Casual Monday?

Posted July 24, 2007 at 6:33pm

Granted, it is summer, when dress codes tend to get a little looser in the face of Washington’s starched-shirt- wilting heat. But a slipper-clad Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) apparently took the summer casual look a little too far and he got a dressing down for, well, dressing down. [IMGCAP(1)]

During a House vote at about 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Miller strode onto the floor wearing, according to an HOH spy, a look better suited to a backyard cookout than the House chamber: a loose-fitting Hawaiian shirt, linen pants and slippers. On his way into the chamber, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) caught sight of his informally dressed colleague. Boehner, who’s always dressed neat as a (Hermes tie) pin, apparently wasn’t impressed by the ensemble. “Nice outfit, Miller,” Boehner called out, the HOH spy says.

The sartorial faux pas even prompted Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who was presiding over the chamber at the time, to weigh in.

“The chair must remind Members that the proper standard of dress in the chamber is business attire, which includes both coat and tie for gentlemen,” announced Jackson Lee, who’s no slouch in the fashion department herself, once the vote was finished.

Miller’s laid-back look wasn’t meant to be a fashion statement, says spokesman Scott Toussaint. The Congressman’s Monday morning flight from Los Angeles to Dulles International Airport was canceled, and he had to take a later flight, meaning he was rushing directly from the airport to the Capitol and didn’t have time to change into more formal attire. Miller, Toussaint says, was just crossing the 14th Street Bridge when the vote was called. “Mr. Miller was just relieved to make it in time for the votes,” he said.

And on Tuesday, HOH noted that the chastised Congressman was again on the floor, this time with a decidedly chamber-appropriate look.

Pink Gets in Your Eyes. At first blush, CODEPINK — the ubiquitous anti-war group that protests almost daily around the Capitol — seems unintimidating, with its peacenik message and bubble-gum-hued outfits. On Tuesday, though, the group showed it has some muscle tactics up its pink sleeves, including reducing a Senate staffer to tears.

Before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales began on Tuesday morning, CODEPINKers were in full effect, queuing up to grab seats in the audience where they could see and be seen by the Members and the cameras filming the hearing. But before the doors opened to the public, Senate staffers and interns had taken up some of the aisle and front-row seats, in an apparent effort to minimize the protesters’ ability to disrupt the action.

According to a Roll Call reporter on the scene, a group of the protesters gathered around one young female, apparently a staffer or an intern, who was sitting in an aisle seat they coveted. About a half-dozen of them formed a circle around the woman, hectoring her about the seat, until finally she broke down crying.

CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin tells HOH that members of the group had waited in line since 6 a.m. and should have had their choice of seats. She said the committee seemed to have intentionally filled the front-row and aisle seats, which the PINKers wanted, since they’re prime. The staffers and interns occupying the primo real estate refused to answer the group’s questions about who they were and who had told them to sit there, Benjamin said.

“I suppose we were harassing them, but we know what’s supposed to be open to the public,” Benjamin said, adding that CODEPINK always has had a good relationship with Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and that she apologized to the teary woman. The group eventually took the available seats and plan to seek a meeting with Leahy about their access to seats.

Maybe they should start carrying hankies — in pink, of course.

Get in Line. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) might have pulled one out of the hat in helping win back the majority in the November elections, but his wizarding skills apparently don’t extend to snagging a copy of the latest Harry Potter book without waiting in line like the rest of us muggles, er, normal folk.

Emanuel was spotted by an HOH tipster waiting in line for the midnight release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the latest installment in the phenom kids’ series, at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of his hometown of Chicago. The Congressman was one of hundreds waiting for the book’s release, our spy says.

A spokeswoman says Emanuel’s oldest son, Zach, is a fan, and that his dad accompanied him to snag the book.

I’m Sorry, So Sorry. Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) is giving Hallmark a run for its money. The Congressman is doling out apologies left and right after a confrontation last week with a Capitol Police officer — and he’s not done yet.

Shays apologized publicly after the incident, in which he reportedly yelled obscenities, and said he planned to apologize in person to the officer. But on Monday, when the Congressman tried to meet with him, he found out the officer was on a previously scheduled leave. Instead, Shays met with Chief Phillip Morse, according to Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, and apologized to him.

A Shays spokesman says his boss still plans to track down the officer, once he returns to work, to express — you guessed it — his apologies.

Which leaves HOH some time to buy stock in floral-delivery services.

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