Heard on the Hill: How Tweet It Is

Posted February 26, 2010 at 5:42pm

Seems like everybody is getting on Twitter these days — even the flabby flesh that sits underneath the chins of two prominent Senators.

[IMGCAP(1)]The spoof Twitter feeds JOWLS4Lieberman and McConnellsJowls poke fun at Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), calling themselves the official voice of the jowls of the two Senators.

In their Twitter bio, Lieberman’s jowls claim they “won’t be silent anymore. But we can’t exactly stand for anything, either,” while McConnell’s jowls call themselves “2 vertical meatflaps, dangling upon the face of Senator Mitch McConnell, listlessly flapping TRUTH 2 POWER!”

Since jowls can’t actually talk (or tweet), HOH contacted the real Twitterer, improv comic Penny Hollaway. The comedian, who runs the blog notsofreshfeelings.com, told HOH that she launched the feeds to express her frustration with the stalled health care reform effort.

The two jowls mostly poke fun at each other in ridiculous ways.

When a Twitter trend emerged with Republicans posting about what they would give up for Lent, for example, Lieberman and McConnell’s jowls announced they would give up using Gold Bond powder. (While Lieberman is Jewish, his jowls are not, Hollaway said.) Claiming that each copied the other, the two challenged each other to a fight on the Capitol steps.

The two feeds aren’t the first time that Hollaway has used Twitter satirically — she also ran a feed spoofing health care reform critic Betsy McCaughey (it was shut down, however) and she promises to soon launch the feed FreeDumbWorks.

“Because if you wanna suppress health care reform, it’s gonna take a Dick Armey,” Hollaway said.

Hollaway isn’t the first to poke fun at a Member via Twitter, of course.

One of HOH’s favorite Twitter spoofs is KBHPurseBoy, an anonymous feed that claims to be run by Purse Boy #37 for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas). The author chronicles his days as the official holder of the Senator’s designer handbags, in tweets such as “toting the Prada bag today. Bottles of Fiji water are heavy. This is no easy job.”

Surf’s Up? Rep. Brian Bilbray looked a little like a high schooler making a break for it after the final class bell when a Roll Call photographer snapped his picture leaving the Capitol on Friday after the week’s final votes.

The California Republican was sporting a casual pair of jeans and white tennis shoes beneath an otherwise work-appropriate blazer and button-down shirt. While jeans and tennies aren’t specifically verboten on the House floor, rules require that Members’ dress be “appropriate.”

Bilbray spokesman Fritz Chaleff explains that his boss was rushing to catch a plane from Dulles back home to the Golden State and wanted to be comfortable during the six-hour flight. Bilbray, an avid Southern California surfer, was clearly eager to leave Washington’s frigid climes behind. “He normally has a very professional demeanor in the office,” Chaleff says.

But, dude, it was almost the weekend.

Congress Chows Down. Capitol Hill denziens are sometimes called power-hungry, but as it turns out, a lot of them are just plain hungry.

All of the food in Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria sold out by the time that it closed Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard reports to HOH. And Wednesday set an all-time record for the number of patrons served in the House cafeterias, with 14,894 people picking up a bite to eat or a beverage at one of the chamber’s establishments.

Wednesday’s numbers are noteworthy, considering that during a busy day while the House is in session, about 12,000 transactions are completed. When the chamber is out of session, usually about 7,000 transactions take place.

It’s unclear why so many people visited the cafeterias Wednesday, but HOH guesses that a special featuring chocolate-based treats at several of the chamber’s eateries drew some of the crowd.

A Bicameral Bundle of Joy. Capitol Hill might have shut down in last month’s back-to-back blizzards, but that didn’t stop two Congressional offices from celebrating the surprise arrival of a new member of their extended family.

Sarah Sagely Klotz, a legislative correspondent for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and husband Brian Klotz, press secretary for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), welcomed son Harrison Edward on Feb. 10. Young Harrison certainly knew how to make an entrance: Not only did he arrive during the second of two massive snowstorms, but he also showed up five weeks early, weighing in at 4.8 pounds and measuring 17 inches long.

And Harrison has already received some VIP visitors — Inhofe braved the snow to be the first elected official to visit the newborn in the hospital.

The Gefilte Defense. Here’s how to ensure that there will be no party crashers at the White House’s next state dinner: Serve gefilte fish.

The distinctive poached carp delicacy — a traditional Jewish, um, treat — will be on the menu if House Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) has his way.

During a committee hearing Thursday, Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to assist him with obstacles that he’s faced in getting gefilte fish produced in his district (he boasted that he has the world’s only processor of the stuff) to Israel before the start of Passover. Clinton cheekily assured him that the issue would “rise to the highest levels of our government.”

That joke at the expense of the fish dish opened the floodgates to all manner of piscine humor.

“We’ll eat them at the next state dinner,” Berman said to laughter from the audience.

And Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), too, seemed tempted. “Mr. Manzullo, I’d like to place an order for two jars of the gefilte fish,” he said.

Perhaps the Secret Service — which took a lot of flak for missing three party crashers at the last White House state dinner — would welcome the dish on the menu as an additional security measure.

Overheard on the Hill. “I think Leader Boehner is particuarlly [sic] livid about the tanning bed tax. Surprised he hasn’t mentioned it.”

— Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), getting in a dig at perpetually bronzed House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) while live-blogging Thursday’s White House health care summit. Weiner summed up the all-day confab as “actually fun in a wonky kind of way.”

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