Heard on the Hill: Turlington Burns Is a Model Citizen

Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:01pm

Model-turned-advocate Christy Turlington Burns is becoming a Capitol Hill regular.

Just a month after making an appearance alongside Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) to promote recently introduced legislation that would provide assistance for global maternal health efforts, Turlington Burns returned Wednesday to join Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) at a forum about the issue.

As an ambassador for the humanitarian group CARE, Turlington Burns has frequently visited the Hill in the past several years to lobby for the cause. She isn’t just another pretty celebrity, either: The runway star visited Peru to see how community-based programs there are reducing maternal mortality rates and even directed a documentary, “No Woman, No Cry,” about maternal health around the globe.

Oh, and she also studied for a master’s degree in public health at Columbia University. No big deal.

Turlington Burns told HOH that she’s made several close contacts on Capitol Hill in the past few years, including Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio). The model is particularly close to Capps, noting that the Congresswoman cheered her on when she decided to go for her master’s degree.

“I’ve made some pretty good friends,” she said. “Each time I come, I meet more.”

Turlington Burns added that she’s optimistic and hopes some male Members will join the cause for maternal health.

“I think we’re at a critical place,” she said.

The Dye Is Cast

Has Sen. Ben Nelson crossed over into the dark side?

HOH spies say the Nebraska Democrat’s lush mane of hair looks much less gray than it did just a week ago, a change that has some of the Hill’s more discerning hair critics crying foul. And it isn’t Nelson’s first brush with an unfortunate coloring job: HOH brought you the tale of a rinse gone bad in July 2007 that left Nelson with dark chestnut locks.

At the time, Nelson’s press shop offered HOH a variety of hilarious mock excuses, ranging from the policy-oriented (“the recent immigration debate caused his natural color to come out of the shadows”) to flat-out denial (“he didn’t color his hair, he just had the gray ones removed via electrolysis”).

This time, Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson suggested that his boss’s new look was a deliberate political move. “He touched it up
to draw Carly Fiorina’s
attention away from Barbara Boxer,” Thompson tells HOH.

Fiorina, the California Republican who is challenging the Senator, was infamously caught on tape last week criticizing her Democratic opponent’s hair as being “soo yesterday.”

HOH is impressed by Nelson’s gallant gesture on behalf of his fellow Senator. … How nice it must be to have colleagues you would “dye” for.

A Small Act of Kindness

Normally, HOH writes about Members of Congress doing silly things or saying silly things or wearing silly things. But even we couldn’t help but share this oh-so-sweet story.

An HOH spy eyed Rep. Dennis Kucinich walking down Second Street Southeast close to the House office buildings on Tuesday evening and noticed that the Ohio Democrat stopped to greet a man who was sitting on nearby steps. Kucinich spent a few minutes chatting with the man, who appeared to be homeless, and offered him some money, our spy says.

Sigh … Kucinich’s kindness is almost enough to melt HOH’s cold, cold heart. Almost.

Dubya’s Top Advisers Reunite

It’s like the early 2000s all over again!

HOH hears former Vice President Dick Cheney and Fox News analyst Karl Rove (who, of course, worked closely with the ex-veep during former President George W. Bush’s time at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.) attended a party held in the private dining room at the Penn Quarter restaurant the Source on Monday evening.

Both of the conservative titans dined on heirloom tomato salad, and Cheney chowed down on the short ribs, according to an HOH spy.

Alison McSherry contributed to today’s HOH.

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