The XX Factor

Posted March 20, 2007 at 6:47pm

When five Congressmen get together for a press conference, it’s just a regular Capitol Hill event: five suits, five ties, five speeches. But when five Congresswomen hold a similar briefing, it gets a different billing. [IMGCAP(1)]

“Republican Women House Leaders to Talk About Why They’re Voting Against the Democrats’ Supplemental,” read the notice heralding a Tuesday briefing by GOP Reps. Kay Granger (Texas), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Heather Wilson (N.M.), Sue Myrick (N.C.), and Mary Fallin (Okla.). The presser didn’t exactly live up to the hype, though. There was no talk of a woman’s perspective, no mention of how the lack of a Y chromosome factored into the picture.

In fact, Granger dismissed a reporter’s question about whether the Members were looking at the supplemental from a woman’s viewpoint. Finally, another reporter pressed the group about why they billed the event the way they did. “We thought you wouldn’t notice,” Wilson quipped.

Tale of Two Murphys. Dang it, there are 435 of them, so they’re pretty hard to keep straight. And two members of the freshman class are a little easier to mix up than most: Both are named Murphy, they’re Dems, sport relatively full heads of brown hair (c’mon, that’s something in Congress), hail from East Coast states, and are both 34, born two months apart.

Reps. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) and Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) aren’t separated-at-birth material, but their similarities have gotten them confused for one another.

On Monday, Patrick Murphy — who is the only veteran of the current Iraq War serving in Congress — called for a moment of silence on the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War. The House’s internal TV channel, though, identified him as that other Murphy, Christopher.

A spokesman for Patrick Murphy says the two Murphys have a friendly relationship. HOH can only hope that they eventually co-sponsor legislation — at least they won’t have to argue about whose name will go first.

Hammer Tome. HOH has been devouring Tom DeLay’s new book, the subtly titled “No Retreat, No Surrender.”

And in the we-read-it-so-you-don’t-have-to vein (yes, HOH believes in service journalism), we’re bringing you a few of our fave details from the former House Majority Leader. According to the book, DeLay:

• got kicked out of Baylor College for offenses including spray painting “BU ’69” graffiti on the Texas A&M campus and running a “booze room” at a formal (he got caught when his date’s father showed up and found his daughter in bed with another guy in said booze room);

• lived in group houses dubbed the “Macho Manor” and “Hot Tub Haven” with other members of the Texas state Legislature, back when he earned the moniker “Hot Tub Tom.” DeLay admits to philandering, but HOH sooo wished there were more details here;

• variously compares Democrats to communists, Hitler and “evil beings”;

• describes his infamous trip to Scotland this way: “I met with Margaret Thatcher and some British conservative activists when I visited England and Scotland — that’s right, on the trip Jack Abramoff helped organize and a private foundation funded. And heck, yes, I seized the opportunity to play a round of golf at St. Andrew’s while I was over there!”

Vandal Scandal. Tuesday morning, as Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) was testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about his plan for the Iraq War — including a rebuke to President Bush’s “surge” plan — police were investigating a crime scene back at the Congressman’s district office in Lansing.

Vandals had splashed red paint on the sign to the office and a “Support Our Troops” sign posted outside. They pasted up a banner reading “ROGERS THERE IS BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS” in the Congressman’s window.

They also glued the door shut and damaged two security cameras that had been placed outside the office following other, more minor acts of vandalism over the past few years, a Rogers spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said the vandals seemed to have an anti-war bent but said the Congressman doesn’t yet know who was responsible. A friend of a Rogers staffer who happened to drive by the office early Tuesday morning was the first to notice the damage, she said. Staffers contacted the Capitol Police, who involved the Lansing police department and the FBI.

Capitol Police wouldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation.

“The aggressive destruction of federal property and vandalism was a callous attempt to intimidate Congressman Rogers and his staff,” Rogers’ Chief of Staff Andy Keiser said in a statement.

The vandalism, previous vandalism, and a recent similar incident at the home of Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) prompted the police to provide extra security at Rogers’ home, where he lives with his wife and two children, the spokeswoman added.

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