Heard on the Hill: Look Out, Madam Speaker — and That Goes for You, Too, Mom

Posted September 10, 2010 at 5:03pm

There could be a Speaker Pingree overseeing the House … although it might not be who you think.

In its October issue, fashion mag Marie Claire names Hannah Pingree, the Maine Speaker and daughter of Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), the “next Nancy Pelosi.”

The issue, which also dishes info on fall fashion picks and A-list mini-celeb Suri Cruise, says Hannah Pingree has “shown there’s nothing remotely small-town about her politics — or her ambitions.”

Hannah Pingree won a seat in the state Legislature at 24 and became Speaker at 32. She is the youngest female Speaker in the United States.

Her term ends this year, and she tells the magazine she would “love to run again — maybe for Maine’s governorship.”

And should Hannah Pingree ever eye a seat in Congress, she’s already lined up one supporter. “Hannah has great Maine roots, is practical, compassionate and tough as nails — it made her an excellent Speaker of the Maine House and I am sure she could do the same in D.C.,” mom Chellie Pingree tells HOH. “I’d vote for her.”

Republican Rivalry

While staffers for House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) may be on the same team when it comes to legislating, it’s a different story on the softball field.

Aides from the Republicans’ offices faced off on the softball diamond Thursday night. What began as a “friendly scrimmage” turned into a beat-down that ended with Team Boehner winning 22-8.

No word on whether Boehner or Cantor hit the field.

Kaufman Rides the Rails

Vice President Joseph Biden would be so proud!

An HOH spy saw Sen. Ted Kaufman getting ready to board an Amtrak train at Union Station on Thursday afternoon. It was a scene that reminded our tipster of Biden — whom the Delaware Democrat replaced in the Senate — as the veep famously took the train home to the First State every night during his decades in the Senate.

Unlike Amtrak Joe, Kaufman typically doesn’t commute to and from Delaware each day; he maintains an apartment in Washington where he can crash while Congress is in session.

Kaufman spent part of last week on Capitol Hill getting some work done and traveled home to Delaware on Thursday evening, HOH hears.

Presidential Ambitions for 2012?

While Haley Barbour may be tight-lipped in public about a potential run for president in 2012, an HOH spy reports that behind closed doors, the Mississippi governor is hard at work on his campaign.

The tipster tells us that Barbour spent last week meeting with Ed Gillespie, a Republican strategist and chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee, to discuss his “imminent” run for the presidency.

Barbour’s office confirms the guv was in D.C., although Press Secretary Dan Turner won’t say whether the visit had to do with a presidential run. In typical D.C. fashion, Turner gave a nondenial denial, saying, “Gov. Barbour has been very consistent with the message that he is not considering anything like that until after the November elections and then he’ll see if there is anything to consider.”

As for Gillespie, he claims the two are old pals.

“It wouldn’t be surprising for me to see Gov. Barbour — my old boss, former business partner, [Republican National Committee] chair predecessor and longtime friend. He chairs the [Republican Governors Association] and I chair the RSLC, so we would naturally talk about state races in November,” he says.

One Word: Denzel

Members of Congress return to town this week, and with them come celebrities itching to push their cause du jour — and HOH is weak at the knees about the impending arrival of one Academy Award winner.

Uber-dreamy actor Denzel Washington is slated to appear at the National Press Club on Wednesday morning for a press conference sponsored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Washington will join R&B star Ashanti to announce a new effort to curb rising high school dropout rates.

HOH continues to swoon.

On Wednesday night, comedian Bill Cosby will be honored alongside former NFL player Eddie LeBaron at the U.S. Navy Memorial’s 2010 “Lone Sailor” gala at the National Building Museum. Cosby and LeBaron are Navy vets.

Other celebs set to visit: NBA legend Bill Walton, who will host separate briefings in the House and Senate on Tuesday about recent innovations in sports technology; singer Charlie Wilson and the Rev. Rosey Grier, who will come to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to raise awareness about prostate cancer; and country singer Big Kenny, who will perform at a rally on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to protest mountaintop-removal coal mining.

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