Heard on the Hill: Glowing Review

Posted October 13, 2009 at 6:39pm

Along with praise from former President Bill Clinton and other prominent people, it turns out Sen. Bob Menendez’s new book has received a favorable review from one leading (and muy caliente) Hollywood star.

[IMGCAP(1)]“Desperate Housewives— actress Eva Longoria Parker contributed a jacket review for the New Jersey Democrat’s recently released tome, “Growing American Roots,— joining Clinton and Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, in offering props.

“Senator Menendez’s book shares invaluable lessons for all of us who call ourselves Americans,— Longoria Parker writes. “We should be proud to be living the American dream, and at the same time we must take a stand and speak for the rights of all.—

Longoria Parker is quickly becoming a pro on Capitol Hill. The actress created a media frenzy when she appeared at a Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday at a kickoff event to promote the upcoming National Museum of the American Latino. The actress is a member of the 23-person commission that will study the potential creation of the museum, which would honor the cultural and political history of the country’s Latino community.

Political VIPs who appeared at the press conference included Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. And Menendez, who also appeared at the presser, even noted that Longoria Parker “was kind enough to put a little forward in my book,— referring to the blurb.

Senate Finance as Catwalk. Sen. Olympia Snowe was the epicenter of Washington speculation Tuesday. Would she vote for the health care bill or wouldn’t she? And more importantly, what would she be wearing?

The Huffington Post ran an online photo gallery focused on the Maine Republican’s fashion sense and urged visitors to vote on whether her signature suit-and-bold-jewelry ensembles were “Matronly or Magnificent.— That US Weekly-like treatment had some of Snowe’s fans bristling.

“On a day of one of the most significant and complex votes in her 36-year career, to have the focus on what she’s wearing is really trivializing,— says David Snepp, a former Snowe spokesman who is now in the private sector.

“How come no one was talking about what color Max Baucus [D-Mont.] was wearing?— smirked another Senate staffer.

And even if some saw the poll as insulting, Snowe’s look has gotten plenty of thumbs-ups. “Senator Snowe’s style reflects her independence as both a fashion standout and as apolitician,— says Kurt Bardella, another former Snowe press secretary, who’s currently flacking for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

[IMGCAP(2)]Another former Senate aide adds, “Matronly or magnificent? What kind of choice is that? Most of her suits are beautiful and fit her sense of style, which is neither garish nor gaudy just elegantly Senatorial. A few of the other women Senators — no names here — should take a cue from her.—

Snepp, too, agrees that his former boss’s polished look is “magnificent— — not that it matters, of course.

Green With Praise. Along with offering greening tips to fellow movie stars, actor-turned-environmental-advocate Ed Begley Jr. also has some tree-hugging advice for Congress.

It turns out Begley is a big fan of the Green the Capitol Initiative, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) effort to create a sustainable Congressional campus. The “St. Elsewhere— star chatted with HOH about the greening project during a sustainability conference held at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday and recalled that during a trip to Capitol Hill last year, he was impressed with efforts to bring energy-saving light bulbs, recyclable silverware and electric vehicles to the campus.

And Begley even had a suggestion, telling HOH that the Capitol’s greening team should look at ways to recycle the campus’s greywater, the wastewater generated from processes such as showers, dishwashers and sinks. At his own home, Begley uses this water to help with irrigation, he said.

Whether Congress will take up the suggestion is unclear. As of now, the campus does not recycle any of its greywater, an Architect of the Capitol spokesman confirmed.

But overall the Capitol’s greening team is doing a good job, Begley said. The actor noted that the Green the Capitol team has had to get creative — you can’t just throw a couple of solar panels on the Capitol Dome, for example. “It’s difficult in a place like the Capitol, because it has so much architectural importance,— Begley added.

Begley is a big tree-hugger — his own Los Angeles home is sustainable, and he even hosts a show, set to premiere on Oct. 21 on Planet Green, in which he helps fellow celebs green their homes. And Chief Administrative Officer spokesman Jeff Ventura noted that Begley is no stranger to the Green the Capitol project — when the actor came to Capitol Hill last year to lobby on green issues, he also stopped by a press conference to unveil the CAO’s first all-electric vehicle and briefly met with Green the Capitol staffers.

“Ed Begley Jr. is clearly one of the biggest names in greening and we were delighted to meet with him last year,— Ventura said. “We’ll take any supportive words Ed has to offer us.—

Mystery Theater. If you want to impress the jaded members of the Capitol Hill press corps, you’ve got to tease them a little … or a lot.

A press release crossed HOH’s desk Tuesday that caught our eye for its sheer mysteriousness. “Myrick, Shadegg, Broun To Make Public A National Security Threat On Capitol Hill,— the release reads, and provides the date and time for an event this morning with Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) and Paul Broun (R-Ga.).

And what might this grave-yet-vague “national security threat— be? Well, guess you better show up at the event to find out. The release only said that the members would call for a federal investigation into “the activities of a non-profit group.— Which nonprofit? They’re not saying.

Oh, and “members of the media are strongly encouraged to attend.—

Thanks.

Myrick spokeswoman Taylor Stanford wasn’t budging when HOH pressed her for more details. “Just trying to maximize coverage,— she explained. The only detail she let slip: It has to do with access to Congressional offices.

And the mystery thickens.

Overheard on the Hill. “Tom DeLay may be a wild thing on the dance floor, but when it comes to boosting ratings, he seems to have two left feet.—

— An excerpt from an Oct. 13 Los Angeles Times article on dwindling viewership for ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.— Although the former House Majority Leader danced a wild cha-cha, DWTS’s ratings are at their lowest since the show’s premiere season in 2005.

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