Hot or Not

Posted January 28, 2005 at 6:44pm

Ever find yourself thinking about who the “hottest” Senators are? Sure, we do, too. Now we can all play the game together through an unofficial Web contest that allows participants to rate every Senator’s good looks and sex appeal. [IMGCAP(1)]

Over each Senator’s picture, the question is posed: Is your Senator hot or not? Then you get to choose on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being sizzling. Each user’s answer is averaged with those of other respondents. The idea, of course, is a spoof on the Web phenomenon amihotornot.com.

The results, which perpetually change as new players log on, are as ridiculous and bizarre as the Web site itself. Freshman Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), for example, scores a surprisingly low 1.9 average, while Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) takes

second place overall among men in the Senate with an average “hot” rating of 8.

Indeed, Lautenberg’s score beats the pants off the super-telegenic and much more youthful Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), whom contestants give a 5.2 on the hot scale. Another talked-about 2008 presidential contender, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), lags far behind Lautenberg with a low 3.3 average of hotness.

The only Senator whom contestants find hotter than Lautenberg is media darling Barack Obama (D-Ill.). At press time, the chamber’s freshman rock star was found to be the hottest Senator, scoring an average of 8.2.

We didn’t hear back from Obama, so for all we know he’s pleased as punch about how hot he is. But the Senator’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, was not the least bit impressed or amused by his boss’ score in the online contest. Annoyed, and above it all, would be a better way to describe Gibbs’ reaction.

“I believe the ludicrous existence of such a poll speaks for itself,” he told HOH.

Lautenberg’s staff, meanwhile, was gleeful over the octogenarian’s status as second-hottest Senator. “He loves to ski and just took up scuba diving at the age of 80,” Lautenberg spokesman Alex Formuzis told HOH. “I guess it’s that kind of rigorous outdoor activity that keeps Sen. Lautenberg physically fit and looking great.”

While we have no evidence whatsoever for this theory, HOH wonders whether at least one Lautenberg staffer was playing the Hot or Not game repeatedly last week to boost the Senator’s average.

Among the Senate’s women, Mary Landrieu (D-La.) wins with an average 6.3, followed by Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who averages an even 6 on the hotness scale. In a sampling of other scores, Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) averages 3.5, while Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) gets 4.5 and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) gets 5.7.

Other assorted results for the male Senators: Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) gets an average score of 3.2; Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) gets a 2.6; Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) a 5.9; and Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) a 2.5.

The game can be played at https://www.adamshoop.org/hotornot.

Bad Spies. Perhaps the National Republican Senatorial Committee has decided to throw reconnaissance work out the window.

Each party takes pride in spying on the other, especially when it turns up dirt. A big part of that “recon” work involves clandestinely joining enemy e-mail listservs to track the political opposition. A recon pro, of course, must never use his or her real name when signing up.

Yet the NRSC’s new campaign and media director, Blaise Hazelwood, either missed that session of Recon 101 or she’s taking a counterintuitive approach to outfoxing the Democrats.

Recently, Hazelwood visited the Nebraska Democratic Party’s Web site and signed up for its e-mails, using her real name with her NRSC e-mail address, rather than using a goofy made-up name on a personal e-mail, as is standard practice for political recon guys and gals.

An ecstatic Barry Rubin, executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party, felt like he’d caught Hazelwood red-handed.

“I don’t know whether she thinks we don’t actually check these things,” Rubin said. “But we actually do have computers here in Nebraska! And you guys think us red-staters are the dummies?”

Hazelwood was out of the office Friday attending the Republican bicameral retreat in West Virginia, but we reached NRSC spokesman Brian Nick, who said that of course Hazelwood would use her new NRSC e-mail account. “Her RNC account is no longer active,” he said with a little nyuck, nyuck, nyuck, adding, “Blaise isn’t just a card-carrying member of the party of values, she’s also just gosh darn honest.”

A New Democrat. Seeking to expand the Democratic Party’s ranks following Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s defeat in November’s presidential race, Terri McCullough, chief of staff in the personal office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and her husband, Democratic consultant Howard Wolfson, are expecting.

McCullough and Wolfson have been married since 2002 and have been busy ever since, establishing themselves as a two-city power couple.

McCullough is one of the Minority Leader’s closest confidantes. Wolfson served stints as communications director for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate bid and as executive director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2002. Now he’s settled into the private sector as founding partner of the Glover Park Group’s New York City office.

Whether the baby is a boy or a girl will remain a mystery until about April 10, even to the new parents.

They’re more concerned about interior decorating colors. “Regardless of gender, the baby’s room and clothing will be blue,” Wolfson joked.

Chris Cillizza contributed to this report.

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.