Jobs for Faux-bamas

Posted February 29, 2008 at 6:16pm

The presidential candidates all are busily shopping their respective job-creation plans. But voters may want to take note: The presidential wannabes already are generating some employment opportunities — for celebrity look-alikes.

[IMGCAP(1)]Ron Butler won’t be doing a lot of soul-searching this election cycle to determine which presidential candidate would fatten his wallet — all he has to do is look in the mirror.

Butler, a California-based actor turned Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) impersonator, has been busy ever since a few actresses at a casting session pointed out his uncanny resemblance to the Senator.

Like the presidential hopeful, Butler has a full dance card for the next few months with potential film gigs, election-night parties and inauguration appearances — all pending the real Obama’s success.

Butler’s new gigs have led him to strike up an unlikely friendship with one of the top Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) impersonators, Teresa Barnwell.

Butler and Barnwell met on the set of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” where the two competed in a faux break dance-off for the black vote. “She just took one look at me and said, ‘Finally, my Obama,’” Butler tells HOH.

For other impersonators seeking to cash in on the coattails of a campaign, finding the right match takes more than just looks — it’s in the makeup, too.

Impersonator and comedian Frank King has relied on prosthetic makeup to play former President Bill Clinton and has gone bare-faced to play former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). He’s currently working on his impersonation of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

“I’ve already called my latex and makeup guy in L.A,” he tells HOH.

Though his financial success depends on the outcome of the race, King worries the candidates’ success might depend on him as well.

“Here’s my concern for John McCain,” he says. “I picked Edwards — he’s gone. I picked Hillary’s husband — come Tuesday she might be gone. Maybe I’m the problem — if I pick McCain for an impersonation, that may be the end of his campaign!”

Do Tell. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) apparently have some torrid secrets, and it seems that Reid wants very badly to dish.

On Friday, Domenici mentioned during a discussion of energy independence on the Senate floor that this was his last year in the Senate before he retires at the end of his term. And that’s when Reid went all complimentary — and cryptic — about all the good times he and Domenici have shared. “He and I have worked together on issues that only we know about,” Reid said, tantalizingly refusing to disclose them.

Then, moments later, he threw a bone to reporters looking for a story, mentioning how although he’s kept their little secrets, he’s finally ready and willing to tell all. “I hope someday … someone asks me in detail, because there should be historical account of this man’s service in the Senate,” Reid continued. “I want to tell them things that only he and I know that should be known to the public.”

Hmmm…

A Huge Snowe Job. Most women might be just a tad miffed at being likened to an oversize snow person. After all, snow people are lumpy and pale and scantily dressed. But Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe took it in stride when residents of Bethel, Maine, beat their existing 1999 Guinness World Record this winter and christened their 122-foot, 1-inch “snow woman” in her honor. Snowe was “thrilled” the town chose to name the creation “Olympia SnowWoman,” her spokesman Kurt Bardella tells HOH. “It’s the very first thing that has ever been named after her, and like she said, ‘unfortunately it will be gone by spring,’” Bardella joked.

Throwing the Bastards Out. With Congress’ approval rating sinking lower than that of used-car salesmen, Tim Cox thinks it’s time to get out the pink slips. Cox, a former Dell computer scientist, recently launched an effort to give all 435 House Members the ax. His brainchild is the “Get Out of Our House” campaign, which aims to find regular citizens from each state to take elective office.

“Our belief is that the [Members of the] House of Representatives were intended to be chosen by the members of each district, not a party or a special-interest group,” Cox told HOH of his efforts. Cox says more than 60,000 people have taken the site’s online survey intended to find candidates, but the response in Congress — not too surprisingly — hasn’t been as positive.

Cox says he tried to reach out to his own Member of Congress, Texas Republican Rep. John Carter, but all he’s gotten back is a standard-issue courtesy e-mail, telling him his thoughts are important. Carter’s office didn’t want to let HOH know what it thought of the campaign, either.

An RNCer for Gingrey. You can bet Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) will be buying plenty of monogrammed blankets and onesies for his new granddaughter, Ruby Neill Collins. With the initials RNC, the Georgia GOPer is convinced the newest addition to his family is destined to be a conservative.

Born shortly before midnight on Feb. 27, Ruby is the daughter of Gingrey’s daughter, Phyllis Collins and her husband, Jerry.

“You can bet ‘GranDoc’ Gingrey (as the grandkids call him) won’t have any problem buying her presents with her monogram,” spokesman Chris Jackson tells HOH.

All in the Family. Democrats seem to be taking their efforts to grow their majority pretty seriously. In fact, House leadership aides stepped up to the challenge by personally producing two tiny Democrats last week.

Stacey Farnen Bernards, communications director for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and her husband, John “Chip” Bernards, welcomed their second child on Feb. 28.

HOH hears Bernards was doing well — and BlackBerry-ing colleagues — just hours after giving birth to John Martin Bernards V, who’ll go by “Jack.”

And the wife of Jaime Lizárraga, the director of member services for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), also had a baby the day before. Elena Virginia Lizárraga is the third child for the Pelosi staffer and his wife, Kelly. Mom and baby are doing well and we hear dad is “thrilled.”

Ditto, we’re sure, for the Democratic candidates of 2026, for whom the little ones will be eligible to vote.

Briefly Quoted

“It is hereby ordered that respondent’s motion to accept an enlarged brief is denied as moot.”

— A Minnesota state court’s double-entendre-laden dismissal of a petition by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) to add onto an earlier filing.

Leah Carliner, John McArdle, Emily Pierce and Torey Van Oot contributed to this report.

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