Vito’s Body Double

Posted May 13, 2008 at 10:51am

Now that New York Republican Rep. Vito Fossella is in the spotlight for his drunken-driving, lovechild-fathering ways, a little bit of it is rubbing off on Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

[IMGCAP(1)]That’s because the two lawmakers bear a more-than-passing resemblance to one another: They both have dark hair, slim builds and a similar face shape. That is all fine and good until somebody (that would be Fossella) gets arrested.

New York Magazine on Tuesday posted a story about Fossella and accompanied it with a photo of a

lawmaker with a scarlet letter “A” photoshopped around his neck. But the magazine wasn’t poking fun at Fossella; the photo was actually of Issa.

And Fossella’s newfound tabloid-worthy status led at least one veteran reporter to approach Issa in the Capitol last week, thinking he would manage to score a comment from the scandal-plagued New Yorker.

Issa spokesman Frederick Hill tells HOH that his boss and Fossella have often been told they look alike, a phenomenon that started long before Fossella’s troubles made news. Fossella’s fellow New Yorker, Sen. Charles Schumer (D), has even confused the two, Hill says. And The Hill newspaper once featured the two side by side in its “Separated at Birth” feature.

But Hill insists that Fossella’s twin isn’t irked by the newfound attention. Issa’s staff simply alerted New York Magazine of the error, which it promptly fixed, and just shrugged off other mix-ups.

“They’re mistakes, and mistakes happen,” Hill tells HOH.

Hmm, maybe Fossella should borrow that line.

Coleman’s Ladylike Locks. HOH just can’t get enough old photos of Sen. Norm Coleman. The Minnesota Republican sports a well-coifed ‘do these days, but the disco-era Coleman had hair that brings to mind some lyrics from the musical, uh, Hair: “Here baby, there mama/ Everywhere daddy daddy.”

Let’s just say it was shaggy.

And it was apparently Coleman’s old flowing-locks look that led a local Minneapolis TV station to mix up a photo of the Senator with that of a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, who just happens to be a woman.

And not just any woman. In yet another case of mistaken identity (see the previous HOH item), Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP-TV mistakenly used a shot of Coleman in a story about Sara Jane Olson, who, under the name Kathleen Soliah, was indicted for setting pipe bombs in a 1975 bank robbery with other SLA members. Soliah changed her name and went underground, only to be arrested in 1999, jailed and then released in March. The TV station reported that authorities now say she was released a year too soon and have jailed her again.

KSTP-TV showed a photo of a young Coleman, his arm outstretched, protest-style, during the report on Soliah’s re-arrest.

Coleman’s staffers insist they’re not upset by the oopsie, which was noted by the news Web site MinnPost.com.

“Mistakes happen. KSTP apologized for the mishap and took immediate steps to rectify the problem,” said LeRoy Coleman, the Senator’s spokesman.

One HOH source chalked up the mix-up to Coleman’s use of campaign cash to buy makeup for TV appearances. “Norm Coleman was mistaken for a woman?” the source marveled. “I guess that $73 makeup investment paid off.”

HOH, though, at least partly attributes Coleman’s spiffier grooming these days to the influence of his wife, Laurie, a former model and inventor of the “Blo N Go,” a hair-dryer-holding device that frees up one’s hands for better styling.

Going Once … Ethics rules might prevent you from buying a gift for a Congressional staffer, but there’s nothing that says you can’t buy a staffer himself.

But HOH is guessing that anyone bidding on Brian Kaveney, the communications director for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), in the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society’s date auction has a motivation other than wanting to influence the legislative process — namely getting up close and personal with the oh-so-eligible bachelor or, of course, helping sick people.

Kaveney is one of eight hot dates up for grabs on the auction block for the fundraiser, which is being held Thursday night at Play Lounge.

The organization’s Web site hawks Kaveney with this glowing description: “Who needs a quote? This unassuming Capitol Hill communications director can paint a pretty picture. A Transplant from Southern California, he’s capable of keeping the conversation rolling without saying ‘dude’ every other word. This handsome fella also cooks, cleans and does windows — Hello NURSE.”

Kaveney tells HOH that he’s taken some ribbing from friends (imagined worst-case scenarios involve forced bungee jumping or actually having to wash windows). But he says, of course, that it’s all for a good cause.

Even charity has its limits, though. The nightclub where the auction is being held has a pole for pole dancing, and that’s where Kaveney draws the line. “I’m not going to get up there and represent my boss and the 3rd district of California on a pole,” he told HOH.

Double Delight. Mother’s Day was particularly productive for Roll Call this year, as two members of the RC family welcomed new additions during the weekend.

Rothenberg Political Report political editor and Roll Call contributing writer Nathan Gonzales and his wife, Heather, celebrated the birth of their first-born, a daughter named Hazel Matilda, on Saturday.

Everybody is doing well, and Hazel is “eating and sleeping and doing her business” like she’s supposed to, Gonzales said.

A day after Hazel’s birth, staff cartoonist R.J. Matson and his wife, Mari, welcomed son Milo into the world. It’s the third child for the couple, and the proud papa tells HOH that big sister Sofie, 5, and big brother Gus, 3, are excited about the new addition. “My daughter hasn’t stopped beaming,” he boasted.

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