Heard on the Hill: This Pence Is a Busy Bee

Posted May 24, 2010 at 6:35pm

Mike Pence is set to take center stage in Washington next week — but he won’t be pushing the Republican legislative agenda.

Instead, this Pence is likely to be focused on his phonics.

Speller No. 75 in the upcoming Scripps National Spelling Bee is 12-year-old Michael Pence of Indiana — who, of course, shares a name with Republican Rep. Mike Pence, also of Indiana.

The younger Pence is a sixth-grader from Fishers who “delights in playing in the backyard” and watching baseball, according to his official spelling bee biography. Young Pence loved reading the “Harry Potter” series in elementary school, takes part in academic bowls at school, enjoys family vacations in Seaside, Fla.,
and is a big fan of the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Cardinals.

We aren’t sure whether the Congressman has read “Harry Potter,” but we do know he’ll be rooting for Pence next week.

“I hope he’s a better speller than this Mike Pence,” the lawmaker joked. “I wish Michael Pence all the best and know he will represent Indiana well.”

Please Stand By

A series of technical glitches created an embarrassing snafu for the House Administration Committee this month, blacking out hearings on transparency.

The committee held three meetings on the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that would create new rules designed to increase reporting of campaign contributions. Democrats say the measure will bring increased clarity to the political campaigning process. But when the panel took up the measure, the proceedings themselves weren’t very transparent.

The live Web stream on the panel’s website went out during two hearings, preventing the public from viewing the proceedings online (and forcing several reporters tuning in at their desks to sprint over to the committee room, HOH hears).

When the House Administration Committee marked up the bill last week, the video feed worked — but the audio went out for several minutes. D’oh!

“The irony is irresistible,” a GOP staffer said. “Let’s hope the Democrats who wrote the bill aren’t the same ones struggling to operate basic technology.”

From what House Administration spokesman Kyle Anderson told HOH, it sounds like the tech guys in charge of the site’s streaming feature got an earful.

“Based on my staff director’s rage during the technical glitches, our video streaming vendor wishes they were transparent to the point of being invisible,” Anderson joked.

Stealing the Salahis’ Spotlight

We still don’t know for sure whether White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi will actually appear on the Bravo reality show “Real Housewives of DC,” but one area resident also rumored to be a participant is ready for her close-up.

Catherine Ommanney, a British-born interior designer who’s married to photographer Charles Ommanney, is profiled in a three-page press release to reporters on Monday by spokeswoman Erika Paola Gutierrez. Ommanney is a “soon to be reality TV star on a widely popular reality series,” Gutierrez writes, hinting that the 38-year-old — who made headlines in the United Kingdom for claiming to have kissed Prince Harry in a bar in 2006 — will star on the show.

According to her bio, Ommanney is a mother of two daughters who is “well known for her no nonsense attitude (a big part of why she bumps heads with DC’s nationally recognized controversial couple) and the ability to make a statement.”

Hmmm. … Could she mean the Salahis?

And even before the premiere of the show that Ommanney may or may not appear on, she is plugging a book, “Inbox Full,” which details a four-year period in her love life through diary entries and text messages.

There’s no word on when the “Real Housewives” cast will be revealed; a Bravo spokeswoman was mum about an official release date Monday, although she did shoot down rumors that it would be announced today.

Clyburn, Boy Scouts Share Motto: Be Prepared

House Majority Whip James Clyburn will be given the Centennial Good Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America’s National Capital Area Council today.

The South Carolina Democrat (who also is a scoutmaster) will be honored at a luncheon at the Washington Court Hotel for exemplifying the Boy Scout oath in his daily life, HOH hears.

“The Scout’s motto translates well to a Whip’s motto — be prepared,” Clyburn tells HOH. “The values and principles I learned during my years as a Scout and scoutmaster have served me well in life, and I’m honored to receive such a distinguished award.”

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), an Eagle Scout, also will appear at the luncheon.

Overheard on the Hill

“My angel (Grace) and I are overjoyed. Our daughter has found her Mr. Right.”

— Proud papa Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), tweeting Monday about his daughter Nan Ellen’s recent engagement to Florida attorney Michael Dixon.

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