Heard on the Hill: It’s Whose Party?

Posted November 6, 2009 at 4:15pm

It was a business-as-usual reception for Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) marking a year since his election, until a surprise party-crasher turned the gathering into a bizarre-o scene.[IMGCAP(1)]The party last Wednesday in honor of Wicker’s leadership political action committee, hosted by FedEx Corp. at its offices near the Senate office buildings, was wrapping up and Republicans — including Wicker’s staffers and a few current and former Senators — were still mixing and mingling. A tall man walking two dogs on leashes sauntered in, according to a guest who witnessed the strange happenings. Wicker walked over to introduce himself to the new guest, and the interloper identified himself as Rep. John Hall. In an odd turnabout, the New York Democrat then thanked Wicker for coming to the event. A gracious but slightly mystified Wicker replied, “Of course.—Hall proceeded to work the room, thanking the guests for being there. And it suddenly became clear, our spy said, that Hall thought he was at his own event. Only no one wanted to break the bad news to Hall, since by the time people realized what was going on, the Congressman had slipped into host mode, and no one wanted to embarrass him.As the gossip spread around the room, meanwhile, Hall’s dogs, too, had made themselves at home. They were “sniffing everything, trying to get food,— the tipster said. And most embarrassingly, the pooches even planted their noses in a few distinguished attendees’ crotches (er, sorry, Sen. Lott).Hall spokeswoman Meaghan Smith explained that her boss didn’t mean to hijack Wicker’s party. “He was going to a different reception. … He got the address wrong,— she said. But she joked that he was on a reconnaissance mission. “He wanted to see what the food is like on the other side of the aisle,— she said. A Wicker spokesman didn’t comment on the events.Still, the strange happenings provided some comic relief. “It definitely wasn’t your typical reception,— one attendee said.Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.