A Goode Flossing

Posted June 13, 2005 at 6:54pm

Some people can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time. But Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) can walk and floss his teeth at the same time! No wonder he has such a nice set of choppers. Apparently, he’s quite a flosser.

A House Republican aide recently spotted Goode stepping out of an elevator in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building flossing his teeth. He rounded the corner, headed toward Rayburn, all the while continuing to floss.

Our source, a House aide, says Goode walked

and flossed with “total ease.” She added, “He’s pretty smooth. He just strolled out of the elevator with both hands up flossing.”

Our source was so freaked out, she just had to tell someone. When she went back to her office, she called a friend and told her what she had seen. The friend screamed and said she, too, had seen Goode flossing his teeth around the same time — but in the basement of Rayburn! HOH estimates that Goode walked and flossed for close to 10 minutes through the basement from Longworth to Rayburn.

The Virginia gentleman declined to discuss his dental hygiene regimen with HOH. But he certainly did not deny walking and flossing.

Yuck Mouth. Speaking of dental hygiene, plenty of men have that nasty little habit that involves putting a wad of black tobacco in their mouths and then spitting viscous, dark gunk into a cup all day long. It’s called dipping. And, in the grand Southern tradition, Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) is a big-time dipper.

Allen was spotted dipping at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing just last week. Some aides in the committee room were a bit taken aback. One of them said the Senator looked like “a big ol’ cow chewing his cud.” The aide added, “If he plans to run for president he may want to upgrade from a cup to a brass spittoon.”

Allen’s spokesman, David Snepp, said Allen dips Copenhagen smokeless tobacco. And yes, he does use a Styrofoam cup for spitting, “not one of those fancy brass spittoons.” Sometimes he dips in committee hearings. And sometimes he even dips on the Senate floor, Snepp said. The Senator just takes his Styrofoam cup with him, since most of the old-fashioned brass spittoons underneath the desks in the Senate chamber have been removed and are not really intended for use anymore anyway.

Allen probably goes through one tin of Copenhagen “every three or four days,” Snepp said. But never has he had a cavity, he said.

But if not from his dentist, it sounds like he has had complaints about his dipping from someone else pretty important — his wife.

“She’s not always thrilled about it,” Allen said through his spokesman.

Break in Decorum. Uh-oh, looks like some Senators have become such “CrackBerry” addicts that they’re clicking away on the devilish little devices on the Senate floor, which is a no-no.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Pickle sent a letter out Monday to all Senators reminding them of the prohibition against the use of BlackBerrys and cell phones on the Senate floor and in the lobby. “Recent incidents indicate that adherence to this rule is often overlooked by staff and some Senators, alike.”

Tsk! Tsk!

“These devices are not only disruptive to the legislative business on the Senate floor, but they cause interference with the Chamber’s audio system,” Pickle wrote. “When certain BlackBerry devices are transmitting or receiving messages, a prominent clicking noise occurs that is audible in both the sound reinforcement in the Chamber and in the broadcast feed.”

If a letter of reprimand doesn’t work, Pickle could always try passing out Ritalin.

White Knight. A source taking a U.S. Airways flight from Washington’s Reagan National airport to New Orleans last Thursday night was surprised to see Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) on the same flight looking so … so un-Senatorial. Vitter was wearing white jeans, sans belt, and a pair of brand-spanking new white tennis shoes, possibly Keds. The source was pretty certain the Senator was wearing colored socks. “It was absurd looking for a person, much less a U.S. Senator,” the source told HOH.

On Vitter’s way back to Washington on Monday morning, HOH’s source was on the same flight again. This time, Vitter was not wearing his white jeans but wore what the source called a “multi-colored” striped T-shirt underneath a dress shirt that was unbuttoned half way. He still had on his new white sneaks, though. And they still looked spotless.

Maybe Vitter’s wife, Wendy, was the inspiration for him losing the white jeans. She rode back to Washington with her husband so she could attend the Congressional spouses lunch at the White House with first lady Laura Bush on Monday. (Mrs. Vitter got to sit at the first lady’s table and even got a tour of the White House kitchen.)

Vitter’s spokesman defended his boss’s taste in jeans. “According to a spokesman from the Gap, there is a ‘rock star edge to white denim’ in fashion this summer,” Vitter spokesman Mac Abrams said. “As the first Republican Senator elected from Louisiana, Sen. Vitter is just living up to his rock star image.”

Well, a rock star who may have violated his own office rules if he changed into those jeans at work Thursday before heading to the airport.

“I find it interesting that he would be wearing jeans and tennis shoes, since they are strictly forbidden according to the Senator’s office manual,” Abrams said with a hint of jabbing.

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