Arnold Leaves ’Em Laughing
The compliments — as well as a few barbs — were flying fast and furious when California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) went behind closed doors to address the House GOP Conference on Wednesday during his whirlwind tour of Capitol Hill.
Schwarzenegger sent a few shouts out to various Republicans in the California delegation, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
who went to bat for the actor early in the recall process.
“The funny thing about Dana is that he and I have the same chiropractor,” Schwarzenegger said as the middle-aged lawmaker rose to his feet.
It was one of those only-in-California anecdotes that, when coupled with the way Arnold tells a story with his accent, got the crowd roaring.
But then, with Rohrabacher beaming, the former bodybuilder delivered the punch line.
“And people say that we have the same build,” the governor-elect said.
“It’s like ‘Twins’!” one Member jokingly shouted in reference to the famous Arnold flick.
“But what makes Dana great,” shot back Arnold, “is he actually believes that we have the same physique.”
Political Ghosts? California politics has already been turned upside down, but now — just in time for Halloween — Rep. Ed Royce (R) has learned that his district office in Fullerton just might be haunted.
For years, staffers in the district have been spooked by the fact that a motion detector in the office, which is on the third floor of the historic Villa Del Sol building, routinely goes off in the dead of night. They thought it was a mouse.
But could it be a ghost named Carlos?
The Orange County Society of Psychic Research has revealed that the famed building is “quite active with visitors of a ghostly nature.” The city is even sponsoring a “Haunted Fullerton Walking Tour” that features the Congressman’s building.
And the psychic researchers insist they have identified a ghostly visitor named Carlos near the corner tower, which includes the Congressman’s conference room.
“The back story on this Carlos thing must be his appetite for old lunches left in our refrigerator near the tower,” Royce spokeswoman Julianne Lignelli told HOH. “We have had stuff in there older than he is, er, or was.”
Given the recall election and some of the interesting candidates it spawned, however, Royce is keeping an open mind about reaching out to Carlos.
“There are all types of folks out here in California,” Lignelli said. “The Congressman represents all of his constituents, no matter what form they come in.”
The Final Cut. Retiring Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) declared Wednesday that he will vote for President Bush in next year’s election and will campaign with him if the commander in chief asks.
Besides consistently voting with Bush on key issues, Miller has caused plenty of indigestion with his new book, “A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat,” which suggests Democrats have gone far too left.
The maverick told Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard on Wednesday that he wouldn’t “trust” any of the nine Democratic presidential candidates — who include several of his colleagues, of course — with the future of the nation at such a critical juncture in American history.
“This Democrat will vote for President Bush in 2004,” he said.
Republicans will be able to show their gratitude at a book party that Georgia-based insurance giant Aflac is throwing for Miller on Nov. 12 at the St. Regis Hotel.
Since the hotel is just down the street from the White House, it will be interesting to see if more Bush officials than Senate Democrats show up.
Liquid Lunch? Some Hill staffers who received an invite to a luncheon focusing on the “real drunk driving problem” are wondering whether they will get a fair and balanced look at the issue.
The Halloween event in the Rayburn House Office Building is being sponsored by — guess who? — the American Beverage Institute and America’s Beverage Licensees (America’s Beer, Wine and Spirits Retailers).
“That is the curse of our name — we’re not the liquor industry,” John Doyle, ABI’s executive director, told HOH. “We’re actually a restaurant trade association.”
Doyle’s group represents chains such as Red Lobster and Outback that serve adult beverages and are fed up with “social drinkers” getting caught in roadblocks.
“We’re not trying to sell the extra drink,” he said. “What we’re trying to say is, ‘Let’s not arrest our patrons for legal behavior.’”
Doyle will be issuing a new report at the luncheon that claims most drunken driving stems from alcoholics who are repeat offenders. So the group is pushing for an amendment to the highway bill that would require mandatory alcoholism screening and treatment.
“Until you get that thing nipped,” Doyle said, “you’re still going to have a problem.”
Nipped? “Actually, it’s a poor choice of phrase,” he said with a laugh.
Dingell to CBS: Don’t Go Easy on Gipper. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) got a bit mischievous Wednesday, announcing that he has decided to join the Rev. Jerry Falwell, GOP Members and conservative pundits in pressuring CBS to make sure its upcoming mini-series “The Reagans” is accurate.
While the conservatives want to make sure that CBS is not too tough on former President Ronald Reagan, Dingell’s launching a crusade in the other direction. He fired off a letter to CBS honcho Les Moonves, urging him to “not be a party to a distorted presentation of American history.”
“As someone who served with President Reagan, and in the interest of historical accuracy, please allow me to share with you some of my recollections of the Reagan years that I hope will make it into the final cut of the mini-series,” he wrote.
“$640 Pentagon toilet seats; ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers; Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; retreating from terrorists in Beirut; lying to Congress; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua; visiting Bitburg cemetery; a cozy relationship with Saddam Hussein; shredding documents; Ed Meese; Fawn Hall; Oliver North; James Watt; apartheid apologia; the savings and loan scandal; voodoo economics; record budget deficits; double digit unemployment; farm bankruptcies; trade deficits; astrologers in the White House; Star Wars; and influence peddling,” he wrote.
Amid the GOP pressure, however, Moonves revealed Wednesday that some edits of the show are being made to “present a more fair picture of the Reagans.”
Oh, Doctor. Who knew that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and boxing promoter Don King are friends?
Heads turned at a gala dinner thrown by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Tuesday night when King — along with his legendary shock of white hair — made their way through the crowd.
Frist, who joined Lockheed Martin CEO Vance Coffman in receiving service awards, felt the need to point King out to the crowd — as if anyone could miss him. The leader noted he’s glad that King has always been a political supporter, rather than a booster of other former Tennessee Senators such as Al Gore (D).
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), meanwhile, will be receiving public service awards from the Center for National Policy at a Friday luncheon.
CNP is now run by ex-Rep. Tim Roemer (D), who hails from Lugar’s home state. That undoubtedly played at least a small role in the Democratic-leaning group’s decision to honor Lugar. But the group has also gone out of its way to present its Edmund S. Muskie Distinguished Public Service Award to Republicans with a bipartisan streak, such as Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner (Va.), in recent years.
Party Time. The endgame is still inching along, but Members are already planning to start partying like it’s 1999 — you know, back in the day when Congress at least came close to passing those pesky appropriations bills reasonably near Oct. 1.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is throwing an “End of Session Cocktail Party” on Thursday night at Charlie Palmer Steak. HOH was thrilled about having the invite land on his desk.
One problem: It’ll cost $1,000 to attend, since the proceeds from this happy hour actually go to Waxman’s re-election committee.
What’s far more remarkable is that the veteran has such a safe seat that this is his first fundraiser since 2000 or 2001 — his office can’t even remember the precise year.
“This is the first one in several years,” said Waxman’s top aide, Phil Schiliro.
And then there’s House Budget Chairman Jim Nussle (R-Iowa), who’s hosting a “Belated Fi$cal New Year Celebration” next Wednesday at American Legion Post 8, with proceeds going to IOWA PAC.
In addition to failing to get the spending bills passed in a timely fashion, they can’t even get the parties thrown on time.