Heard on the Hill: Clinton Nixes Curvy Comic

Posted February 6, 2009 at 6:08pm

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has undergone more makeovers than Madonna.

[IMGCAP(1)]She’s transformed from mousy lawyer (remember those headbands?) into regal first lady (in Oscar de la Renta) into tough Senator-turned presidential candidate (pantsuits in every shade).

But it always takes a few tries for Clinton to get it right — even, it seems, in comic book form.

Clinton is one of the stars of “Female Force,” a new biographical comic book series that studies America’s most famous political women. But when comic creators Bluewater Productions offered a sneak peak of Clinton’s cover art a few months back, Madame Secretary apparently wasn’t pleased with the depiction.

Bluewater Publisher Darren Davis told HOH that the company “heard through her people” that Clinton disliked the cover, which had her sporting a blue suit whose buttons were straining over a chunky hourglass figure. Think more Lara Croft and less America’s top diplomat.

“We also had Hillary Clinton fans up in arms about it,” Davis said. “So we wanted to make sure it was done 100 percent out of respect.”

Bluewater asked artist Vinnie Tartamella to create a new, less-sexy cover. Tartamella also placed Clinton in a blue pantsuit — but in the second version, Clinton looks thinner, with an open jacket and a strand of pearls tastefully draped around her neck.

“The suit looked off,” Davis admitted of the original art. “So for this one, we really captured what it should have looked like in the first place.”

Clinton’s comic hits stores this month. First lady Michelle Obama, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Caroline Kennedy are also part of the series, and Davis said all four would be combined into a graphic novel this summer.

Davis hopes the books offer “an unbiased look at these women” that is also fun. “We do hope we make a difference with these,” he said.

Senate Outtake Reel. It’s been a long week of debate in the Senate over the stimulus package, and all that stress seems to have left a few Senators overstimulated — and maybe a tad blooper-prone.

On Wednesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) gave credit to “a famous baseball player who has passed away” when she said about the stimulus negotiations: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

That quote, of course, is from legendary Yankee and noted philosopher Yogi Berra.

Reports of Berra’s death, as the (definitely dead) Mark Twain said, are greatly exaggerated. Berra is alive and well and living in Montclair, N.J. — something more than one rabid Yankee fan noted to HOH.

A McCaskill spokeswoman said that the Missouri Democrat simply misspoke (it was late, after all) and that she corrected her statement for the record right away.

And Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) took some knocks this week, too, including a big tsk-tsk from a Las Vegas Sun columnist for erroneously citing Winston Churchill as the source of the quote: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Ensign invoked the great Churchill with that quote during stimulus debate Thursday.

But wait — that wise saying originated with Spanish philosopher George Santayana, who actually wrote that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Ensign spokesman Tory Mazzola insists that that’s just nitpicking because Churchill used the expression “all the time.”

At least there’s one industry that needs no stimulus: fact-checking.

No Franken Prints on Klobuchar’s Jokes. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s stand-up comedy act was good enough and smart enough, and gosh-darnit, people certainly liked it, but it wasn’t the product of Minnesota’s most famous funnyman-turned-politician. Klobuchar swears Al Franken, a former professional funnyman and her potential Senate colleague, didn’t help her pen those jokes that brought down the house at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual Congressional dinner last week.

“I wrote about half of it myself,” she told HOH after her stand-up comedy act, admitting that she had “gotten some help” on the other bits — although not, she insisted with a laugh, from Franken, who before launching his Senate run was most famous for his stints writing for “Saturday Night Live.”

She did, however, get an assist in the comedy department from her husband, John Bessler, who served as a sounding board for her rehearsals. Bessler wisely gave his wife’s performance a huge thumbs-up, telling HOH that she had been practicing her material around the house all week. “I’d heard all those jokes,” he told us after her performance.

Senatorial Sisterhood. Be warned, old boys club: The ladies are taking over.

If Bonnie Newman is confirmed to replace Commerce Secretary-nominee Judd Gregg (R) as a Senator from New Hampshire, it truly will be a historic moment for women in the Senate — and in more ways than one.

Newman would be the 18th female Senator this Congressional session, a new record for female representation in the chamber, Senate assistant historian Betty Koed confirmed to HOH. But because Newman also would join Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in representing New Hampshire, the Granite State would become the fourth served by two female Senators — the others being California, Maine and Washington — and that’s another record.

The speed of women entering the Senate also is notable. Koed recalled the excitement surrounding the 2001 publication of the book “Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate,” in which the then-nine female Senators shared the personal stories of how they managed to break through the “old boys club” of the Senate. “Here we are, eight years later, and if this happens, they would have doubled their numbers,” Koed said.

Their ranks could grow even more: Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) already has announced she’s running to replace retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R) in 2010. Should she win, she’ll join Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in representing the Show Me State — making them the fifth female Senatorial pair.

Sounds like it might be time to put in some more ladies’ rooms in the Senate.

Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.