Heard on the Hill: Woodward Who?

Posted June 20, 2008 at 6:06pm

If you think it’s all red carpets and VIP access for journalist Bob Woodward — breaker of the Watergate scandal, inspiration for the movie “All the President’s Men,” prolific author and marquee of the Washington Post brand — think again.

[IMGCAP(1)]Though even Senators might cross a room to chat up the scribe and he’s logged nearly as much cable airtime as Wolf Blitzer, word of Woodward’s fame clearly hasn’t

spread to the intern-age set. Deep Throat’s confidant on Friday strolled into the Senate Daily Press Gallery and approached the main desk. “I’m Bob Woodward,” he informed the young man behind it. “I’d like to renew my credentials.”

The fresh-faced youngster was all too ready to help, but clearly not because he realized that Woodward’s a celeb. “What’s the name of your news organization?” he innocently asked the famed scribe.

Woodward, HOH hears, was unperturbed by the intern’s ignorance. “He was very gracious,” an onlooker tells HOH.

Clearly, “All the President’s Men” isn’t huge on YouTube.

HOH hears that Woodward was in the Capitol after speaking to the Senate Press Secretaries Association, and the session revealed yet another generation gap.

The event was held in the same room where the Watergate hearings took place, prompting Woodward to take a jaunt down memory lane. Woodward told the story, asking one of the young aides he’d met earlier that day if he knew who Sam Ervin was. The young man replied, “Yeah, he used to play for the Philadelphia 76ers.”

Woodward was referring, of course, not to the legendary Julius Erving of the 76ers but to the former Democratic Senator from North Carolina who chaired the Watergate hearings.

Who is also not huge on YouTube.

Congress Cooks … With a Pinch of Help. The ado over plagiarized recipes by Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), got HOH wondering about the originality of those recipes Members of Congress often share.

A not-so-scientific analysis of the online cookbook “Congress Cooks!” didn’t turn up any blatant rip-offs of recipes in high- profile cookbooks (though we’re happy to stand corrected on that point), but there were a few that left a bad taste in HOH’s mouth.

Add crimes against cookery to the rap sheet of former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), who’s now serving time — and, presumably, eating prison-cafeteria chow — for conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion.

Cunningham’s submission in 2000 to the “Congress Cooks!” annals is an odd- sounding concoction called Elk Stew. The recipe is a verbatim copy from a cookbook called “Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking,” published in 1991. Cunningham’s recipe was identical to the published one, only it omits the “acorn dumplings” included in the original stew.

In some cases, it’s difficult to know who’s pirating whose recipes — it’s possible that others have passed off Members’ original recipes as their own. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) in 2000 submitted a recipe for a potato casserole that is identical to one posted on Food Lion’s Web site (only Food Lion’s adds a tasty topping of crushed potato chips), but HOH couldn’t determine when the grocery store debuted its recipe. And plenty of the Members’ purported recipes turn up on various recipe-sharing Web sites, but it’s entirely possible that it was Members who were copied, not the reverse.

And there are some close calls, like the recipe submitted in 2003 by former Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska), which he credits to his daughter, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “Alaska Salmon Dip a la Lisa Murkowski” bears a more-than-passing resemblance to a 2002 recipe created by Ina Garten, the celeb chef known as the “Barefoot Contessa,” which was published in Oprah’s magazine in 2002.

Maybe political types should just stick to making the one dish they’re pros at: good old-fashioned sausage.

The Truck Stops Here. Senators who deign, even momentarily, to leave the refined air of the so-called upper chamber sometimes feel as if they’re slumming among those rabble-rousing House heathens.

The House-Senate culture clash was on full display Thursday, when Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) crossed over to that other side of the Capitol Dome to join fellow Republicans in a press conference. The presser, devoted to the very sober subject of the compromise on wiretapping legislation, was held in HC-9. Across the hall from the room where the Members were discussing counter- surveillance, a rockin’ party in honor of just-sworn-in Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) was in full swing.

Every time a reporter or staffer entered or left the room where the briefing was being held, the sound of the revelry — complete with a band, wine and chattering partiers — interrupted the meeting’s serious mood.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) sought to explain the merriment to Bond. “Kit never served in the House, so let me just tell you Kit, if the Senate is a club, the House is a truck stop,” Blunt said. “You can probably see, we are used to this. We deal with this all the time. That could be a jukebox, not even a band out there, for all we know.”

Bond was clearly impressed with the festive doings. “Some of our brothers and sisters wanted to get to the bar,” Bond said.

To which Blunt replied: “I hear you. After you’re done, you do that.”

Big-Budget Birthday. Capitol Hill was abuzz last week over the “Intern’s Survival Guide,” the unofficial manifesto of office rules apparently pieced together by some of Rep. Don Young’s former interns. And while that document poked fun at the way the Alaska Republican er, manages his office, Young’s interns aren’t the only ones having fun at their boss’s expense.

Rep. Jim Cooper’s batch threw a birthday party for the Tennessee Democrat on Thursday, bringing in a cake and even creating a special PowerPoint presentation to mark the occasion. But instead of using those boring age-related candles (Cooper turned 54, by the way), the interns commemorated the $9.42 trillion national debt — one of Cooper’s biggest aggravations.

Unlike Members who just let their interns answer phones, Cooper thinks of himself as a professor to his young, impressionable workers, typically spending an hour each day with them and even assigning books to read, spokesman John Spragens tells HOH.

“They, for weeks, have been going through the sort of Cooper 101, Intern 101,” Spragens said. “They decided that they would give it back to him.”

The lighthearted PowerPoint presentation focused on many of Cooper’s lessons, including the skills needed to make funny PowerPoint presentations (the Congressman frequently uses the program when pitching legislation to fellow Members). And unlike Young — who HOH imagines was a bit peeved at his interns — Cooper got a kick out of the birthday surprise.

“He was floored,” Spragens said. “He thought it was great.”

Briefly Quoted. “Members just need to suck it up and vote yes.”

— Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday during House debate on the war supplemental spending bill.

Melissa Attias contributed to this report.

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