The Congressman and the Clinton-ite

Posted May 23, 2008 at 5:28pm

If they’re not a couple, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Huma Abedin, a top aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), certainly aren’t doing much to convince us of it. The pair, rumored to be dating, were spotted in the Capitol on Thursday.

[IMGCAP(1)]And we’re pretty sure it wasn’t bicameral relations that Weiner was interested in when he was spotted all the way over on the Senate side of the Capitol. He and Abedin were walking together on the second floor near the Ohio Clock, but turned tail and beat a hasty retreat when they spotted a Capitol Hill photographer who might have snapped them on their stroll.

There have long been whispers about a romantic relationship between the single Congressman and the fetching Clinton-ite (who was named to Vogue’s 2007 best-dressed list), although in typical just-business fashion, Weiner’s office would not comment.

New Mob Name: Joey the Tailor. Actor Joe Pantoliano is known for his quirkiness. After all, he’s affectionately known by fans as “Joey Pants,” has a flair for wearing flashy outfits and is famous for portraying a cold-blooded “Sopranos” mobster with a bad toupee.

Pantoliano came to Capitol Hill last week as part of a lobbying effort to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness. And during an interview with HOH, some of that legendary eccentricity was on display: Pantoliano took a sewing kit out of his satchel in the middle of the chat and tackled some work on his suit jacket, all the while keeping the conversation going.

It had HOH wondering if she should have asked him whether he does pants, too (ba-dum-bum). But while Pantoliano might have been multi-tasking by catching up on his tailoring during the interview, the actor — who was diagnosed with clinical depression just a few years ago — says he’s fully focused on addressing the stigma of mental illness.

Pantoliano founded the advocacy group No Kidding, Me Too! to help raise awareness, and said he plans to make several Capitol Hill trips to push Members to pass legislation on the issue.

“The only way to get attention is to come up here,” he said.

Joining Pantoliano on Thursday was actress Marcia Gay Harden, his co-star in the 2006 film “Canvas,” the story of a family adjusting to a woman with schizophrenia. Harden told HOH that Thursday’s Congressional visit was her first.

“It’s been fantastic, it’s been an education, but it’s been inspirational,” she said of the trip, in a tone reminiscent of an Oscar acceptance speech.

And Harden, who won an Academy Award in 2001 for her work in “Pollock,” must have felt as if she was back on that Oscar ceremony stage when the bells signaling House votes rang as she was addressing the audience.

“Why is it buzzing?” she quipped. “Am I speaking too long?”

Johnson Vs. Goldwater Rematch. Members spent much of last week giving touching floor tributes to former President Lyndon B. Johnson to mark the late Texas Democrat’s 100th birthday, which would have been later this year. HOH couldn’t help but notice legislation also introduced last week seeking to honor Johnson’s 1964 presidential rival, former Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.).

Introduced by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), the concurrent resolution would name one of two recently commissioned Navy aircraft carriers after the staunchly conservative Goldwater, a World War II pilot who was as “avid a proponent of a strong national defense as he was a staunch opponent of communism.”

HOH sees why the whole aircraft carrier thing might fit for Goldwater, but isn’t introducing the bill now a bit awkward? After all, a guy only gets one shot at a centennial celebration.

If so, it was unintentional, according to Tancredo spokesman T.Q. Houlton, who told HOH that Tancredo introduced the bill now because May 29 marks the 10th anniversary of Goldwater’s death. “It’s just kind of when we thought of it,” Houlton said.

With four co-sponsors signed on already, Tancredo is optimistic that Congress will move to name one of the two carriers after the conservative maverick, Houlton said. HOH will note that there isn’t a U.S.S. Lyndon B. Johnson. … Perhaps that could be the name of the other carrier.

Washington’s Most Wanted. Forget pictures of missing kids on milk cartons and cute kitties on street signs. An HOH spy tipped us off last week to an only-in-Washington handwritten “missing” sign attached with masking tape to a post just outside Tortilla Coast’s entrance.

It reads: “MISSING: $1 BILLION. LAST SEEN: WHILE WAITING FOR CONGRESS TO APPROVE THE COLOMBIAN FTA OVER 500 DAYS AGO.” Affixed to the sign are pull-off tags reading, “To Schedule a Vote Call Your Member of Congress at 202-224-3121.”

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