Will the Real Rep. From Arkansas 3rd Please Stand Up?

Posted June 14, 2004 at 6:47pm

Whew. For a second there, we were worried that Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) forgot where he’s from.

Until HOH called to alert his staff on Monday, Sessions, on his Web site, prominently quoted the Constitution’s Second Amendment and espoused, like any other self-respecting Texas politician, the right of “hard-working Americans to own a gun.”

“Sportsmen, hunters, gun enthusiasts and citizens concerned for their personal safety have a right to own guns for these legitimate purposes, and I am committed to fighting for these rights for the constituents of the 3rd District of Arkansas,” Sessions said.

Problem is, of course, Sessions doesn’t represent the 3rd district of Arkansas. Rep. John Boozman (R) does.

The wording on Boozman’s Web site was the exact same as Sessions’ (at least until Sessions changed his Web site to reflect his status as a gentleman from Texas. Boozman and Sessions used identical wording about their views on the Second Amendment — right down to their deep caring for the people of the 3rd district of Arkansas.

Needless to say, it was easy to pinpoint the copycat.

When HOH called Sessions’ office to find out what had happened, Sessions spokeswoman Gina Vaughn was not the least bit amused.

“Here’s the deal,” she said. “We have the same Web developer,” who apparently “left some other people’s stuff” on Sessions’ Web site. They sure did: Word for word. (The Web developer, by the way, is Rightclick Strategies, which neither confirmed nor denied its culpability.)

Vaughn was even less amused at the thought of the errant Web site coming to light thanks to sleuthing by Democratic operatives working for Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas). Frost and Sessions, pitted against each other after passage of Texas’ Republican-led redistricting plan, are locked in one of the year’s ugliest contests — one that has become a cockfight with Frost and Sessions pecking and clawing at each other to retain the 32nd district.

“I can’t imagine who would have enough time on their hands to go over every single thing on our Web site and find a tiny typo,” Vaughn said. (The “typo,” incidentally, has been fixed by now.)

House Democratic Party officials, who recently threatened to turn Sessions into a guillotine victim, took no prisoners on this matter either.

“No further evidence was needed that Pete Sessions was an empty suit, but his office has gone ahead and provided it anyway,” says Greg Speed, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “He can’t even take a position on the Second Amendment without having one of his Republican minders in Washington take a position for him.”

When told that Sessions had not actually intended to plagiarize Boozman, Speed shot back, “Who is this elusive Webmaster? Shouldn’t it be somebody who works for the Representative of the 32nd of district of Texas, not the 3rd district of Arkansas?”

At least Boozman’s office got a kick out of the Web snafu. Boozman spokesman Patrick Creamer, who had been unaware that Sessions’ Web site was using the exact same Second Amendment language as his boss, chuckled and said, “Well, it’s good to know Mr. Sessions is fighting for the 3rd district of Arkansas.”

Bon Jovi Plays for Kerry. Rocker — and Democratic supporter — Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, held a major fundraiser last night for presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) at his estate in Middletown, N.J.

Hundreds of people were expected to attend, with tickets going for $1,000 each. A much smaller, private reception was planned to precede the party, with those tickets going for $25,000 each.

The guest list included Meg Ryan and James Gandolfini, who just finished his last episode as Tony Soprano for at least a year.

Bon Jovi guitarist Ritchie Sambora was also expected to perform. Many male guests were presumably praying that Sambora’s wife, Heather Locklear, would be there.

Bon Jovi, whose latest album is called “This Left Feels Right,” hosted a fundraiser for Al Gore during his 2000 presidential bid.

One Democrat who attended that event told HOH, “Nobody paid any attention to Gore. All they wanted to do was talk to Bon Jovi.”

“Sadly,” he added, “Heather Locklear was not there.”

Historic Preservation. Reps. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Brad Miller (D-N.C.) are the new co-chairmen of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus, which is to be launched today in the Rayburn House Office Building with a special appearance by actress Diane Keaton.

It’s unclear what exactly the caucus’s top agenda items will be, but the effort seems to be in keeping with the bipartisan tradition of historic preservation. The new caucus will be honored at a National Building Museum gala tonight, hosted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Save America’s Treasures, and Home & Garden Television.

The gala will celebrate six “Restore America Heroes,” including Keaton, rocker Don Henley, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio).

Keaton is scheduled to join Turner and Miller at the news conference. Turner, it seems, was turned on to preservation as an economic-revitalization tool when he was major of Dayton.

Keaton, for her part, is a longtime historic preservationist. “She is personally responsible for the restoration of three homes in Los Angeles: a 1928 Art Deco house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and once owned by actor Ramon Novarro; a 1926 residence by Wallace Neff; and her own current home, a 1920 structure in the engaging ‘hacienda’ style that evokes the golden age of the Golden State that she calls home,” according to the National Trust.

Katie Callahan, a spokeswoman for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said Keaton will be eschewing film buffs at Tuesday’s gala. “She does not want to talk about her films,” Callahan said.

Nor does Don Henley want to discuss his music, she added.

Other participants in the National Preservation Gala include: first lady Laura Bush, who is serving as honorary chairwoman; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), a 2003 Restore America Hero; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.); Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.); Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.); and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).