This Is Your Governor on Drugs

Posted October 29, 2007 at 6:39pm

Get ready for your close-up, Arnold, because the Marijuana Policy Project is ready for you.

The pro-weed-legalization group found an unlikely poster boy in California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over the weekend, and the group says it’s excited about the addition of the new and unexpected ally. The former body builder-turned-Republican politician, who long ago ’fessed up to using wacky tabacky in the 1970s, was quoted in the December issue of British GQ as saying he didn’t use drugs. Of marijuana, he opined: “That is not a drug. It’s a leaf. … My drug was pumping iron, trust me.” [IMGCAP(1)]

While the guv’s staffers may have been wondering if Schwarzenegger was on some mind-altering substances at the time of the interview, they quickly downplayed the quote as a joke, citing his longtime stance against legalizing marijuana. Spokesman Aaron McLear says the interview took a lighthearted turn, and the governor was just playing along. “He knows marijuana’s a drug,” he tells HOH. “If you take it out of context, it might look shocking, but in the context of the interview … it was funny.”

Still, the pro-legalization folks are encouraged.

“It’s definitely encouraging that the governor of California is not buying into the wild-eye propaganda that comes out about marijuana and over-blowing it,” MPP spokesman Dan Bernath said. “It’s time for governors like Arnold Schwarzenegger to start being realistic about marijuana and this sounds like a great first step.”

Call Him Mr. August. Jaime Harrison, the House’s first-ever black floor director under Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), has attained autograph-worthy status as a pinup in the 2008 South Carolina black history calendar.

Though he’s hardly scantily clad in the calendar’s August photo — he’s in a sensible suit, with the U.S. Capitol in the backdrop — Harrison, an Orangeburg, S.C., native, has been bombarded by colleagues and fans looking to get his autograph on their very own copy. So far, Harrison, whose photo runs alongside fellow South Carolina black people like actor Paul Benjamin and former New York Giants football great Harry Carson, claims he’s not letting the fame go to his head.

“It’s truly an honor to be included among such an impressive group of African-American leaders from South Carolina,” Harrison says. But the honor has created quite the stir in the office.

“How has his pinup status impacted the office?” asked Clyburn spokeswoman Kristie Greco. “We still treat Jaime the same. Sometimes the fans seeking dream dates and autographs can get in the way, but we’ve learned to work around them.”

Miller Vs. Coors. Usually, HOH rolls her eyes at the prospect of yet another cutesy sports bet among Members of Congress, but the one between Democratic Reps. Ed Perlmutter (Colo.) and Steve Kagen (Wis.) has a few twists that caught our eye.

For one, Perlmutter and Kagen are roomies who share a Capitol Hill row house in addition to a passion for football. And most importantly, the stakes for their bet on the outcome of the Broncos-Packers game is a case of cheap beer — not the usual quaint regional foodstuffs that are the staple of such wagers, and something that actually sounds like a prize to HOH (as opposed to, say, a bowl of chili or a jar of jam).

Wisconsin native Kagen is a Packers fan, naturally; Coloradan Perlmutter, of course, roots for his beloved Broncos. With the National Football League teams slated to take each other on in last night’s “Monday Night Football” game, the Congressmen found themselves at odds over something way more important than the usual roommate squabble-fodder like chore duties or ownership of the remote. The usually friendly duo took this one seriously, and they were willing to put their inexpensive domestic brews where their mouths are.

“My staff and I are looking forward to some ‘Miller Time’‚ when my roommate and esteemed colleague delivers a case of Miller to us after the Broncos win,” Perlmutter boasted in a pre-game statement. “While I’m confident the Broncos will deliver tonight, if for some reason Green Bay lucks out, Rep. Kagen and his staff will receive a case of Coors.”

Heavy Medals. The White House on Monday announced the latest winners of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the list includes a few Capitol Hill types. Former Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) is making room on his lapel for the medal, as is C-SPAN godfather Brian Lamb.

Hyde is being recognized for his Congressional career, including a long stint as House Judiciary chairman. Lamb is getting the shiny accessory for his work in founding and serving as CEO of the Congress-chronicling news network.

The White House is hosting a ceremony on Nov. 5 to dole out the honors.

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