Knock, Knock. It’s Jack
Unlike an absent-minded boyfriend, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee doesn’t forget anniversaries. On Wednesday, the sentimental DCCC marked a year to the day of when news broke that the FBI was investigating Rep. Tom Feeney’s (R-Fla.) connection with the Jack Abramoff scandal by dropping off an oh-so-thoughtful gift to Feeney’s office.
[IMGCAP(1)]And in a bit of political theater, the DCCC picked an eye-catching emissary to deliver the present: a guy dressed up to look like Abramoff, sporting the disgraced lobbyist’s trademark trench coat and fedora. The Abramoff poser, trailed by a DCCC staffer and HOH, of course, entered Feeney’s office in the Cannon House Office Building and attempted to leave the gift, a package of golf balls (all the better to commemorate Feeney’s now-infamous golfing trip to Scotland with Abramoff) with a note. But Feeney’s front-desk staffer, who looked a bit mystified about the strange attempted delivery, told the impersonator that he couldn’t leave the golf balls, apparently fearing they might violate the House gift ban.
The note wishing her boss a happy anniversary was fine, she said.
The be-hatted Abramoff copycat then withdrew without a scene.
When HOH questioned him, he would identify himself only as Jack, and answered our questions in character — although since the coat and hat he wore were more khaki than Abramoff’s black, we couldn’t help but think he looked more like a young Indiana Jones than the imprisoned Abramoff.
“I’m still trying to keep my friends here on Capitol Hill,” Jack told HOH.
Meanwhile, inside Feeney’s office, word of the prank had spread. Feeney spokeswoman Pepper Pennington appeared unamused, blasting the DCCC for keeping alive an “old story” and for bugging the staff with the antics. “The DCCC is coming into our office when we are trying to work hard on issues that Central Floridians care about,” she said.
Maybe she better get ready for next year’s anniversary, which we’re sure the Dems have already marked on their calendars. (Note: A traditional second-anniversary gift is cotton!)
Seinfeldian Humor. Somebody’s got a sense of humor in the Congressional ID office. With less than a week to update their badges (the cutoff is April 30, you straggling scribes), reporters are likely to face the usual unwieldy lines as the deadline approaches. But this time, the Senate ID office has a treat, according to an HOH tipster, who spotted a picture frame holding samples of several types of IDs all bearing the name Cosmo Kramer, the wacky Seinfeld character played by comedian Michael Richards.
It all started out innocently enough about a year and a half ago when the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms office decided to reduce the number of badge types in circulation, says Bret Swanson, assistant Sergeant-at-Arms for police operations. In an effort to cull all the different security badges on Capitol Hill, Swanson had the office manager print out the available ID styles bearing the name and unmistakable mug of Kramer, with his bouffant hairdo and vintage shirt.
“It was funny enough, but then the guy who plays Kramer had a mishap,” said Swanson, alluding to Richards’ controversial racial slurs at a comedy club. Trying to stay in good taste, Swanson decided to keep the name, but lose the Richards pic. Now, the framed IDs use a stock photo of a generic-looking staffer and the name Cosmo Kramer.
Life in the Fast Lane. Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel may be ready to put Congress in his rearview mirror — he’s retiring at the end of his term — but he’s not rolling private-sector-style just yet.
Hagel was spotted being driven around Tuesday evening on Pennsylvania Avenue in a sparkling new Jaguar, according to an HOH tipster. “The driver was a young staffer who looked like he had just gotten his driver’s license, and the car still had the sticker on the window,” says the tipster, who surmised that the fancy ride must be part of Hagel’s preparations to move downtown.
No dice on that, says Hagel spokesman Jordan Stark. “It’s a loaner,” Stark said. But don’t feel too bad for Hagel, who has some pretty nice wheels of his very own. He’s driven an older blue Jaguar for a long time, and the car was just in the shop for routine maintenance, according to Stark.
Briefly Quoted. “Let me get this straight: The name is Cold Bay. You are talking about Alaska. This is something called Cold Bay. When you are in Alaska and something is called Cold Bay, is it colder than other bays or something? Why the hell are you even out there?”
— Warm-weather guy Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), expressing his wonderment at the frigid climes of Cold Bay, Alaska, to a group of high school students hailing from there.
Clayton Hanson of GalleryWatch and Matthew Murray and contributed to this report.
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