Streakin’ Pete

Posted October 8, 2004 at 6:22pm

Honk if you’ve seen Rep. Pete Sessions naked. Or, is it nekkid? It don’t matter which way you say it, but if you lived in San Marcos, Texas, in 1974, then you’re probably honking like crazy right now.

Hard to believe, but Sessions, the Texas Republican who decried Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl public nudity incident in January, took part in a raucous, two-night streaking rampage

when he was a freshman at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.

Newspaper headlines blared: “Streakers Hit Campus, Several Nudes Caught” and “Dudes, Broads and Bare Bods.” The papers were full of pictures of naked college boys and co-eds streaking through the streets of San Marcos, although HOH could not verify which bare bottom was Sessions.

The mass streaking, which led to a clash with police on the night of March 4, 1974, violated the university’s behavior guidelines, as well as Texas law against indecent exposure.

On the first night of streaking, two Southwest Texas State University students were arrested, then hundreds of others attacked the cops and damaged a police car in protest, the San Antonio News reported. Sessions was streaking in full force the next night. He was quoted prominently in the paper the following day bragging of his prowess.

“Just taking off your clothes and running around is kind of a free spirit thing,” said Sessions, who was two weeks shy of his 19th birthday and a physical education major. He would later transfer to Southwestern University.

The bare-bottomed future Congressman told the newspaper that streaking was “a lot of fun because the university decided to leave us alone and the police watched from a distance.”

The fit young streaker also challenged area colleges to a naked relay race. “There’s no doubt about it,” Sessions said. “That would be a lot of fun. Just getting down, taking off your pants and not being afraid to race ’em.”

Sessions told the paper he was determined to help his school beat the mass streaking record of 258 sprinters set by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Streaking was a national craze in 1974, motivated in large part by — what else? — politics. Some college students “streaked for impeachment” in Washington, D.C., hoping to convince then-President Richard Nixon to “lay bare the facts” about Watergate, according to one wire story that appeared in the San Antonio News.

Fast forward 30 years to today. Sessions, 49, is no longer streaking (that we know of). And he doesn’t want others to, either. After Justin Timberlake instigated Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, Sessions scolded the performers for using the Super Bowl half-time event to “force their liberal values upon the rest of the country.”

Sessions, who is locked in the political battle of his life with Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas), said after the Super Bowl striptease that the Hollywood elites can “have the San Francisco nightclubs and the New York performance stages, but they can’t have the Super Bowl. Enough is enough.” Oh, and apparently they can have the streets of San Marcos. But really, that’s it. No mas.

The Congressman confessed to HOH that he was, indeed, a college streaker. And in the best of humor, his spokeswoman, Gina Vaughn, explained that Sessions’ “‘Old School’ days are long gone, and his double-secret probation for this prank ended 30 years ago.”

The Frost campaign, predictably, didn’t hesitate to comment on Pete “the Streaker” Sessions.

“If it is true that Congressman Sessions committed indecent exposure as a young man, then he has a lot of explaining to do to voters and parents,” said Justin Kitsch, a Frost campaign spokesman.

Since Sessions has bared it all, HOH gives the last word to his campaign. “Even someone with a flawed ethics barometer must know that immature behavior as an 18-year-old college freshman is quite different from the irresponsible action of — for instance — a career politician giving the old college excuse of ‘I forgot’ when the tax man knocks at his door,” Vaughn said, referring to recent charges of tax evasion levelled against Frost.

Only in Washington. Wednesday night, hundreds of folks are gathering for a big-time party at ESPN Zone, arguably the best sports and entertainment venue in Washington. A sports fan’s fantasy, the club has three sports-themed levels with a full arcade. Basically, anything a sports nut could want to watch or play.

But on Wednesday the event of choice will be partisan boxing.

The mortgage banking industry has rented the entire ESPN Zone for a bicameral, bipartisan debate-watching party. Invitations went out to all leadership offices of both parties in both chambers and their staffs, and to members and staff on the Ways and Means and Financial Services committees. Hard to say who will actually be there, since most Members of Congress presumably will have left town.

Also on the invite list are Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.) and Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, who, at press time, was still technically a Democrat, although he continued to fool his party leadership.

“This has been a pretty divisive year,” says Kurt Pfotenhauer, senior vice president for government affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association. The debate party, he says, will be a place where Democrats and Republicans “share a drink and enjoy themselves, while watching something everyone is interested in.”

A Lott Leaner. Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) was spotted shopping recently at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City with his wife, Tricia. The Senator looked happier — and thinner — than ever. He told a reporter who spotted him that his fit new look is on account of no longer being in charge. “When you’re leader, you just sit there; they come to you. Now I’m walking all the time!” he said.

Lott said through his spokeswoman, Susan Irby, that he isn’t doing South Beach or Atkins or any other trendy diet. “Less eating, more exercise,” he said.