Reid’s TV Debacle

Posted October 31, 2005 at 6:35pm

So far in his tenure as Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid has been pretty shy about doing the Sunday talk show circuit. He didn’t even crack this year’s Roll Call Face Time list, or what we affectionately refer to as the “TV Whore” list, of Democrats on the Sunday shows. (All you needed was three appearances to make the cut.)[IMGCAP(1)]

But the Nevada Democrat must have decided that, heck, there’s nothing he could possibly blurt out on national television that would get Democrats in a worse mess than the one Republicans are in. So he accepted invitations to appear on both ABC’s “This Week” and CNN’s “Late Edition” with — is there any other host at CNN? — Wolf Blitzer this past Sunday.

The Minority Leader’s wife, Landra, was eager to make sure her man looked sharp for the part, helping lay out his good blue suit the night before.

After doing “This Week,” the Minority Leader headed over to CNN’s green room, where he took off his coat, sipped some coffee and relaxed a spell while waiting to go into the studio. His big TV day seemed to be going swell. Or was it? As he told reporters on Monday, “You have to always be ready for the curveball.”

There he was, seated in the studio, just seconds to show time, when he looked down at himself and realized … ugh, he was wearing someone else’s coat!

“And he was bigger than I was,” Reid said with a tone of disgust, motioning with his hands to show that the sleeves were too long.

“Instead of this nice blue suit, I had on this ugly charcoal grey suit,” he said.

Bless his heart, the talk-show shy Minority Leader was nearly paralyzed with anxiety. “It really did throw off my thought process,” he said.

Out of sympathy, HOH called CNN to see whose hideous, large coat Reid was wearing on the show. CNN spokeswoman Edie Emery asked high and low inside the network and put out feelers all over town, to no avail. Finally, late Monday, she wrote back saying, “Okay, so no one knows whose jacket that was. there’s still an unidentified jacket hanging in the green room; therefore, we think it’s the same one. It could be anybody’s …”

Does the owner of the “ugly charcoal grey suit” dare to come forward and solve this mystery?

Bookworms Beware. “I was wet, smelling of chlorine,” the first line reads.

The author, a reporter who became embroiled in the CIA leak case, writes about a phone conversation that took place later the same day with Scooter Libby: “We spoke for a few minutes as I sprawled on my bed.”

You might think those are Judy Miller’s words, and you hope for lots more steamy dialogue. But it’s Matt Cooper writing in Time magazine, about the July 12, 2003, conversation he had with Libby that led to a two-year criminal investigation and an indictment of one of the most powerful men in the White House.

It reads like a book proposal, and HOH has confirmed that Cooper has been approached to write about the saga and his personal involvement in it — including, of course, his close encounter with jail. And we do look forward to reading all about it. But we can’t help but be slightly disappointed. Because — boy oh boy — if Matty can open with a line like “I was wet,” imagine what Judy could write!

Watts That You Said? The best thing about being a “former” Member of Congress is that you can really say what you really mean about your old colleagues.

Take, for instance, former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), who penned a column in Sunday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal calling his indicted former sometimes nemesis, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), “a jerk.”

Watts listed the litany of bad luck for Republicans, from the indictment of Libby and continued scrutiny of Karl Rove to the Harriet Miers debacle and the DeLay indictment. “Certainly, DeLay plays hardball, but the last I checked, being a jerk is not an indictable offense,” Watts wrote.

HOH thought for sure that Watts’ WATS line must have been ringing off the hook Monday with irate DeLayites. But no, according to Watts’ spokeswoman, Pamela Mantis. In fact, she said, “We have not heard back from anyone.”

DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden wasn’t too exercised about the Watts’ column and, like the pro he is, found ways of putting a positive spin on the fact that Watts basically called his boss a jerk.

“I think the reference was presented in a rather mangled context,” Madden said. “He seems to be saying that whether you agree or disagree with Mr. DeLay, it’s obvious that Ronnie Earle is carrying out a personal political vendetta against him.”

Oh yeah, DeLay will see his buddy Earle in court today in Austin to contest those bothersome money laundering charges.

Marathon Woman. Congratulations to Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) who completed her first marathon on Sunday. The blonde, buff, 60-year-old mother of four finished the 30th Marine Corps Marathon in a respectable 5 hours and 23 minutes.

“When I celebrated a big birthday this year, I decided to tackle this race,” she said, adding she also did the race to “celebrate the men and women serving in Armed Forces in Iraq and other parts of the world.”

Paul Kane contributed to this report.

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