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Hulk Meets Hulk

One “superhero” will host another in the Capitol on Thursday as Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) throws a bash for his alter ego — The Hulk of Marvel Comics and now Universal Studios fame.

The Senator, who doles out all of the federal cash from his powerful perch, clearly has the same favorite color as the green giant, who’s about to hit the big screen with his Hollywood debut. And then there’s the fact that the hard-charging Stevens always arrives on the Senate floor wearing a giant (and God-awful-looking) Incredible Hulk necktie whenever he needs to manage a difficult appropriations bill.

When asked Tuesday whether he will be checking out the movie, Stevens responded, “Oh sure, I am going to do that.”

Then he pointed at the Mansfield Room in the Capitol and said with great excitement, “We are going to have a Hulk Party in there. We’re going to have the Hulk here. Just have fun.”

The party, which will be co-hosted by Stevens and Marvel Enterprises from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday night, is promising to have green decorations, paraphernalia, beverages and food. And you can bet the Senator will be donning a certain necktie.

“The U.S. Capitol has never been in safer hands as Marvel’s superhero icon — The Hulk — joins biggest fan Senator Ted Stevens,” boasted a press release.

Mama, Can You Spare A Few Bucks? In what could be an indication that the presidential campaign of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) may be on the verge of taking on some serious water, one of the candidate’s press aides has started to hit up friends and relatives for campaign contributions.

In an e-mail marked “All Hands on Deck,” Lieberman spokeswoman Tovah Ravitz-Meehan urged “friends and family” alike to help pitch in by sending checks directly to her at the campaign headquarters in Virginia.

“You know I don’t normally do this, but I feel strongly that Joe Lieberman should be our next President,” wrote Ravitz-Meehan. “Though money isn’t everything in a presidential campaign, it is a key ingredient in getting organized and spreading our message.”

The pitch comes less than two weeks before a critical deadline: presidential

candidates have to submit their second-quarter fundraising numbers with the Federal Election Commission by June 30. Lieberman got a pass on his paltry fundraising numbers in the first quarter because he was able to use the excuse that he got a late start after waiting for former Vice President Al Gore to skip the race.

The fact that a press aide is getting involved in a duty normally reserved for the finance staff suggested to some Democrats that Lieberman’s folks may be getting pretty nervous about their second-quarter numbers. A weak showing would be certain to spark a wave of negative media stories raising questions about the Senator’s viability.

“The staff sending pleas to friends?” asked one Democrat who received the e-mail. “She’s supposed to be a press staffer — not fundraising. What’s next, duct-taping ‘Lieberman’ over the RNC’s unused ‘Sore-Loserman’ campaign signs to save printing costs?” (Lieberman sent out a press release on Tuesday vowing to cut the poverty rate in America, but HOH is assuming he was not referring to his own funds.)

Ravitz-Meehan told HOH that her e-mail did not suggest any desperation on the campaign’s part. “Our numbers certainly will be stronger than they were in the first quarter,” she said, choosing her words carefully. “No concern on my part.”

She said that many personal friends are excited about her role in the campaign “and many of them asked how they could be helpful” in recent weeks. “As a fellow member of the tribe, there are a lot of friends and family excited at the prospect of a Jewish-American president,” she added.

As for expanding her portfolio, she said, “When you take a senior job on a campaign, it’s part of what’s expected.”

Exciting and New. Ex-Rep. Fred Grandy (R-Iowa), who first won fame as Gopher on “The Love Boat,” has landed a full-time gig as a talk-radio host in D.C.

Grandy, who still dabbles in acting and jokes that he’s a “recovering Congressman,” is co-hosting the revamped morning show on WMAL. He had been doing freelance work for ABC Radio’s Washington, D.C., affiliate over the past five years.

He has thus far been a good sport about the fact that co-host Andy Parks likes to tease him by playing the theme music from “The Love Boat” whenever the old program is mentioned by a listener.

“There aren’t that many former Members of Congress who have their own theme music,” Grandy told HOH.

There is a legendary tale about how a cheeky page in a Capitol elevator once asked Grandy whether he wanted to be taken to the “Lido Deck or Promenade Deck” and was summarily fired. “A vicious rumor,” insisted Grandy. “I don’t know what Dick Morris had against me.”

He’s still trying to get used to the 2 a.m. wake-up calls. “I’m trying to remember what it’s like to be a toddler — I’m on that schedule,” said Grandy, who loves the instant gratification of talk radio. “I never got that kind of feedback on television until after 13 weeks, and then I was fired.”

Grandy, who served in the House from 1986 until 1994 when he lost a bid for his party nomination’s for governor, was a moderate Republican adamant about the free market system. “Adam Smith is my kind o’ guy,” he once said, referring to the economist, we assume, and not the House Democrat from Washington state. “Jack Kemp gives my kind of speech … at least for the first 10 minutes.”

Full disclosure: HOH serves as chief political analyst for WMAL.

Total Recall. While California Gov. Gray Davis (D) awaits his fate back in Sacramento, the state’s 33-Member-strong Democratic delegation is also going through some change in Washington.

Pam Barry, the delegation’s longtime executive director, has just retired. And the delegation is getting a new lead Member as well.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) last week was elected by her colleagues to be delegation chairwoman. She takes over for Rep. Sam Farr (D), who held the job for five years.

Farr decided to step down so he could focus more time to his duties as co-chairman of the House Oceans Caucus. “It is fitting that the chairmanship will be taken by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, since the California Democratic Congressional delegation is the first majority woman delegation,” he said.

It’s Legal. With the Democratic National Convention heading to Boston next year, you can bet that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) and much of the Massachusetts delegation will be hustling over to the downtown D.C. location of Legal Sea Foods on Thursday night.

That’s because there will be a book party Thursday night for Roger Berkowitz, owner of the Boston-based restaurant chain, to celebrate publication of “The New Legal Sea Foods Cookbook.”

Many officials from the Boston 2004 convention committee will be attending, so it’s a good opportunity for Hill staffers to make some contacts with the people who will be doling out party passes at next year’s confab.

Mark Preston and Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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