Renzi to Rich People: Help!

Posted September 21, 2005 at 6:42pm

Since he’s evidently having difficulty raising money from poor folks in his district, Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) is turning to the wealthy fat-cat lobbyists who populate the nation’s capital.

An e-mail solicitation with the subject line “one last plea” went out Wednesday, asking Washingtonians who were so inclined to donate to Renzi’s campaign before the end-of-the-quarter deadline on Sept. 30. [IMGCAP(1)]

The e-mail began by noting that Renzi’s Democratic challenger, Jack Jackson Jr., is “getting some high-profile help” from the likes of “Joseph Lieberman, Barney Frank, Hilda Solis, and Tammy Baldwin.”

Then it explained why Renzi is hitting up lobbyists for cash. “It is very difficult for Rick to raise the funds needed within his district — due to the poverty levels and rural areas,” the e-mail said. “He has to rely on D.C. and other avenues for the funds needed to stay in Congress. He has done and continues to do so much for his district.”

Predictably, Democrats who got wind of the e-mail found it outrageous.

“If Congressman Renzi actually spent time helping families in rural areas of Arizona instead of trying to capitalize on their struggle, he wouldn’t be such an endangered Member of Congress,” Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told HOH. “Arizonans deserve leadership that looks to families in their districts as people they are supposed to fight for, not as cheap throwaway lines in Rick Renzi’s fundraising e-mails.”

But Patty Roe, Renzi’s fundraiser, said the Congressman’s dedication to impoverished people in his district is exactly the reason why he’s turning to outsiders for help.

“He has a lot of Indian reservations in his district, so it’s hard for him, who he is, to go ask for political money when he’s fighting to get them as much support as he can get them,” she said.

One American Indian in Renzi’s district, by the way, is his opponent, Jackson, who is a member of the Navajo Nation.

Safire vs. Clinton, Redux. Maybe William Safire forgot why he was there.

Instead of poking fun at “Rahmbo” at Tuesday night’s roast of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), Safire ended up roasting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), or, more aptly, raking her over the coals.

The former New York Times op-ed columnist, who was among the few conservatives who were invited to join in the roast, took the opportunity to revisit his already oft-revisited “congenital liar” column in which he called the former first lady, yep, a congenital liar, prompting her husband to threaten to deliver a presidential blow to Safire’s face. Or, as the venerable linguist might say, to his countenance, his visage, his — oh, enough already, his mug.

It could well have been the first time that Sen. Clinton and Safire shared a microphone since the erudite columnist penned his acid-tongued description of the first lady during her West Wing days. But instead of calling her a congenital liar to her face Tuesday night, Safire borrowed a line from humorist Mark Russell, telling the Rahmfest that what he meant to call Clinton was a “congenial lawyer.”

One observer in the room told HOH that Sen. Clinton spoke after Safire and “didn’t seem ready to bury the axe.” She said as long as they were clearing things up, her husband never said he wanted to punch Safire in the nose. He said, “What pathetic prose.”

Of course, Clinton, unlike Safire, had not prepared her comments. She ad-libbed, and Clinton’s aides seemed proud of their boss for this.

“It was difficult to watch when his well-prepared remarks were rebutted with three impromptu words. But that’s what happens when you bring a knife to a gunfight,” Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines told HOH.

Someone who attended the roast said they witnessed Safire approach the Senator immediately after the tribute holding “everything but a white flag,” conceding that she had successfully rebutted his verbal joust.

Nats vs. Giants. Among the unruly San Francisco Giants fans at that gut-wrenching nail-biter of a game Tuesday night was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and daughter Christine Pelosi, sitting in prime front-row seats above the Washington Nationals’ dugout, where they had an awesome view of Barry Bonds’ home run amid much booing.

Giants President Larry Baer went over and mingled with the Pelosi women, both of whom were decked out in their orange-and-black finest. Baer introduced them to Nationals second baseman Deivi Cruz, which could have been a bit much for two avid Giants fans to stomach, seeing as Cruz came from the Giants to the Nationals.

Later, between innings, HOH spotted Leader Pelosi giving the baseball to a disabled man sitting in section 219. Turns out, he was an Iraqi veteran who had said he wanted a baseball. The Pelosis’ Major League Baseball hosts, Lucy Calautti and Josh Alkin, had mentioned it, according to Christine, so Mom Pelosi gave him the ball, which she later signed, and thanked him for his service to his country.

“Even better than Barry’s thunderous homer and the Giants thrilling comeback victory was that serendipitous opportunity to say thank you to one of America’s heroes,” Christine said.