Heard on the Hill: Congressional Colon Cleanse?

Posted October 5, 2009 at 6:30pm

Rep. José Serrano wants all his friends — on Facebook and elsewhere — to know that he does not, in fact, endorse a colon cleanse as a way to lose weight.

[IMGCAP(1)]Forgive us for thinking the New York Democrat was a diet pitchman: He said he was on Facebook. Over the weekend, Serrano’s Facebook status advocated a digestive detox (ick!) as a way to drop a few pounds.

The problem was that the message, which directed viewers to a Web site hawking the product, didn’t actually come from Serrano — it was from a hacker.

After realizing his profile had been hijacked, Serrano, who unlike some Congressional Facebook users maintains his own profile, posted a status update correcting the previous one. In it, he noted that he isn’t shilling for a weight-loss product and that, in fact, doing so would violate ethics laws and maybe even land him in jail.

(Although he noted that he does promote the ethically sound causes of “peace, justice, equality, an end to war and all forms of bigotry.—)

On Monday, the pesky hacker again switched Serrano’s status, and Serrano again posted his own message.

He told HOH that he’s planning to report the problem to Facebook and warned other users to keep an eye out for bad actors.

“It’s not good,— he said. “I use Facebook as a way to … communicate. I keep it light, like I use it to discuss when the Yankees lose.—

Coburn’s Hair Apparent. Now that it’s fall, it’s time to wear cozy sweaters, break out heavier blankets and — if you’re Sen. Tom Coburn — grow a beard.

The Oklahoma Republican has been spotted in recent weeks sporting a thick thatch of chin hair, and spokesman John Hart told HOH that it’s in preparation for the cooler months. It isn’t the first time that Coburn has put aside his razor for a fuzzier look, but Coburn is blazing fashion trails in the Senate, where bare chins are practically the rule. (Illinois Democratic Sen. Roland Burris has a mustache, but otherwise the chamber is facial-hair-free.)

Despite Hart’s insistence that the new beard is for warmth, HOH suspects the fiscally conservative Coburn cut his family budget’s earmark for razors.

Can You Hear Me Now? The Senate floor can be a powerful bully pulpit … that is, if the sound is working.

Sen. Byron Dorgan came to the Senate floor to give what we’re certain was an important speech Monday afternoon. When the North Dakota Democrat began speaking, a fuzzy static-like sound drowned his voice.

Dorgan stayed calm under pressure, quickly switching to a new microphone, but the static sound only got worse. So he switched microphones again, and that actually got rid of the static — but also the rest of the sound.

At this point, C-SPAN posted a graphic reading “Audio Difficulties— as it broadcast the chamber’s proceedings. By the time sound was restored (sans the static), two minutes had passed since Dorgan initially came to the floor.

HOH still isn’t sure the exact reason for the static, as a spokeswoman for the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, which oversees the Senate Recording Studio, did not respond to our request for comment by press time. A Dorgan spokesman also didn’t respond to our request for comment.

Casual Friday. What’s a guy to do when his city loses its Olympic dreams? An HOH spy eyed Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. sitting outside the Front Page bar and restaurant in Dupont Circle on Friday afternoon, just hours after Chicago lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. The Illinois Democrat, looking relaxed in a dark suit with a white shirt (top button undone), was sipping on a bottle of Corona, our spy said.

Fast Women. HOH eyed Rep. Loretta Sanchez running in the Army Ten-Miler on Sunday morning. The California Democrat ran alongside at least one member of her staff and averaged an impressive 10-minute mile, HOH hears. Fellow California Democrat Rep. Jane Harman also ran in Sunday’s run, which raises money for soldiers and their families.

Cheesecake Diplomacy. It’s tough to pin down former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. But on Saturday afternoon, the famous brooch model was at the Cheesecake Factory in Friendship Heights.

Albright, who held a book signing and fashion show to celebrate her new book “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box— at nearby Neiman Marcus, was spotted chowing down on a turkey burger. Accompanied by a female dining companion, she affably signed autographs for admirers.

Jessica Brady contributed to this report.

Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.