Heard on the Hill: Tester’s Field Day (in the Field)

Posted August 9, 2010 at 6:04pm

Sen. Jon Tester is spending the first week of the August recess (well, the Senate’s first recess week) working on his farmer’s tan.

While HOH suspects at least a few Senators will take time away from work for a little R&R, the Montana Democrat will dedicate the next several days to harvesting wheat on his 1,800-acre farm. Spokeswoman Andrea Helling tells HOH that Tester spent Monday on his combine, picking up the winter wheat after he and his wife, Sharla, spent much of last week swathing the crop (that means cutting, for you nonfarmers).

Harvesting will take about four days to complete, although Helling cautions that in the world of farming, nothing ever goes smoothly.

Although Tester was elected to the Senate in 2006, the couple still run the farm, which Tester’s grandparents homesteaded about 100 years ago, Helling says. It’s a dry-land farm — meaning the Testers don’t irrigate the land — and along with wheat, the couple grow hay and peas, and in some years also lentils and barley.

After the harvest, Tester will get back to his Senate duties, traveling around Montana to meet with constituents, Helling says.

Night on the Town

While the Senate headed out of town this past weekend, political types and celebrities headed out to dinner.

A tipster tells us that recently retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal enjoyed a meal with his family at Pentagon City restaurant Champps on Friday evening. We hear he blended in with the after-work crowd as he sipped on a beer, dressed in khakis and a polo shirt. No word on whether the brew was a Bud Light Lime (his favorite suds, according to the Rolling Stone story that led to his retirement), although word is he only drank half of his pint. “I thought he wasn’t supposed to leave a fallen soldier behind,” our spy jokes.

While McChrystal was chowing down in Pentagon City, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stimulated the economy by having a double date at Penn Quarter hot spot Rasika. Bernanke and his wife, Anna, arrived at the restaurant with another couple around 6:30 p.m. Friday. The group spent several hours at the restaurant and dined on both small plates and larger entrees, a spy tells HOH.

Political types weren’t the only ones hitting the town this weekend. Actress Gabrielle Union swung by swanky sushi spot SEI for a late dinner with a friend on Saturday. We hear the 37-year-old “Bring It On” star looks so great for her age the bartender asked to see her ID before pouring her a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Who Dat With The Saints?

Lifelong New Orleans Saints fan Sen. Mary Landrieu joined other members of the “Who Dat” nation at the White House on Monday when President Barack Obama saluted the 2010 Super Bowl winners — and the Louisiana Democrat was so excited, she brought along a few party gifts.

In honor of the Saints’ quest to earn a second Super Bowl title, Landrieu handed out “Two Dat” hats to VIP guests including Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, spokesman Aaron Saunders says.

“It was 43 years in the making. … ‘Who Dat’ nation was out in full force,” Saunders adds.

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R) also attended the festivities, HOH hears.

For his part, Obama admitted his NFL loyalties lie with the Chicago Bears. But the prez noted Saints coach Sean Payton is a Chicago native and pointed out that “you’ve got to be tough to be a Chicago guy.”

“I make some tough decisions every day, but I never decided on an onside kick in the second half of the Super Bowl,” Obama said, referencing Payton’s famously risky (and successful) Super Bowl call. “That took some guts. … I’m glad that thing went all right.”

Overheard on the Hill

“Patricia Neal was a Tennessee treasure — generous as well as beautiful. Her dignity in the face of adversity has been a model for millions.”

— A statement released by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on the death of the Oscar-winning actress and Volunteer State native, who died Sunday of lung cancer.

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