Heard on the Hill: Crash Into Him

Posted April 27, 2009 at 6:34pm

Politics is sometimes described as a full-body-contact sport. House Minority Leader John Boehner got a reminder of that on Monday, when he collided with a teenage skateboarder while strolling along Pennsylvania Avenue.

[IMGCAP(1)]The carefree kid was careening down the sidewalk and apparently lost control before smacking into the Ohio Republican, who was getting into a black SUV waiting at the curb. “It was like a linebacker — he tackled him, basically,— our spy said.

An HOH spy reports that the usually unflappable Boehner was knocked off his feet, but not totally off his game; he stumbled, but didn’t completely wipe out, after the crash.

Boehner’s police escort looked none too thrilled about the accident, while Boehner and the teen exchanged wary looks. And since no one was hurt, our loose-lipped witness cracked up at the bizarre scene.

Others, though, were more blasé. At least three diners were sitting on the nearby patio of La Plaza, the Mexican restaurant, the spy says, and “they just kept eating and acted like nothing had happened.—

Boehner’s office wouldn’t comment on the run-in, but we’re just counting the days until he introduces a privileged resolution declaring skateboarding a public menace.

Healthy Punch to the Gut. Rep. Gwen Moore isn’t one to back down from a legislative fight, but the Wisconsin Democrat probably didn’t imagine she’d be hitting somebody in the stomach Monday afternoon.

Let alone an über-perky fitness guru.

Workout queen Denise Austin led Moore and more than 100 others in a five-minute stretching session during a women’s health luncheon in the Rayburn House Office Building, instructing attendees to dip, stretch and squeeze their way to physical fitness.

And so audience members such as former Reps. Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) and Connie Morella (R-Md.) put aside their packaged lunches to wriggle from side to side, wave their arms above their heads, tighten their stomachs and squeeze in their “tushy.— As Austin joked, “If you don’t squeeze it, no one else will.—

Perhaps wanting to prove that her fitness methods work, Austin walked up to Moore and asked her to “feel my belly.— A laughing Moore complied.

“It was like a brick wall. A brick wall! Nothing like me here,— Moore later reported to HOH, pointing to her own midsection.

Sponsored by Women’s Policy Inc., the luncheon celebrated the release of “The Healthy Woman,— a comprehensive guidebook on women’s health issues published by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Austin, who serves on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, stressed the importance of incorporating exercise into one’s daily routine. And while Austin — a 52-year-old mother of two teenagers — recommends that women exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, she told HOH that overworked Congressional staffers can make little changes to improve their health.

“Don’t take elevators. Take the stairs,— Austin said. “Walk all these beautiful staircases you have.—

[IMGCAP(2)]Washington Days, Talladega Nights. Having survived a fiery crash on the Talladega Superspeedway the day before, NASCAR driver Carl Edwards on Monday took on a driving assignment almost as dangerous: navigating Washington-area traffic.

Edwards shook off his frightening crash (the car was totaled and seven spectators were injured) and kept a date to appear in the Capitol to join the team demonstrating how far a Ford Fusion Hybrid can go on a single tank of gas. Edwards — who bore only a small scratch as evidence of his horrific accident — was behind the wheel when the car topped 1,000 miles Monday morning.

After braving our fair city’s asphalt, the racer also met with both Senators from his home state of Missouri, Sens. Claire McCaskill (D) and Kit Bond (R), as well as Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). We hear Edwards talked economics with the Senators, shared reminisces of the Show Me State with McCaskill and Bond and gabbed about racing with big-time NASCAR fan Kyl. Fun fact: Kyl was once in the racing biz himself, as a “spotter— (the guys who help steer drivers) at the Phoenix International Raceway before coming to Congress, and more recently as a NASCAR reporter for a home-state radio show.

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery. Members of Congress and their staff (we suspect some of them begrudgingly) will hit the pavement on Wednesday morning for the annual ACLI Capital Challenge three-mile race, and per tradition, teams have given themselves pun-filled names: “DeMint Condition,— “Red White & Bluemenauer— and “Achy Breaky Tiahrt— are among our favorites.

But then there’s “Herd on the Hill,— a rather familiar-sounding name thought up by some clever staffers in Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s office.

HOH hears we inspired the team moniker, which plays off both our column name and Hutchinson’s Texas roots. Team Hutchison even made special T-shirts for the three-mile race, featuring an image of a cowboy on a horse herding a cow toward the Capitol. Get it? Herd on the Hill.

Hutchinson and 22 of her staffers will sport the shirts as they run (or walk) in Wednesday’s race, and a Hutchison aide told HOH the team “intends to stampede the competition.—

Fair warning, Herd: Aside from helping to sponsor the competition, Roll Call also is entering 12 runners on two teams: “News Travels Fast— and “Need for a Lede.—

Guess we’ll settle this on the pavement.

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