Heard on the Hill: Idol Worship

Posted May 12, 2009 at 6:38pm

Rep. Gwen Moore is no Simon Cowell. Unlike the cranky judge on “American Idol,— Moore had nothing but praise for one of the reality show’s finalists.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Wisconsin Democrat took to the House floor on Thursday to praise Danny Gokey, the 29-year-old gospel crooner whom “Milwaukee views as their very own idol,— Moore said.

Gokey’s trip to the top three “is a love story,— Moore added, as the Badger State native auditioned at the urging of his wife, Sophia, who died in 2008.

“In spite of Danny’s loss, he has continued to perform courageously and professionally each week while confronting both physical and mental challenges presented by this competition,— Moore said.

But Gokey isn’t the only “Idol— contestant nabbing Congressional attention.

Former contestant Matt Giraud — whom the “Idol— judges saved from elimination before he was finally voted off — amassed quite a Congressional fan base during his weeks on the show.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) took to the floor April 30 to praise his performances, noting that after graduating from college, “Matt decided to make Kalamazoo his home and became a regular performer at Monaco Bay and Zazio’s Lounge, building quite a local following — including me and my staff.—

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) followed with a speech in her chamber on May 6. “His songs were a moving reminder of the toughness and resilience of our state,— Stabenow said.

Ant’s Got Your Tongue? Just one teensy complication marred Vince Morris’ first day on the job as spokesman for the House Rules Committee on Monday: The panel’s new mouthpiece was having trouble speaking.

Just the day before, Morris — whose previous stints on the Hill included covering the Empire State delegation for the New York Post and working for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) — experienced a freak medical emergency that left him scratchy-throated and hoarse.

The medical drama was so strange that it was almost unbelievable, yet many of Morris’ friends and colleagues followed it as he updated his Facebook page throughout Sunday with the gory details.

The snafu started when Morris was using the siphon that came with his kids’ ant farm to move the little creatures. He tried blowing into the gadget to expel them and accidentally wound up inhaling a few, one of which clasped its pincers on the back of his throat.

The creepy, crawly misadventure ended hours later at the emergency room, where a doctor finally removed the tenacious (and by then, dead but still clinging) insect.

Morris said he turned to Facebook when Internet searches turned up nothing as he frantically looked for way to get the ant out. The doctors, unsurprisingly, had never seen a case like it.

The crisis ended well, and just in time for his first day on the new job.

“It’s still a little hard to speak, which obviously isn’t good,— Morris tells HOH, adding that he’s relying on e-mail until his pipes are back to normal.

Fortunately, Morris, who’s returning to the Hill from his most recent post at the Information Technology Industry Council, brings some, um, nonverbal assets to his new job, too — he was selected for The Hill newspaper’s 2004 “50 Most Beautiful List.—

Just the Ticket. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy might be tasked with the all-important job of setting legal precedent, but to former Attorney General Edwin Meese, he’s the guy who helped settle a pesky traffic violation.

The Alliance Defense Fund honored Meese at the downtown Ritz Carlton on Tuesday morning, and Kennedy was on hand to support his longtime friend. In his acceptance speech, Meese took a moment to praise Kennedy, noting that, for many years, Kennedy was not only “my friend, but my lawyer.—

“Some 50 years ago, I got a traffic ticket from the California Highway Patrol,— Meese recalled. “And he got me off with a $25 fine.—

In Da Club. Now that’s what we call a real club. The normally coat-and-tie vibe at the National Democratic Club got a little funkier Thursday, when guest DJ team L.O.T.U.S. Crew spun soul, lounge and funk music for a younger-than-usual crowd.

The club was open for a membership drive, and HOH hears that a few Members — including Reps. David Obey (Wis.), Peter Welch (Vt.), André Carson (Ind.) and Kendrick Meek (Fla.) — mingled with the staffer-heavy revelers.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) seemed particularly into the music and is now pushing for a similar party at the club every third Thursday of the month.

“Give the people what they want,— Clyburn tells HOH.

Meanwhile, HOH hears staffers have nixed his plan to replace the bulbs in the Whip’s office with strobe lights.

Overheard on the Hill. “Jack Dorsey @jack founder of Twitter stoppd by the office to visit this morning. Nice guy. Big on simplicity.—

— Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Capitol Hill’s Twitter queen, in a post on Tuesday afternoon. In his own Twitter post, Dorsey noted he also got a tour, courtesy of McCaskill staffer Meredith White.

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