Heard on the Hill: Department of Glass Houses

Posted February 24, 2010 at 6:52pm

Democrats are accusing a GOP challenger of being a “drunk-driving enthusiast” — but wait, the Democrats’ camp might have a boozy problem of its own.

[IMGCAP(1)]In press releases, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has slammed Republican Craig Miller — the former chain restaurant exec who just announced he’s running against Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.) — with alcohol-related put-downs, making reference to Miller’s statements in a restaurant trade magazine questioning a federal blood alcohol level standard.

“It’s Miller Time: Craig Miller wants you to have another drink for the road,” the DCCC said in one release. Another referred to Miller as a “failed CEO and drunk driving enthusiast.”

But, looky there, HOH remembered that not so long ago, Kosmas spokesman Marc Goldberg got into a little booze-related trouble himself. Goldberg was convicted of assaulting a fellow patron at a Dupont Circle bar last August, a look back at the Roll Call archives tells us. We couldn’t help but see a glass-house-stone-throwing situation afoot.

Neither Goldberg nor the DCCC would comment for HOH, but needless to say, Miller’s supporters saw the hypocrisy.

“You’d think Rep. Kosmas would go to great lengths to avoid a discussion about irresponsible drinking and the politicians who condone it,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Sere told HOH. Sere, of course, took the opportunity to get in another jab. “But it’s hard to blame her — with Central Florida’s unemployment rate at 12 percent, who wants to talk about jobs?” Sere added.

Capitol Battle Royal. Life in the Senate is a lot like a professional wrestling bout — there are hard hits, cheap shots, competitors dressed in funny outfits and a whole lot of smack talk.

So when World Wrestling Entertainment’s Montel Vontavious Porter (known to fans simply as MVP, seen above) visited the chamber on Wednesday, HOH wondered which he thought was the bigger challenge — fighting off steel chairs in the squared circle or persuading Senators to pay attention to his cause.

“I can say, this doesn’t hurt as much — physically,” he joked.

The wrestler appeared at a briefing featuring Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, an intensive 17-month education program that targets teenage high school dropouts. MVP looked like any typical Capitol Hill visitor — albeit a much more muscular one — ditching his typical wrestling ensemble of a flashy red spandex unitard for a dapper suit and tie accessorized with diamond stud earrings.

A Youth Challenge celebrity spokesman, MVP told HOH that he knows firsthand the dangers that at-risk youth can face. He spent much of his high school years in and out of juvenile detention facilities before getting convicted of armed robbery at age 16 and sentenced to more than 18 years in jail.

MVP spent nearly 10 years behind bars, but he found success post-prison after a corrections officer involved in professional wrestling offered to train him. Now that he is a wrestling superstar, MVP hopes to help at-risk youth avoid the corrections system by working to expand the Youth Challenge program to all 50 states, he said.

And MVP might need to use his muscle to get that done. Panelists urged activists in the audience to lobby governors to fund the program in their own states, leading former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise to joke, “I suggest that if the governor doesn’t listen, send MVP.”

A Different Shade of Green. Rep. André Carson is a strong supporter of green causes. Well … maybe not every green cause.

The Indiana Democrat joined celebs such as actress Gloria Reuben and rapper/DJ Biz Markie on Wednesday at a rally for the Hip Hop Caucus Clean Energy Now Bus Tour, urging activists to lobby Members of Congress on global warming issues. Carson — who came to the stage to beats spun by Biz Markie — focused his remarks on the need to spend tax dollars to create green jobs, telling activists that he’s for “greening the block the right way.”

“Not the sticky-icky way,” Carson said, later adding: “That’s another subject.”

“Sticky-icky,” as we imagine some HOH readers know, is a euphemism for a particularly potent blend of marijuana.

While the Congressman’s marijuana-themed gag drew laughter from the crowd, most of the talk was centered on climate change issues. Wednesday’s event wrapped up a weeklong bus tour that began in New Orleans and made stops in cities including St. Louis, Indianapolis and Little Rock, Ark., with politicians, celebrities and activists rallying for global warming causes along the way.

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood, the president of the Hip Hop Caucus, made sure to point out that the bus the team rode in is carbon neutral.

Taking the (Red) Bull by the Horns. House staffers are about to get their wings.

Energy drink company Red Bull will give away samples of the Red Bull Energy Shot starting at noon Friday in the cafeterias in the Longworth, Rayburn and Ford House office buildings. According to the beverage maker, the Energy Shot is a smaller version of its popular flagship product that promises to pack the same energy-filled punch.

Red Bull employees plan to hang around until 2 p.m., or until their free samples run out — although HOH hears cafeteria officials have asked the beverage company to bring plenty of extra supplies, knowing stressed-out, caffeine-loving Hill staffers will likely be eager to sample the new product.

Overheard on the Hill. “Celebrating my birthday with staff & Hadassah this afternoon — they threw a Sinatra ‘My Way’ themed birthday party in our office.”

— Sen. Joe Lieberman letting folks know his 68th b-day plans via Twitter. The Connecticut Independent Democrat also posted party pics of guests, including his wife, Hadassah, and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Roland Burris (D-Ill.).

Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.

Can’t get enough HOH? Get a midday dose of fun and gossip with HOH’s One-Minute Recess, delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here — because everyone deserves more recess.