Anyone visiting the tony Reston Town Center on Saturday may have thought that Kelly Clarkson of “American Idol” fame was racing around the Virginia mall on a pricey shopping spree.
But it turns out that Tiffany Enns, a staffer for Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), was merely dressed up like Clarkson as part of “The Hot Identity Theft” contest she won from a local radio station.
Sensenbrenner snagged $50,000 in the D.C. Lottery a few years ago, so there’s clearly good karma in his office. Enns won the grand prize in a sticker-collecting contest with 99.5 FM that netted her a celebrity makeover as well as a $5,000 shopping spree.
She chose Clarkson over six other celebrities for the makeover, with the hair and
makeup provided by Le Shoppe salon along with an appropriate outfit from the trendy South Moon Under to boot.
The staffer then had just 30 minutes to scoop up as much merchandise as possible — with the cap of $5,000 — from the stores of her choice. This 23-year-old gal was clearly up to the challenge.
“I actually spent all of the money in 13 minutes,” Enns told HOH with a laugh. “My girlfriends were proud. And they told me that from now on, any guy that I’m interested in cannot know that fact because that will be the end of the relationship.”
Sorry if this messes up the love life. But assuming there are plenty of folks who would like to put themselves in her shoes, HOH just couldn’t resist passing on the details of her shopping strategy.
Enns first rushed over to Talbot’s for some classy clothes followed by a quick jaunt to Pink Palm (the swank Lily Pulitzer signature shop). And then — of course — she was on to Nine West for three pairs of shoes.
There was quite a scene, with a marketing person from the radio station shouting into a megaphone, “Clear the aisles!” Enns also had five friends in tow to carry the bags and close out the transactions while she moved on to other stores.
“I proceeded on to Ann Taylor and spent over $2,100,” recalled Enns, who scooped up five suits and some blouses that should come in handy as she starts a new job this week at the Education Department.
She wrapped it all up at Williams-Sonoma, where she spent a little over $2,000 on a 10-piece set of stainless steel pots and all kinds of other kitchen products. “They loaded it up on a flatbed truck for me to take home,” she noted.
Her duties as “Clarkson” ended at 2 p.m. when she had to introduce the singer Sarai for a concert in the mall. But Sensenbrenner aide Mike Lenn threw a party in the evening, and colleagues convinced Enns to stay a celebrity for a few more hours.
“They asked me to stay in full hair and makeup and play Kelly Clarkson,” she said, though, alas, she didn’t belt out any tunes.
Burns-ed Again. It has not been a good month for freshman Rep. Max Burns (R-Ga.), who’s now under fire for not immediately condemning a supporter’s slam about how the Congressman may face a “Jew boy down in Savannah” in next year’s election.
The comment made by Burns fundraiser Jackie Sommers at a recent event for the Congressman could prove rather tricky for the House GOP leadership, which has been actively courting the Jewish-American community in recent months.
“If this is the Republican idea of Jewish outreach, then I’d hate to see what antagonism looks like,” said Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.
Sommers made the comment in reference to Democrat Tony Center, who is exploring a run for the seat, and has denounced Burns for not condemning his supporter at the September fundraiser, which was first reported by the Savannah Morning News.
A consultant for Doug Haines, a Democratic candidate for the seat who is also Jewish, said the comments were particularly troublesome given ex-Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s (D-Ga.) anti-Semitic comments last year.
“It’s not like this is the first time Georgia has had a person make searing, anti-Semitic remarks,” consultant Bob Doyle told HOH. “We literally just dismissed Cynthia McKinney from the microphone in Georgia, and now Burns allows one of his top supporters to take the microphone and pick up where she left off.”
Burns, who was sent reeling last week by his fired chief of staff’s claim that the vulnerable lawmaker was taking a lackadaisical attitude toward fundraising, apologized over the weekend.
“Mr. Sommers does not speak for me, nor do I condone his comments,” said Burns. “Unfortunately, I can’t control what he says.”
Rush to Judgment? Even Democratic eyebrows were raised a bit when Mike McKay, a top aide to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), sent around an official e-mail that appeared to be mocking syndicated talk radio host Rush Limbaugh’s battle with drugs.
The “Dear Colleague” e-mail was sent to House Democratic offices shortly after Limbaugh disclosed to his national audience that he does indeed have an addiction to prescription pain medication and is immediately seeking treatment.
“Please take time out of your busy schedule to say a prayer for Rush Limbaugh,” wrote McKay. “As you probably know, he admitted on his show today that he is a ‘junkie.’ Rush, the king of hate radio, will be taking time off from his show as he checks into rehab. I am sure he will be missed.”
Given his many sermons over the years, Limbaugh is clearly open to attack. But Democrats were shocked by the reference to the host being called a “junkie” in the e-mail.
“I thought it was in poor taste,” said one senior Democratic aide. “Have some compassion. And why put it out on a government [e-mail] account?”
McKay stressed to HOH that the e-mail was appropriate to send out, but he acknowledged receiving a call from the House Administration Committee yesterday instructing him not to send such e-mails in the future.
“I was expressing compassion to Rush Limbaugh,” he said. “I’m a compassionate Democrat.”
Pressed on whether he was shedding crocodile tears, however, McKay replied with a laugh, “Here’s where I agree with Rush Limbaugh. Here we go, the liberal media is putting words in my mouth.
“Come on, can’t we all have a little compassion? Can’t we all just get along?”
Vexing Vaccinations. With flu season upon us, Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) is making one thing perfectly clear: He’d rather stock up on tissues and aspirin than risk being pricked with a flu shot.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter titled “Things You Should Know About The Contents of Your Flu Shot!!,” Burton warns Members and staffers about Thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury and is used in a variety of vaccines.
“As we approach the flu season, many of you will visit the doctor’s office and receive an annual influenza vaccine. This might prevent the flu, but what else will it do?” the letter reads. It goes on to assert that the vaccine preservative could be related to Alzheimer’s disease and autism.
But while Burton has pushed the pharmaceutical industry to eliminate its use of the mercury-containing substance, he admits that may not stop him from rolling up his sleeve for a flu vaccine.
“I’m in a Catch-22 situation. I don’t want to get the flu … but I don’t want to have more mercury put into my body,” he said.
Burton added that he has discussed his concerns with the Attending Physician, but has not pushed that office to switch to a version of the vaccine that does not contain Thimerosal.
In any event, anyone with a valid Congressional identification card is now eligible to receive flu vaccination from the Attending Physician’s Office.
The office hopes that by vaccinating Members and staff, any outbreaks of the virus’ New Caledonia, Panama or Hong Kong strains will be limited. The vaccination is available at first aid stations operated in both Senate and House office buildings by the physician’s office.
Jennifer Yachnin contributed to this report.