Heard on the Hill: Spitzer? I Hardly Knew Her

Posted July 15, 2008 at 6:51pm

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been chewed up and, um, spit out following revelations that he’d hired high-priced hookers. Spitzer, once a regular in political circles, has been nowhere to be found of late — unless you know where to look, like the Web site of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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The site’s “Real Security” section, in which the California Democrat highlights Democrats’ actions on homeland security,

features two pictures of Pelosi and Spitzer together.

Both were taken when Pelosi and other Congressional leaders toured Ground Zero last year on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In one action shot, Spitzer is pictured walking with Pelosi and other Members of Congress, and in the other, Pelosi and Spitzer appear to be intently listening to another speaker, who is out of the frame.

Spitzer was a darling among Democrats, lauded for his high-profile prosecutions as New York’s attorney general, but his fall from grace was swift after reports emerged that he had hired pricey call girls. Spitzer, who is married, resigned from office, citing “personal failings.”

HOH was surprised to see the scandal pariah still hanging around on such a prominent Web site. Only days after the scandal broke, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) had already wiped out traces of Spitzer from the Web site of her presidential campaign.

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly says that portion of the Web site will eventually be changed, but not specifically to remove Spitzer’s visage. “The site documents critical issues, and at some point it will be updated,” he tells HOH.

And then — unlike Spitzer’s famous black socks, which he reportedly wore ALL the time — he’ll be gone.

Thursday Night Fever. Now here’s an event that sounds just as likely to raise the roof as it is to raise funds: Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) is holding a Thursday night fundraiser suggestively titled “An Evening of Dancing With the Congressional Stars” at the waterfront nightclub Zanzibar.

HOH hears that there will indeed be Members of Congress taking spins on Zanzibar’s dance floor, although the reference to the campy ballroom-dancing reality show is more of a play on words than a promise of a literal re-creation of the show’s dance-contest format.

Members of the Democrats’ “30-Something” Working Group and the Congressional Black Caucus are on the guest list, we hear.

Return to Earth. So when you’re a Member of Congress and your astronaut husband just got back from a two-week trip on the space shuttle, how do you welcome him home?

By hosting a Congressional reception for him in the Rayburn House Office Building, of course.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will honor her husband of eight months, Navy Cmdr. Mark Kelly, at a reception set for 5:30 p.m. in B-339 Rayburn. The rest of the space shuttle crew also will be there, and the Arizona Democrat — who sits on the House Science and Technology Committee — is expected to say a few words on the entire team. A video on their June mission to the International Space Station also will be shown, spokesman C.J. Karamargin tells HOH.

Several space-savvy corporations, including Lockheed Martin and Honeywell, as well as the United Space Alliance, are picking up the tab for the event, Karamargin said. Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), ranking member of the Science and Technology Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, is serving as co-host.

Although the situation is unprecedented — Members typically don’t host events honoring their space-traveling spouses — the reception itself isn’t likely to break any ethics rules, according to Jason Torchinsky, an attorney with the firm Holtzman Vogel.

“There’s a lot of leeway,” Torchinsky said. “Everybody is hypersensitive to make sure they don’t do anything in violation of the rules.”

Karamargin said the reception is “about honoring the work of astronauts.”

Hopefully, the deep-pocketed companies will feed them something better than freeze-dried fare and Tang.

Stranger Than Fact. Some people accuse Congressional staffers of spinning fiction as if that were a bad thing. But one aide to Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) wears that charge like a badge of honor. James Cho, a senior legislative assistant to Klein, took first place in a fiction-writing contest sponsored by Bethesda Magazine.

His short story, “My Mother, My Child,” appears in the July/August issue.

Cho has an M.F.A. from the University of Miami and has published other short stories in addition to his prize-winning entry. And like any fiction writer worth his laptop, he’s working on a novel.

Although Cho’s just-the-facts day job and his literary passions might seem at odds, he says there are parallels. “Both require a good deal of critical thinking,” he tells HOH.

Write on, we say.

‘Skinny Bitch’ to Put Hill on Diet. Rory Freedman, author of the popular diet book “Skinny Bitch,” is coming to Capitol Hill, and the message she’s bringing probably won’t go over well with caffeine-addicted staffers: Coffee makes you fat.

Freedman, who will be speaking July 22 at the Rayburn House Office Building at a luncheon sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says she wants to urge Hill folks to put down the Starbucks and slowly back away. Caffeine is acidic, she explained to HOH (who was gulping an extra-large iced coffee at the time), and your body develops fat cells to protect your organs from all the acid.

And she’s got plenty more advice she wants to share with campaign workers and harried Hill aides whose diet often consists of whatever is in the vending machine down the hall. Like, just “get committed to eating better.” Easier said than done, of course, but Freedman’s approach in “Skinny Bitch” is all about tough love. And eschewing soda, cigarettes, dairy products and meat.

Or as many Hill staffers call it, breakfast.

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.