Heard on the Hill: Card Check

Posted July 20, 2009 at 6:31pm

We’re pretty sure Rep. Walt Minnick couldn’t pass for a 20-year-old, but his waitress at an airport bar wasn’t taking any chances.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Idaho Democrat (who is a ripe old 66) was spotted getting carded at the Phillips Seafood restaurant at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Friday night.

After proving that he was, indeed, very much of age, Minnick ordered a “Big Draft— beer (“only $1.50 more!— the menu crowed) of what appeared to be a light, domestic varietal, our spy says.

Minnick’s spokesman confirms the carding and notes that his boss was mistaken for a possibly underage drinker whilst heading to Long Island, N.Y., to visit his grandchildren.

Minnick’s reaction, according to his spokesman: “I was flattered.—

Better Late Than Never. Congressional staffer Kerry McKenney received some surprising news Monday afternoon: She clinched first place in her 2008 election pool.

It was a shock, since McKenney had forgotten all about the pool, which was sponsored by patrons of the Capitol Hill restaurant the Monocle.

While Sen. Al Franken (D) waged a seven-month-plus legal battle in order to be named the official winner in the 2008 Minnesota Senate contest, many of those who staged friendly bets on the results of the elections were forced to wait and see whether their wagers would pay off.

Participants in the Monocle’s pool were no different, as the results hinged on the outcome of the Minnesota Senate race.

In the end, five people tied for first place by picking 22 of the 25 questions accurately. McKenney wound up the grand victor with her answer on the tiebreaker question, coming closest on the number of Electoral College votes President Barack Obama would nab. (She guessed 355; he ended up with 365.)

“I have no recollection of how I came up with that,— said McKenney, who serves as chief of staff to Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.).

So what did McKenney win? A jackpot of $66.

“There’s no word if I’m going to get any interest on it,— McKenney joked.

Ankle Broken, Message Intact. Sen. Barbara Mikulski broke her ankle in three places, and even though she’s off her feet, she’s staying firmly on message.

The Maryland Democrat announced the accident in a Monday press release, and HOH couldn’t help but notice how Mikulski used the statement to simultaneously give a shout-out to a home-state hospital and plug health care reform efforts under way in Congress.

After breaking her ankle while walking down a flight of stairs in Baltimore, Mikulski was taken to Mercy Medical Center. She will have surgery to set the ankle, a spokeswoman said.

“Thanks to the wonderful team at Mercy, I am receiving excellent care for my broken ankle,— Mikulski said in the statement. “This is the kind of care I want for all my constituents. And while I am following doctors’ orders, I can’t wait until I’m back on both feet — continuing my work for quality, affordable health care for every American.—

She might be laid up, but you can’t say Mikulski isn’t still working.

Kiss the Cook. Everyone knows House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman loves to grill. Usually, he’s charring witnesses who appear before his panel, but it seems the California Democrat turned his attention to burgers and dogs this weekend.

Waxman, clad in shorts, a golf shirt and jacked-up tube socks, was spotted filling up his propane tank at Bethesda’s Strosniders Hardware Store on Saturday afternoon.

Maybe he was prepping to host those pesky Blue Dog Democrats at a barbecue, our snarky spy suggested.

Experts Agree. Bipartisan financial experts agree on at least one thing: The big anniversary sale going on at Nordstrom is a sound fiscal proposition.

HOH spotted two guys who know their stuff when it comes to purse strings — Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and economist and former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin — scooping up bargains Saturday afternoon at the department store’s Pentagon City outpost.

Cowboy Up. When the Wyoming Congressional delegation headed home this weekend to attend the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo, staffers from the Equality State didn’t just hang around — they threw their own boisterous bash at the Sewall-Belmont House.

On Saturday, the Wyoming State Society sponsored COWPIE — that stands for the Committee of Wyoming People in the East — an annual party for Wyoming natives who want to celebrate Frontier Days but are stuck in Washington, D.C., during the celebration.

And as far as Capitol Hill events go, COWPIE is perhaps the most casual party that takes place all year. Forget cocktail gowns and tuxedos — guests suited up in cowboy hats and denim jeans.

No stuffy classical music, either — the Wil Gravatt Band played country western tunes.

And the biggest star on hand wasn’t a political VIP — it had to be the mechanical bull that hurled guests around for most of the night. (Although Congressional staffers Randall Hopkins and Jen Barnes were named king and queen of the festivities.)

But there was one thing that remained true to Capitol Hill party form: Organizers served up lot of booze. Society President Elly Pickett tells HOH that the 325 or so guests who attended went through 48 liters of Jack Daniel’s and about 2,000 bottles of beer by the end of the night.

George Cahlink of CongressNow contributed to this report.

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