Heard on the Hill: Civics, Not Civility
A Capitol tour is always more exciting when a Member of Congress conducts it, or even just stops by — aside from the whole quasi-celebrity aspect, Members can share insider tidbits that your typical guide (or fresh-faced intern) might not know.
[IMGCAP(1)]It’s even better when that Member takes a jab at one of his colleagues.
Rep. Mark Kirk majorly dissed Sen. Roland Burris and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich while visiting with a group of uniform-wearing students who were touring Capitol Hill, according to an HOH tipster who was hanging out nearby. The Illinois Republican told the group of kids — who our tipster guessed were likely in junior high school — that Burris is “the worst— of all 100 Senators, our tipster said. Kirk then elaborated about the Illinois Democrat, noting that in the Senate, “no one talks to him— and “no one works with him,— according to our tipster.
As for Blagojevich? Kirk called him a “complete embarrassment— to the Prairie State.
A Burris spokesman did not return our request for comment by press time. And while the forum might have been an odd one — Members usually share wonky stories about casting votes or fun facts about the Capitol’s history during such tours — it isn’t a surprise that Kirk would diss the former governor or the Democratic Senator. After all, he’s running for Burris’ Senate seat, which the Senator has announced he’ll vacate at the end of his term.
And when HOH contacted Kirk’s office, spokesman Eric Elk used the opportunity to take another jab at Burris and Blago.
“Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris made Illinois the laughingstock of the nation — and they’d probably be two of the only people in America who would disagree with that assessment,— Elk said.
HOH’s Dumb Criminals. As the saying goes, “When you gotta go, you gotta go,— but it’s probably a good idea to avoid going in front of a cop.
Here’s one example, taken from the criminal files of the Capitol Police.
A Capitol Police officer was performing a routine inspection of a city bus at a security checkpoint at 200 First St. NW at about 8 p.m. Sept. 14. During the inspection, the bus driver told the officer that there were “two intoxicated individuals— aboard the bus, according to a police summary report. One of the men, identified by police as 46-year-old Leroy Damon Jr., stepped off the bus and “became loud and urinated on the sidewalk as pedestrians walked by.—
Um, major ew.
And a major no-no: The officer promptly arrested Damon, who was sent to Capitol Police headquarters and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
See and Be Seen. Maybe it was the pleasant weather or just a busy weekend, but HOH operatives eyed plenty of D.C. notables out and about over the past several days.
HOH spotted Chief Justice John Roberts at Friday’s opening night performance of “Phedre,— starring Academy Award winner Helen Mirren, at the Shakespeare Theatre’s Harman Center for the Arts. Roberts and his wife, Jane, arrived at the theater just a few moments before the show began, but they did stick around to mingle with fellow theatergoers after the production.
Also spotted by an HOH tipster Friday: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), taking a slow solo jog around the Ellipse. Romney wore a T-shirt and shorts, our spy noted.
On Sunday afternoon, another HOH spy spotted newly sworn-in Secretary of the Army (and former Congressman) John McHugh heading toward the handbags section at the Nordstrom department store at Pentagon City Mall. McHugh was dressed in civilian garb — a black sweater and jeans — and was carrying a bag from the Gap, the spy said.
Just moments later, our spy also eyed MSNBC Congressional correspondent Kelly O’Donnell near the cosmetics section, wearing chinos, a gray T-shirt and a black cardigan.
Overheard on the Hill. “Dad is really counting on us so now’s a great time to show your support!! Vote early, Vote often!!!—
— Dani DeLay, in a Monday e-mail, showing she’s as adept at whipping votes as her father, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The Texas Republican was set to appear on the reality competition “Dancing With the Stars.—
Jessica Brady and Jennifer Bendery contributed to this report.
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