Wild Thing

Posted July 31, 2007 at 6:44pm



Correction Appended

As if it wasn’t attention-grabbing enough to zip around Capitol Hill on a goofy Segway scooter, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is opting for even more flash in his mode of transportation. [IMGCAP(1)]

An HOH spy reports that Jackson’s futuristic scooter is now festooned with some unusual decorations: stuffed animals affixed to either side of the machine.

Spokesman Ken Edmonds confirms that the plush creatures attached to the Segway’s side compartment are, in fact, the monsters from the children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are.” The toys, attached to the Segway with plastic ties, were gifts from his children, 7-year-old Jessica and 3-year-old Jesse III, who goes by Tre, both of whom love the classic children’s book. “The monsters are to keep him company when they can’t,” Edmonds says.

Think of it as “Pimp My Ride” for the kiddie set.

Taking One for the Team. With Giants slugger Barry Bonds closing in on Hank Aaron’s all-time home-run record, some Aaron fans might be getting misty-eyed.

But those closest to the “Home-Run King,” including Aaron’s brother-in-law, Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), have nothing but praise for the Giants star’s athletic feat. As of HOH’s deadline Tuesday, Bonds trailed Aaron’s 755 Major League home-run record by just one.

Scott counts Aaron not only as a relative — Scott is married to Aaron’s sister, Alfredia — but also a close friend. Still, he had nothing but high praise for Bonds, who has been dogged by accusations of steroid use. “I think Barry Bonds deserves to be congratulated on a remarkable achievement of soaring magnitude,” the gracious Georgia Democrat tells HOH. Bonds was slated to face the Dodgers last night, and baseball fans agree that it’s only a matter of time before he catches up to the elder baseball legend. And while Scott didn’t offer any predictions about when Bonds might break the record, he says he’ll stay “tuned in like the rest of America.”

Almost Famous. John Barrasso might be a U.S. Senator, but on Tuesday, the Wyoming Republican got a reminder that to some people, he’s just the new guy.

According to an HOH spy, Barrasso was rushing to catch the train to the Capitol in the basement of the Hart Senate Office Building when a Capitol Police officer stopped him and asked him to show his staff identification, since the trains are for staff and Member use only.

Barrasso, who succeeded the late Sen. Craig Thomas (R) in June, politely introduced himself to the officer, who confessed that he hadn’t seen the Senator’s pin identifying him as a Member until after he’d stopped him. By then, though, the train’s doors had shut.

The train’s passengers included at least one Senator and one Representative, who had a clear view of the scene involving their newest colleague.

This Idol’s Not Idle. What’s an “American Idol” contestant to do once the clock strikes 16 minutes on his 15 minutes of (sort-of) fame? Why, become the (sort-of) celebrity spokesman for a good cause, of course.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is welcoming his constituent — and “American Idol” runner-up — Elliot Yamin for an event today with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Yamin is the face of the group’s “Promise to Remember Me” campaign, in which diabetes sufferers will meet with their legislators to talk about diabetes-research funding.

Yamin, whose ouster from Idol in 2006 was widely booed, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was 16. And Cantor’s a big fan of the Idol wannabe, who’s now pursuing a solo musical career. When Yamin was booted from the show, Cantor made an impassioned speech on the House floor praising the singer’s talent and “bright future.”

Which, come to find out, would include hanging out with his Congressman.

Send In the Clowns. Front-row tickets to a Judy Collins concert can be pricey, but lawmakers at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Tuesday got a gratis mini- performance, when the legendary singer, who was testifying before the panel, broke into the opening line of “Amazing Grace.” (A bit of trivia: Collins also performed her signature rendition of the Christian spiritual at former President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration.)

Asked a question by one of the members during a hearing on musicians’ intellectual property rights, Collins does what she does best in front of a microphone: sing. But she only got the first few notes out before snapping back into typical Congressional-witness mode.

Guess the members of the committee will just have to cough up the dough to catch her at Wolf Trap when she performs there in September.

Real Politics. Henry Kissinger — former secretary of State, former sex symbol and current political lightning rod — was spotted in the Capitol on Tuesday. Word is, the foreign-policy guru addressed Republican Senators during their weekly closed-door policy lunch.

An HOH spy noted that Kissinger is, like possibly every other celebrity we’ve encountered, shorter in person than one would expect.

Beth Crowley, Geof Koss and Tristan Tilma of CongressNow contributed to this report.

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Correction: Aug. 1, 2007

An item in the above column (“Taking One for the Team”) misstated the home-run record held by Hank Aaron. It is 755. It also incorrectly reported how Aaron and Scott are related. Scott is married to Aaron’s sister, Alfredia.