Heard on the Hill: Capitol Cops Are Back-to-Back Burger Champs

Posted June 14, 2010 at 6:19pm

They protect and serve … and know how to eat a burger. Make that 21 burgers.

The Capitol Police claimed victory Monday at the Hard Rock Cafe’s “Top Guns Legendary Burger Eating Contest,” an annual competition pitting the city’s police jurisdictions against one another to see who can scarf down the most hamburgers.

Capitol Police Officers Jim Davis, Jonathan Klipa and Frank Quick devoured 21 burgers in three minutes, easily besting rivals from the Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Park Police and D.C. Protective Services.

It was the second time the contest has been held — and the second time the threesome got the win.

“We train hard, we play hard and we eat a lot,” Klipa joked after claiming victory.

Proceeds from the event (part of the Hard Rock’s Founders’ Day celebration) went to support the Special Olympics. Meanwhile, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who showed their badges at the restaurant were able to get 71-cent burgers all day.

And while the Capitol Police team impressed with their quick eating prowess, Hot 99.5 disc jockey Toby Knapp (who emceed the event) was impressed that the Capitol cops team could eat so much and be so fit.

“They must have a tremendous fitness regime at the Capitol, and an amazing gym, because they don’t look like they eat a lot of burgers,” he said.

The Writing’s on the Wall

Restaurant Acqua al 2 in Eastern Market is quickly becoming the best place in town to spot Members off the clock — and even if you don’t see any of them, you can at least eye their John Hancock.

Washington celebrities have flocked to the Italian restaurant since it opened last month. And Acqua al 2’s decor reflects its famous clientele with dozens of white dinner plates hanging on the wall, many featuring personalized messages from patrons. Some plates are signed by friends and family of chef and owner Ari Gejdenson, while others are by athletes from local teams.

But several others are from politicians, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“To Ari & Gianni, Viva Italia. God Bless America. Acqua al 2 — fantastico. Nancy Pelosi,” the California Democrat’s plate reads.

Other plates include messages from Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who writes: “Great Food! Sen. Kay R Hagan NC.” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) writes, “Bon Apetito! Dick Durbin,” while the message by Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) reads: “Ari, Tremendo! Ed Pastor AZ-4.”

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel also signed a plate, but didn’t bother to pen a message.

At least he didn’t write any curse words.

Fred Thompson: He’s Huge Among the Bingo Set

Former Sen. Fred Thompson seems to be everywhere these days, including advertisements for American Advisors Group’s reverse mortgages. The Tennessee Republican is the company’s new spokesman, and according to the mortgage firm, that’s not just because he’s a former Senator — it’s because old people like him.

AAG spokesman Teague McGrath says Thompson “came across as very trustworthy” in the company’s market research, which included visits to bingo halls to query the company’s demographic, seniors age 62 and older. Turns out, politicians aren’t as likeable as, say, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, McGrath says, but when asked, “Who would you call for financial advice?” Thompson beat out his fellow oldsters, American icons or no.

Of course, Thompson isn’t just any retired pol: His acting career, most notably his 2002-2007 portrayal of district attorney Arthur Branch in NBC’s “Law and Order,” made him extra-recognizable.

His two-year contract will put Thompson in TV ads and on the company’s website, as well as in a print and radio campaign that the company plans to launch soon.

Thompson isn’t the only former Senator to turn product pitchman. Former Sen. Bob Dole is perhaps the most famous: The Kansas Republican touted erectile-dysfunction drug Viagra. And former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)had a short career as a product spokesman, appearing in a 2008 Super Bowl ad for Coca-Cola alongside Democratic superstar James Carville.

While it’s perfectly legal for former Members of Congress to hawk products, the practice doesn’t sit well with some watchdogs.

“It raises flags,” says Lisa Gilbert, democracy advocate for U.S PIRG, who notes that issues surrounding mortgage lending are hot topics in Congress right now. “It’s particularly interesting to see a former Member advertising something that relates to a current policy debate.”

An A-List Engagement

It’s a nice thing for your boss to throw you an engagement party — and a particularly glittery one if you are Huma Abedin and your boss happens to be Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And if your fiancé is a Member of Congress.

HOH hears that the secretary of State and former President Bill Clinton are hosting a June 30 fete at their Washington home in honor of longtime Hillary Clinton aide Abedin and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). The happy couple (the Weiner-Abedins, that is) announced their engagement last year.

No word whether goat (Weiner was famously maimed at a press conference last week by a mohair variety) will be on the menu.

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