Say It Ain’t Joe

Posted January 2, 2004 at 5:51pm

While Sen. Joe Lieberman has been firing away at Howard Dean on the presidential campaign trail, the Connecticut Democrat is under attack back in the Senate from a con artist.

Another guy named Joe Lieberman — who claims to have a wife named Hadassah Lieberman, just like the Senator — has written a book that beats up on the Connecticut Senator. The book, which looks a bit like an autobiography from the lawmaker, is titled, “Joseph Lieberman Is a Pious Liberal and Other Observations.”

As if that wasn’t mischievous enough, the other Joe has distributed a copy of the nasty tome to all of Lieberman’s Senate colleagues. That led a bunch of puzzled Senate staffers to call Lieberman’s office to find out if he had really decided to publish a book blasting himself.

Clarine Nardi Riddle, the Senator’s chief of staff, hurriedly sent around an e-mail stressing that this was merely an unfair attack.

“Senator Lieberman and his wife are in no way, shape, or form associated with this book,” wrote Riddle.

Lieberman spokeswoman Casey Aden-Wansbury told HOH that the office felt the need to respond because a few Senate offices were confused about whether the book was really written by the Senator. “It’s meant to smear Senator Lieberman,” she said.

In her e-mail, Riddle noted that while Lieberman supports the First Amendment, “It is unfortunate, however, that the authors would exploit the coincidence of their names to confuse readers.”

She helpfully added that staffers could buy a copy of “An Amazing Adventure: Joe and Hadassah’s Personal Notes on the 2000 Campaign” to get the couple’s real thoughts.

A Perfect Proposal? If you’re a Congressional staffer getting ready to pop the question in the new year, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) wants you to contact his office.

Carper is trying to help the producers of “Perfect Proposal,” a new show on the popular television network TLC, find Hill staffers who are on the verge of proposing marriage and would be willing to play it out for the cameras.

The show, produced by Banyan Productions, which is also responsible for the wildly successful program “Trading Spaces,” is billed as a chance to “meet love struck couples taking outrageous steps to ‘POP’ the question in unique ways.”

Carper got involved after bumping into a casting producer in his home state, according to an e-mail that the Senator’s press secretary circulated to other Hill offices.

“The Senator met her at the Pulaski Day parade in DE,” spokeswoman Meredith Rosenthal revealed in the e-mail soliciting nominees for the show. “They cover all proposal costs expect for the ring — what a shame.”

Rosenthal told HOH that Carper usually comes back from official events with a “stack of business cards” and likes to be as responsive as possible.

She has gotten three responses from Hill staffers so far, though it’s unclear whether the producers have found the right candidates yet.

Money Can’t Buy Me Love. Just because he controls the government’s purse strings doesn’t mean that House Appropriations Chairman Bill Young (R-Fla.) is able to get a check cashed in the Congressional credit union.

A few days before Christmas, Young and his wife, Beverly, were spotted in the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union’s branch in the Rayburn House Office Building basement trying to cash a small check. But the couple, undoubtedly trying to get some cash to purchase last-minute gifts, were turned away because they had somehow forgotten to bring any identification.

A bank teller calmly said she could not break the rules for anyone, as the gracious chairman said he understood. (Mrs. Young was said to be slightly less accommodating.)

“Those of us in the bank witnessed the utmost irony: the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee being turned away from money,” e-mailed one eyewitness.

The Oklahoma Globetrotter. Some Senate aides are grumbling about a pricey official trip that retiring Senate Budget Chairman Don Nickles (R-Okla.) is leading this week to Australia and New Zealand.

Tongues have been wagging about how Nickles, a legendarily low handicapper on the golf course, has been itching to sample the links Down Under.

“Of course, the trip’s mission is to explore trade opportunities, but Nickles is retiring, so it seems unlikely he’ll be able to apply his new knowledge,” cracked one GOP aide.

But Nickles spokeswoman Gayle Osterberg told HOH that the boss would be rolling up his sleeves to “discuss trade and the international war on terrorism among other trips” on the trip, which spans Jan. 3-13.

As for the talk of golf, Osterberg said, “The schedule is still being finalized. I’m not sure how much down time there will be.”

An Expert on Fumbles? Another person who appears to have a bit of time on his hands these days is retiring Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.).

Graham took out time for a telephone interview with The New York Times over the holidays to discuss not the future of Medicare or the war in Iraq, but the resignation of Washington Redskins football coach Steve Spurrier.

“Washington is a place — whether you’re in politics, journalism or sports — where you’re being tested against a very high standard,” Graham told the paper of record. “He had such high expectations; it just didn’t work out.”

The only other person extensively quoted in the story was Joe Theismann, the former Redskin quarterback who’s now a football analyst for ESPN. The story noted Graham’s slightly more tenuous credentials to discuss the topic: He graduated from the University of Florida in 1959, about 30 years before Spurrier’s dominant tenure as the school’s football coach.

But the newspaper failed to mention the fact that Graham recently gave up a disastrous presidential bid, which is why he’s a bit of an expert on losing. When asked why Spurrier didn’t get more time to right the ship, Graham responded, “Washington expects a much earlier, and surer, demonstration of your capabilities.”

Don Jano. Jano Cabrera, Lieberman’s campaign spokesman, received the “Henny Youngman Award” over the holidays.

This was a tongue-in-cheek honor bestowed by the Forward newspaper, which wanted to note some of the high and low moments from the presidential campaign trail in 2003.

Cabrera, a Latino adviser known for crafting humorous one-liners for a Jewish presidential candidate, was praised for the “best impersonation of a Jewish comedian” on the trail.

But the paper’s Campaign Confidential column added that the bachelor also deserves the “Latin Lover Award, for closest attention to horizontal politics.”

Reached by HOH at a Manchester, N.H., motel, Cabrera said he was unavailable to comment. For the next several hours.