a darker-blue tie for the big speech.

But when Blair turned up at the White House for a press conference with President Bush, he had switched again to a blue shirt with a different blue tie.

‘We saw him — he changed two times,” said one senior aide, who added Blair was spotted slipping into a Capitol suite to switch clothes just before the speech because ‘he was perspiring.”

The Washington Post’s Ann Gerhart reported Friday that Blair made the final change before meeting with Bush because it’s not proper to ‘meet one’s host in the White House with any spots of bother under the arm.”

This is understandable, especially since the humidity here is far worse than it is in London. ‘I guess he wanted to show his solidarity with America,” joked one Democratic aide. ‘He had the white and the blue — all he was missing was a red power tie.”

What’s in a Name? Based on how badly they’re mangling the names of top Republican officials in Nebraska, it’s a good thing for President Bush and Vice President Cheney that the state is safely in the GOP column for 2004.

At a fundraiser in Rep. Lee Terry’s (R) district on Monday, Cheney twice referred to ‘Terry Lee” when mentioning the Congressman to the crowd.

‘It was a little embarrassing, probably more for me than for him because he didn’t even know my name,” Terry told HOH. ‘He didn’t know he screwed it up.”

But Terry slyly got a little revenge on Cheney. ‘I haven’t gotten the opportunity to get to know Vice President Cheney,” he said. ‘All of my meetings have been with the president on issues, so there’s really no need for me to get to know the number two guy.”

Cheney’s miscue comes in the wake of Bush’s own trip to the state in May, when POTUS messed up the pronunciation of Gov. Mike Johanns’ (R) surname.

Bush said that he was proud to call ‘Governor YO-hanns” a friend. They’re obviously not too close, however, as the governor pronounces his surname ‘JO-hanns.”

‘In exchange for blind followership from most Nebraskans, the president and vice president offer only repeated indignities to Nebraska because they can’t even be bothered to read their cue cards,” cracked one Democratic aide.

Let’s Get It On. House Members felt like the institution had been transformed into the World Wrestling Entertainment after Republicans called in the police to quiet Democrats at Friday’s Ways and Means mark-up.

‘I’m feeling like Rowdy Roddy Piper,” Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.) told HOH in reference to the legendary former pro wrestler. ‘‘Saturday Night Live’ is going to have a field day with us.’”

Gutknecht noted that the cast of characters on the Ways and Means panel is pretty rich. In addition to the always-colorful Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), there’s also veteran lawmakers like Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.).

‘Call him ‘Super Sander,’” Gutknecht said of the Michigan Democrat, who looks perfect for a wrestling battle royal. ‘I can just see him saying to a Republican, ‘I’ve coughed up furballs tougher than you!’”

Democratic consultant Mike Fraioli has had some fun with the situation by printing up campaign buttons, which have been distributed to Members, charging ‘The House is Now a Police State.”

A companion button refers to Ardmore, Okla., home to the hotel that came to symbolize the Texas standoff over redistricting, as ‘Area 51.”

Jonathan Grella, spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) must have recently watched the movie ‘Office Space.”

‘Pelosi’s got an aggressive strategy for pieces of flair?” Grella asked. ‘Sounds like somebody’s got a case of ‘the Mondays.’”

Teddy’s Go-to Guy. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has tapped Robert Rosen to serve as his new national political director and oversee the Senator’s activities related to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

The former director of the office of advance in the Clinton White House, Rosen most recently served as a senior adviser at the Rendon Group. He replaces Stephen Kerrigan, a Kennedy loyalist who has been on the Senator’s staff in various capacities since 1993, who has joined the staff of Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.

Pine Tarred. HOH mixed up the ‘Pines” in Monday’s item about House Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley’s (R-Ohio) most recent hole in one.

Oxley actually aced the third hole at the vaunted Pine Valley in New Jersey, not Castle Pines in Colorado.