Beach Blanket Bingo

Posted September 2, 2005 at 5:56pm

Rich is one word that comes to mind when we think of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Skimpy may now be another. [IMGCAP(1)]

We hear Issa, the second richest Member of Congress, shocked his staff when he showed up at an office whitewater tubing outing wearing bikini briefs. Yes, a Speedo, a banana hammock, a … well, you get the drift. A Congressional aide who relayed the story to HOH said Issa was “out there” for all to see, including the gals, who were sporting their own itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny bikinis.

One person who attended the outing laughed uncontrollably when HOH asked if Issa wore “a Speedo” but managed, between guffawing, to say that the Congressman didn’t wear his revealing suit the entire time. He wore swim trunks over his bikini for much of the tubing and then took them off while he was drying off and hanging out with the gang, the source said.

Issa’s office declined to comment to HOH about the Congressman’s choice in bathing attire.

Congressman Elmo? It must have been a little confusing for the residents of tiny Silverton, Colo., when they tuned into a local radio interview of a guest they thought was Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.), their Congressman, but who answered a question with, “Tee hee hee hee. Baby Elmo’s happy!” There’s more to the answer than meets the ear.

It was, indeed, Baby Elmo, not Congressman Salazar, who was giggling and asking for his “ba-ba” on the low-power station, independent KSJC. After Salazar blew off the host of one of the station’s rock ’n’ chat shows, the free-spirited libertarian host, Nick Sustana, decided to interview his child’s Baby Elmo doll instead, pretending that the “Sesame Street” character was Salazar.

“You have to appease your base at some point,” Sustana said in one of his first questions, “but you face a unique challenge: 98 percent of your base are less than 2 years old and won’t be eligible to vote until the year 2021. How do you plan to win re-election given this seemingly insurmountable challenge?”

The host also attacked “Salazar” for pretending to have rural values when he grew up on a famous street in an urban area with a bunch of misfits. “One of your best friends lived in a trashcan. Another was some goth who thought he was Count Dracula and one youngster there was usually so stoned all he could think about was eating cookies 24 hours a day. Tell me, Congressman, what rural values did they teach you?”

The outrageous interview went on and on, with the host accusing his guest of soiling himself and crying all the time and Congressman Baby Elmo responding with “goo goo ga ga” and “tee hee hee.” At one point, Sustana declared mockingly to the people of Silverton — population 531 — that by standing him up, “Congressman Salazar just urinated in all of Silverton’s corn flakes.”

Well, if he did, he tinkled in his family’s corn flakes, too! Salazar has two elderly cousins who live in Silverton who likely would not be pleased to have their public servant cousin likened to Baby Elmo. Sustana told HOH that his station manager called in the middle of his tirade to say “tone it down” on account of Salazar kin living in the area.

Salazar was unaware that Baby Elmo was taking questions on his behalf, but his spokeswoman took the joke — and the obnoxious host’s corn flakes jab — with good humor. “Congressman Salazar represents a large district and even though he begins each morning with the ‘breakfast of champions’ he can’t be in two places at once,” Nayerra Haq told HOH. “Despite being upstaged by Elmo, John would be ‘tickled’ to be on the show next time he is in Silverton.”

A Hurricane of Support. While devastated residents of New Orleans could not get relief soon enough, plenty of Washingtonians were eager to help inside the Beltway. Bipartisan fundraisers galore have been planned all over town, mostly to benefit the Red Cross and all, of course, promising libations and entertainment for the recess weary.

The biggie of the Big Easy parties is Wednesday night at the lobbying firm Jones Day, a joint fundraiser by the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida state societies. The folk-funky group Down Dexter is opening for the popular Wil Gravatt Band. Organizers were hoping to convince former Louisiana Sen. John Breaux (D) to serve as VIP emcee for the event. Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and Charlie Melancon (D-La.) were among those who had RSVP’d as of Friday afternoon.

Admission prices come in three ranges: $20, $1,000 and $2,000 per person. The party’s fundraising goal is $50,000, all of which will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Run, Don’t Drink. For the non-lushes who want to help disaster victims — or for those who can at least burn the candle at both ends — there will be a Gulf Coast Relief Run on Sept. 17 in Old Town Alexandria. The 5K race is being sponsored by Roll Call, the Great Harvest Bread Company and Mizuno USA.

VIP runners include none other than Ragin’ Cajun James Carville, his wife, Mary Matalin, and sports commentator Tony Kornheiser. The cost to enter the race is $25, which includes a T-shirt. Again, all proceeds will go toward the Red Cross relief fund.

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