Random Acts of Love

Posted September 14, 2005 at 6:48pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room was full of love, and some more bizarre emotions, during Wednesday’s session of the John Roberts confirmation hearings.

The first awkward moment came when a drunk man wearing a suit was asked to leave the hearing room just as he was about to pass out in his chair. At least he was a happy drunk. As he stumbled out, he pointed at various lucky people in the audience, slurring, “I love you. … I love you. … And I love you.”[IMGCAP(1)]

One witness said the man was “nodding off and it looked like he might get sick.” That’s when Capitol Police politely asked him to hightail it out of the room, and perhaps out of the building. Capitol Police say he was not escorted out, and was not arrested.

“Nothing like a little eye opener in the morning,” one witness told HOH. Another witness noted, “A drunk guy in a suit got hauled away — and it wasn’t a Senator!”

More entertainment came when Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) badgered Roberts to provide more detailed answers to the committee members’ probing questions. Schumer said it was like asking someone what movies they like and getting vague answers about liking movies with good acting, good directing and good writing, but not really saying which ones are their favorites.

At that point, Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) declared that Schumer’s time was up and cut him off. But Roberts asked if he could go ahead and answer the question anyway. “First of all,” he intoned, “Dr. Zhivago … .”

Then there was the moment Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) dragged Jimmy, the Senate elevator operator, who has Down Syndrome, into the abortion debate.

“He frequently gives me a hug in the elevator,” Brownback said. “We’re ennobled by him and what he does and how he lifts up our humanity. And 80 to 90 percent of the kids in this country like Jimmy never get here.”

Roberts, perhaps a bit perplexed, had nothing to add.

Sherwood Alert. The attorney for Cynthia Ore, the former lover of Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) who has filed a $5.5 million assault-and-battery lawsuit against the married Congressman, wants to take Sherwood’s sworn testimony.

“My goal is take Sherwood’s deposition first,” lawyer Patrick Regan told HOH this week.

Regan is out to prove that Sherwood received special treatment from Washington Metropolitan Police officers when they did not arrest Sherwood after Ore dialed 911 from his apartment to allege that he had choked her. “He was given preferential treatment because he’s a Congressman, no question,” Regan said.

The litigation has entered the discovery phase. Regan is seeking to take depositions from Sherwood, as well as from police officers involved in the case, including Metropolitan police officer Israel Ruiz, who told the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader in Pennsylvania that he believes Sherwood should have been arrested. Ruiz says he took pictures of Ore’s alleged injuries after the apartment incident.

Ruiz’s superior, however, Commander Thomas McGuire, says Sherwood did not get preferential treatment and that Ruiz “was wrong to allege there was preferential treatment, because he wasn’t on the scene,” the paper reported.

With the threat of a sworn deposition looming over Sherwood in the federal case, settlement talks may not be far away. Paul Clarke, a consultant with the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton who is working for Sherwood, would not comment on whether Sherwood’s attorney, Bobby Burchfield, is ready to propose a settlement, saying, “We certainly want to sit down and meet with the attorneys and discuss things.”

The judge in the case has required that the two parties exchange preliminary disclosures later this month, Regan said. Those could include medical bills and pictures that may have been taken on the afternoon of the now-infamous 911 call.

Kids, Kids — Pipe Down! The spat between Reps. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.) and Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) is getting feistier by the minute.

Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, didn’t much appreciate Reynolds, his rival at the National Republican Campaign Committee, calling him “Mr. Righteous” in a newspaper interview earlier this week. Emanuel shot back, suggesting that the upstate New Yorker was stressed out and should work out.

On Wednesday, it was Reynolds’ turn. He was in the perfect position to do a little hit-and-run maneuver — literally — on Mr. Cocky from Chicago.

Reynolds was sitting in the back of his car when he spotted Emanuel sauntering down the street toward the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He ordered his driver to step on it, so they could have a little fun scaring Rahmbo right out of his tutu. Then Reynolds rolled down the window and shouted, “What do you mean I have a lot of stress? What do you think, I’m fat?”

“I’m just saying the redness in your face shows you have high blood pressure,” a cool-as-a-cucumber Emanuel shot back. “And from what I’m hearing from Mrs. Reynolds, she thinks I’m right!”

HOH called the NRCC for comment, but aides didn’t want to stress Reynolds out. Stay tuned, though: HOH is giving Mr. 160-Over-100 the last word next time.

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