Express Delivery

Posted April 16, 2007 at 6:49pm

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is wont to boast about the nearly 4,000 births he’s presided over in his career as a physician. His communications director, John Hart, though, is gaining on him after assisting April 9 with the birth of his own second child, whose surprisingly swift arrival pressed Hart (who, unlike his boss, isn’t a doctor) into delivery duty.

“Now I’m only trailing him by like 3,000-something births,” Hart told HOH. [IMGCAP(1)]

Hart and his pregnant wife, Kimberly, were watching Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last Monday night, the weary-but-proud dad said, when Kimberly’s water broke. The couple leapt into action, calling the doctor — who said to wait until the contractions were regular before coming in — gathering their gear, and preparing to go to the birthing center near their home where they had arranged to have the baby.

Hart says he was dressing their almost 2-year-old daughter, Nora, when his wife called him to the bathroom. Their impatient son apparently wasn’t waiting for his mom and dad, and Hart had to do the honors. He tells HOH he considered calling Coburn, who surely would have had some instructions. But there wasn’t time, and John Michael “Jack” Hart was born right there in the bathroom.

“It was terrifying but amazing,” Hart says of the one-hour labor.

And Coburn proved that he’s more doctor than boss, since he called Kimberly the next day to check on how she was doing — but he didn’t need to talk to Hart.

Fast Food Nation. Washington, D.C., gawkers have surely noticed how svelte the usually burly Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has been looking of late. So HOH was concerned that the former wrestling coach was slipping a bit when we saw his latest campaign disclosures, which show that Hastert and company have been hitting the fast food pretty hard.

In addition to caterers and the odd pricey dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill — staples of many a campaign — the Hastert folks also apparently did some of their best work fueled by greasy fare at El Taco Grande (where they spent $289.35), Buffalo Wild Wings ($129.09), Chili’s ($32.44) and Quiznos ($111), according to quarterly reports by the Hastert for Congress Committee.

That’s a lot of nachos and wings — and here we thought Hastert would be ready to slip back into his wrestling togs pretty soon.

Because It’s the Senate. Eating much better than Hastert, apparently, were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and former Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), whom an HOH spy spotted diving into the power fare with separate parties at the new Il Mulino New York steak house.

Reid was dining at the Italian hot spot with his wife, Landra, and three unidentified guests, while Daschle was joined by philanthropist couple Wayne and Catherine Reynolds. At one point, Reid got up from his table to greet his buddy Daschle, whose advice the current ML has been known to seek.

Maybe he recommended the sea bass and pasta sampler that our spy says Reid and his companions were enjoying.

Burning Torch. O, Torch, we hardly knew ye. HOH has sorely missed former Sen. Bob Torricelli (D-N.J.), the colorful pol who dropped out of his 2002 re-election race after being implicated in a bribery scandal. So we were thrilled to see that he’d penned a column in Sunday’s Star-Ledger, a New Jersey paper.

The rambling treatise, which touches on various memories Torricelli holds dear — from his meeting with rumored paramour Bianca Jagger to witnessing the drafting of the resolution to begin the Persian Gulf War — is vintage Torch.

A preview passage from the ex-Senator, who is known for flights of self-aggrandizing: As he travels in Iraq to a meeting with Saddam Hussein, he offers to help his driver’s son, who was apprehended after retreating from certain death in Basra. Torricelli brings up the matter with Hussein, assures the driver that the matters is “now being reviewed at the highest level.” After returning to Washington, he gets the news of the young man’s fate. “I was later told that the boy was executed before I left the country.”

Uh, thanks, Senator.

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