Heard on the Hill: A New Career for Baucus — Lumberjack?

Posted June 4, 2010 at 4:58pm

Sen. Max Baucus isn’t exactly your stereotypical pampered Senator. The outdoorsy Montana Democrat likes to run ultramarathons (that’s 50 miles) and go hiking in his spare time, after all.

So when Baucus came home recently to discover that a tree had toppled over in the front yard of his house on Capitol Hill, he didn’t summon his staff for help or even phone a tree-cutting expert.

He just took care of it himself.

HOH hears Baucus grabbed his handy chain saw and calmly dismantled the fallen tree, stacking the wood against his house for future use. “For the Senator, after spending his days cutting through the partisan gridlock of the Senate, cutting through a tree is hardly a problem,” his office tells HOH.

And HOH guesses wielding that chain saw is probably a great way to relieve Senatorial-related stress, too.

Summer Interns Gone A-Hunting

They might be in for months of answering phones and constituent mail, but the interns in the office of Sen. Claire McCaskill at least began the summer with fun and games.

In lieu of a more traditional (read: bo-ring) orientation, the interns for the Missouri Democrat were sent around the office and the Capitol complex on a scavenger hunt meant to introduce them to their new surroundings.

The group of fresh-faced interns was spotted scampering around the Capitol on Thursday, at one point poking into the Senate Daily Press Gallery, mistaking it for the Radio-TV Gallery (the kindly scribes there redirected them).

McCaskill spokeswoman Laura Myron tells HOH that the administrative staff put together the hunt, which was designed to help the interns get to know their new co-workers and their new stomping grounds.

The interns were given a list of things to track down, which involved tasks such as taking pictures in front of offices belonging to members of the Missouri delegation or identifying the native Missourians on McCaskill’s staff.

The winner, Myron says, gets a “unique opportunity to do something in the office.” Like, say, fetching coffee for the higher-ups?

Smith’s Wheels Of Fortune

Summer hasn’t officially begun yet, but don’t tell that to former Sen. Gordon Smith.

The Oregon Republican, who now heads the National Association of Broadcasters, was spotted last week in total school’s-out-for-summer mode, tooling around the streets of Dupont Circle in a to-die-for Aston Martin Vantage.

The top of Smith’s high-performance sports car (color: candy-apple red ) was down, and our tipster says Smith seemed to be enjoying the “wind in his hair.”

Color HOH jealous.

Condi: From Posh to Sporty

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice usually favors sleek suits, but last week, she seemed to be contemplating a much sportier look. An HOH tipster caught Rice ogling two athletic jerseys at the silent auction at the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation’s “Night of Heroes” gala at the Ritz-Carlton.

Rice, who was one of the evening’s speakers, looked interested in a jersey signed by the entire Washington Capitals 2009-10 team and a Green Bay Packers jersey signed by Aaron Rodgers.

“I’m a huge sports fan,” she told a fellow attendee.

Rice gave a “generous” cash donation but didn’t wind up with either jersey, we hear. Perhaps she was deterred by their value: Both items were listed as “priceless.”

Overheard on the Hill

“They’re not gaffes. They’re militant truths that I think other politicians may not say, because it may not be what they think people want to hear. But Joe tells the truth, and I think that’s the beauty of who he is.”

— Jill Biden, on hubby Vice President Joseph Biden’s tendency to speak off script, in the July issue of Marie Claire.

Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.