Heard on the Hill: Queen Clyburn?
Kathy Griffin might be a D-list diva, but she says House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) is royalty — of a sort.
[IMGCAP(1)]”I’m meeting with this big queen named Jim Clyburn,” Griffin, who is in Washington this week to lobby for an end to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, told HOH. “I’m going to be the first person to ever walk into his office and go, Hey, girl!'”
Griffin is also slated to meet with the chamber’s two openly gay Congressmen, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) (“Leave it to the gays to have two first names,” she joked) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) (“Jared’s a good gay name”).
And although she’s excited to meet with Clyburn, upon learning that he was happily married, she changed her plans somewhat. “So you’re saying that I should stay with Levi and not dump him for Jim Clyburn?” she asked HOH.
That’s a reference to Levi Johnston — the Alaskan teen famous for fathering the out-of-wedlock grandchild of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) — with whom Griffin went on several publicity-stunt dates. Griffin tells us, tongue-in-cheek, that she and Johnston are in a “monogamous and committed relationship that has nothing to do with publicity.”
Griffin is leading a rally sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign on Thursday in Freedom Plaza. Griffin, a longtime supporter of gay rights and a beloved figure in the LGBT community, says she wants to push Congress and the White House to revoke the policy, which she says is out of step with the attitudes most people have toward gays in the military.
“Congress is homophobic, but I don’t think the American people are,” she says. She plans to ask attendees of the rally to send a three-sentence e-mail to their Members of Congress urging them to act quickly, or face some ticked-off voters in November.
Griffin is famous for her show “My Life on the D-list” — it sounds like the “D” could stand for “demanding.”
Pacific Theater. A bicameral battle could be brewing between Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) after the Senator said during a Monday radio interview that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has Members “liquored up on sake” and is making a “suicide run” to pass health care reform.
The kamikaze reference didn’t sit too well with Honda, a Japanese-American who spent part of his childhood in a World War II internment camp. The chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus on Tuesday said he is “disheartened” by the “racially tinged rhetoric.”
“There is a way to engage in healthy debate without alienating Asian-Americans, who are an important part of this democracy and health care reform,” Honda said.
A Graham spokesman didn’t apologize for the Senator’s remarks. “Based upon what we’re hearing from House Democrats about how they plan to pass health care without ever voting on it, it appears they’re hitting the moonshine, too,” spokesman Kevin Bishop said.
“Sen. Graham’s basic point is what House Democrats are doing makes no sense to a sober person,” Bishop said. He pointed out that several years ago Graham received the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation’s Award for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights.
Office Space. South Dakota might be full of wide-open spaces, but quarters could get a little too close for comfort for Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and a potential primary challenger.
The Democrat’s Sioux Falls district office is located on the same floor in the same office building as Hildebrand Strategies, the political consulting firm run by Steve Hildebrand, the ex-Obama campaign official threatening to challenge Herseth Sandlin. Hildebrand told CNN on Tuesday that he might take on the incumbent if she votes against the health care bill.
That could make for some mighty awkward elevator rides, since Hildebrand Strategies (Suite 105) is just down the hall from Herseth Sandlin’s digs (Suite 108). The building, according to a real estate listing for another unit, is a renovated historic building on the east bank of downtown Sioux Falls.
“Light-filled” and full of “historic character,” the building could feel a little more cramped if Hildebrand decides to run.
Erin Go Bragh. St. Patrick’s Day in D.C. is notoriously epic — it’s one of the few times during the year that the city’s Irish pubs can get away with charging a cover, after all.
And the House cafeterias will offer some Irish-themed treats.
Among the specials: The Rayburn cafeteria will offer sausage and potato coddle (kind of like a casserole) for $5.25 and corned beef and provolone pizza for $3.50 a slice; Cannon Cafe is offering corned beef and cabbage on Irish soda bread with coleslaw and a soda for $5.95; and the Rayburn Deli has a Reuben sandwich — with corned beef, swiss, braised cabbage and spicy mustard on marble rye — for $6.25.
Stage Dads. Former Rep. Joe DioGuardi (R-N.Y.) announced Tuesday that he will run for U.S. Senate in New York. But despite having served two terms in Congress, nobody wanted to talk about him — everybody wanted dirt on his daughter, “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi. (An exasperated Joe DioGuardi even joked, “What am I, chopped liver here?” during what became a Kara-themed appearance on “Fox and Friends.”)
But should he make it to the Senate, DioGuardi won’t be the only Member with ties to the popular reality competition: Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) daughter, Ayla Brown, competed on season five (which was pre-Kara, by the way).
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