Heard on the Hill: Cowboy Up

Posted November 13, 2009 at 6:16pm

HOH wouldn’t guess that a guy from the shores of Maryland and another from the Land of Lincoln were among the biggest country music fans in Congress.

[IMGCAP(1)]But it turns out that’s the case — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Aaron Schock went to Nashville on Wednesday night to attend the star-studded Country Music Awards.

The Maryland Democrat sat directly in front of the Illinois Republican during the awards ceremony, HOH hears.

Hoyer spokeswoman Katie Grant tells HOH that her boss was in Nashville doing fundraisers. And she joked that while “no one would mistake him for a country singer,— he was invited to attend the twangy celebration.

Schock spokesman Dave Natonski tells HOH that the Congressman didn’t receive any special invitation for the event — as a fan of country music, he just wanted to go to the show and ended up buying a ticket directly from the CMAs.

Goes to show, you can’t judge a guy’s musical tastes by his hometown — but HOH will offer a longneck beer to any tipster who spots Schock or Hoyer driving a dusty pickup or sporting a ten-gallon hat.

Debbie and Earl’s Excellent Adventure. They might come from opposite coasts, but Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) and Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) got in some high-quality hangout time over last week’s recess.

On Thursday, the bicoastal duo (in tabloid form, we’re dubbing them Earlie) toured the Everglades — located near Wasserman Schultz’s home — taking in the sights from an airboat that navigates the waters without disturbing plant life. Conservationist Blumenauer was so excited to see the protected wetlands, he tweeted about it and the environmental threats it faces. “Jet boating thru the Everglades with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. What a challenge to get it back in balance!—

Wasserman Schultz spokesman Jonathan Beeton tells HOH that when his boss learned that her Oregonian colleague would be attending a transportation conference in Florida, she invited him to visit the Everglades to see restoration projects firsthand and learn more about how the area is threatened by climate change.

He joked that their mode of transportation was slightly different than Blumenauer’s preferred two-wheeled variety. “It’s a far cry from a bicycle, considering an airboat travels at about 50 mph out over the wetlands,— Beeton said. “But it’s the only practical way to get out into the middle of this natural treasure.—

Later in the day, Wasserman Schultz and Blumenauer hit a fundraiser in Miami, then held a town hall to talk about health care legislation at a senior center in Pembroke Pines, Fla., where they were joined by Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.).

Hollywood on the Potomac, Via Bus. Tired of taking family members on boring trolley tours of the National Mall? Or do the noisemakers given to tourists during those boat tours drive you insane?

Then maybe it’s time to show off Washington, D.C.’s links to La-La Land next time mom and dad come to visit. Our fair town officially has joined the ranks of ultrahip cities New York and Los Angeles: We have our own movie-sites bus tour!

D.C.’s movie-buff tour lacks the trendy excitement of the New York version — there are no “Sex and the City— or “Gossip Girl— hot spots in the nation’s capital, after all. But hey, D.C. does have the Georgetown Park Mall, where scenes from “True Lies— were filmed!

New York-based On Location Tours launched the sightseeing jaunt earlier this year, according to spokeswoman Pauline Gacanja. They aren’t yet as popular as those in the Big Apple — departing from Union Station, the tour only runs on Saturday mornings on a bus that seats about 30 people. But Gacanja added that the tours have sold out each week, and that the company expects its popularity will continue to rise.

Along with the G-town mall, tourists stop by the nearby undergrad haunt the Tombs, which is featured in ’80s film favorite “St. Elmo’s Fire,— and the newly minted downtown W Hotel, the spot of exterior shots in “The Godfather, Part II— (back when it was called Hotel Washington).

In all, more than 30 locations are highlighted during the roughly three-hour adventure, including sites from movies such as “Wedding Crashers,— “Forrest Gump,— “All the President’s Men,— and television shows “The West Wing— and “24.—

No Hard Feelings. As anyone who has experienced the hard knocks of a job hunt can attest, getting turned down for a coveted gig really stings. And for some, the pain sticks around long after they have found success in another post.

“This Week— host George Stephanopoulos recalled one such memory last week during the Lab School of Washington’s 25th anniversary gala, held at the National Building Museum. As part of his duties as master of ceremonies, Stephanopoulos introduced keynote speaker Vice President Joseph Biden — and noted that years ago, he tried to get a job in the veep’s Senate office. Sadly, Stephanopoulos was denied.

There isn’t any bad blood between the pair over the employment snub, however. Stephanopoulos really likes Biden, he said, especially since the vice president has been a huge help in his career in journalism: The gaffe-prone veep dishes out plenty of “good copy,— after all.

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