Heard on the Hill: He Could … Go … All … The … Way

Posted October 29, 2008 at 6:40pm

They’ve appeared on all the cable networks, they’ve been grilled on the Sunday morning talk shows and they’ve laughed it up on the late-night gabfests. But in the last hours of the presidential election, Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) will have just one final television campaign stop to make: Monday Night Football.

[IMGCAP(1)]Longtime ESPN anchor Chris Berman stopped by the National Press Club on Wednesday, where he announced that it appears likely that he will get to interview both candidates during Monday night’s live broadcast, which, of course, will take place just hours before voters head to the polls.

“I didn’t think that would ever happen,” said Berman, who was at the club to accept a lifetime achievement award from cable industry group CableFAX. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Obama famously appeared on MNF in December 2006, when rumors were circulating that he would soon announce his run for the White House. On that broadcast, Obama instead announced his support for his hometown Chicago Bears, who were playing the St. Louis Rams.

MNF also will be somewhat familiar territory for McCain. Hank Williams Jr., who sings the program’s famed “Are You Ready for Some Football?” theme song, has written, and performed at rallies, a special campaign song for the Arizona Republican.

Make a Date With Wolf. It’s looking like Tuesday will be a relatively low-key Election Day here in Washington … not in terms of frayed nerves, of course, but at least when it comes to the partying. Party plans for this year appear to be more muted than those in past election years, with lots of Republicans planning to hole up and brace for widely anticipated losses and with plenty of Democrats out of town on campaign business.

Highlights of the lineup of election night festivities include the results-watching party at the Hyatt Regency sponsored by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The Democratic National Committee is holding a soiree at the Mayflower Hotel.

Things are a little less lively over on the GOP side, although the Republican National Committee is mustering up a big bash at the Capital Hilton. The National Republican Congressional Committee doesn’t have anything on its social calendar, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee is hosting a small, invite-only gathering at its headquarters.

As for civilian fetes, two of the biggest are being held by public relations firms: Qorvis Communications is co-hosting a party in the company’s downtown offices with Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc. (HOH hears both presidential candidates will be there, courtesy of Madame Tussauds wax museum), while Gloria Dittus of Dittus Communications is hosting a party in her swank Kalorama home.

Skadden Arps ethics expert Ken Gross tells HOH most E-night events that he’s heard of are smaller, reception-style gatherings at local restaurants (in order, of course, to stay on the right side of those pesky ethics rules). “I’m always looking for that warm glow of Sterno,” he says of his clients’ proposed party plans, referring to the preferred method for keeping finger foods warm on (ethics-rules-sanctioned) buffets. “When I see that, I know we’re going down the right path.”

And for revelers who want to go freelance, just about every bar and restaurant in town is offering an election-themed drink.

But for a real blowout, try the throwdown hosted by Antonella Barba, the Lounge-201-waitress-turned-American-Idol-contestant with a requisite naughty-Internet-photo scandal. She’ll be at Ultra Bar for a party sponsored by ElectionMall.com.

Somebody pass us a mini quiche.

Look Out, Tina Fey. Polls might show that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a drag on the Republican presidential ticket, but the vice presidential candidate is proving to be popular with an unlikely segment of voters: drag queens.

HOH operatives spotted at least four divas dressed as the Alaska governor sashaying down 17th Street Northwest on Tuesday night for the 23rd annual High Heel Drag Race. (See photos, p. 19.) In addition to fitted blazers and pencil skirts, one Sarah look-alike donned moose antlers, another had a glove that doubled as a moose puppet and yet another carried a baby doll.

Palin wasn’t the only GOP character in attendance: a drag version of Cindy McCain, a guy in a “Joe the Plumber” getup and a Todd Palin (holding a sign that read “Neiman Marcus spoiled my girl”) were part of the spectacle.

Local politicians weren’t left out of the fun. One queen dressed as D.C. Councilmember Carol Schwartz (R) strutted down the parade route with a campaign sign over her shoulder, while the real Schwartz laughed at her side. Also working the crowd was the Republican who beat her in the heated September primary, Patrick Mara.

Still, Palin was clearly the crowd’s tongue-in-cheek favorite.

“I hope she wins!” said one spectator, as one of the Palins walked by. “Not the election — I mean the race!”

CVC = Meet Market. The Capitol Visitor Center isn’t even open yet, and already it’s proving to be Capitol Hill’s newest place to make a love connection.

A “20something” male posted an ad on the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist.com on Monday evening, seeking to reconnect with a “20something” female he’d seen that day during CVC staff training. He writes that he wore a blue sweater, white collar underneath, with khakis; she had brown or black hair and wore a white fleece jacket.

“You stood next to me at the top of the steps. Worked on the House side,” the ad reads. “I’ve never done this before, but a friend told me to give it a shot. Email me with something from the class if this is you.”

We’re already digging the much-maligned CVC: It’s where, apparently, you can learn about Congressional history AND pick up a date.

Looks like that $621 million didn’t go to waste.

A Baseballer’s Campaign Pitch. New Jersey Congressional candidate Dale Glading (R) doesn’t have much of a shot at unseating Rep. Robert Andrews (D) this cycle, but he does have the support of one of the coolest guys in Major League Baseball.

Pitcher Curt Schilling endorsed the long-shot candidate Wednesday, writing Glading “will FORCE positive change” if elected.

“I firmly believe that if everyone that is registered takes a step back and looks past the ‘white noise’ our politics have become, they’ll see that Dale Glading is the kind of person who will change things that must be changed,” Schilling writes in his endorsement letter.

Schilling has won two World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox, but he also pitched for eight years for the Philadelphia Phillies, whose home plate is located just across from Glading’s district. The Phillies, of course, were just innings away from winning the World Series as of press time Wednesday.

Dress Her Up. The controversy over Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe (which, hello, is going to charity!) just isn’t going away, and now there’s even an interactive Web site dedicated to critiquing the shopping spree.

DressLikePalin.com features a cutout-doll-style picture of the GOP vice presidential candidate alongside several of her most famous pieces, including a Louis Vuitton handbag and white Valentino jacket. Web site visitors drag the items over to the cutout to learn how much it cost — and what else (like nurses’ uniforms and heating bills) could be purchased for the same price.

The California Nurses Association and National Nurses Organizing Committee launched the site Wednesday, Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro tells HOH.

“It’s just so outrageous,” she says. “I can’t even imagine how you spend $150,000 on hair and makeup and clothes.”

McCain, the Musical Muse. Some pundits have written off Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, arguing that the Arizona Republican needs a miracle to reach the White House.

Well, HOH doesn’t know much about miracles, but one accomplished musical couple says they’ve got what McCain needs — a really great campaign song!

Philadelphia residents Henry and Bobbie Shaffner have written such a song, to the tune of “Can’t Say No” from the musical “Oklahoma!” The cleverly titled “McCain Campaign Song” focuses on the Senator’s down-to-earth style. Its chipper lyrics include: “When a fellow works the way I do/ ‘Straight Talk’ can really save the day/And in presidential politics/the truth wins out in everything you say!”

“It just occurred to us that this would be a perfect number for people to be singing along to,” Bobbie Shaffner tells HOH.

The Shaffners aren’t novices — a tune for former President Jimmy Carter even landed them a trip to the White House, where Carter personally thanked them.

The couple presented the ditty to Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) at a recent rally and to Cindy McCain at another. Copies also have been mailed to McCain campaign offices.

Briefly Quoted. “Looking Toward the Future: The GOP in Transition.”

— The glass-half-full title of a Nov. 13 session at the National Governors Association conference, a title that doesn’t exactly scream confidence about the GOP’s present.

Lou Jacobson of CongressNow, Casey Hynes and Melissa Attias contributed to this report.

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