Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) ruffled feathers Tuesday night when she told colleagues with offices along her corridor in the Rayburn Building that the hallway would be shut down the following day for pop star Michael Jackson’s visit to her suites.
Several aides confirmed that a Lee staff assistant circulated through the hallway to give notice that the Congresswoman was going to have the Capitol Police close the corridor from 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. Wednesday — even though the meeting with the King of Pop was at 2 p.m. — so each Member would have to turn over a list of people who would need access to the hallway.
One problem: One of those who shares that corridor is House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio), whose staff promptly notified Lee that she did not have the authority to close off a public hallway.
“Just because the self-proclaimed Queen wants to meet the self-proclaimed King doesn’t mean she can shut down the hallway,” cracked one GOP aide.
Miller Time. There’s at least one aide to Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) who will not be joining “Democrats For Bush” anytime soon.
Miller spokesman Anthony Coley yesterday jumped to the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), one day after the Georgia Senator labeled his Democratic colleagues “appeasers” and “wimps” for their stance on the war on terror.
Coley will be serving as Kerry’s Southern communications director even as Miller campaigns for Bush in that region.
“I hadn’t planned on getting involved in any campaign this cycle but the issues are just too important to sit on the sidelines,” Coley said.
But the staffer stressed that there are no hard feelings between he and his old boss.
“I have tremendous respect for Senator Miller, and will be eternally grateful to him for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Coley. “He is a class act, no question about it, and I appreciate his continued friendship.”
Bandwagon Byron? There was a bit of friendly fire directed at Senate Democratic Policy Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) after yesterday’s private message meeting.
Insiders were stunned to see Dorgan, who angered party officials last fall by voting for the Medicare prescription drug bill, suddenly lash out at the Bush administration behind closed doors over the new law.
With his fellow Democratic leaders lambasting the new law on a daily basis, Dorgan revealed that he’s now planning to unveil a resolution calling for an investigation of whether or not the Bush administration cooked the budget estimates for the legislation.
“I almost fell out of my chair,” confided one Democratic participant. “I guess Senator Dorgan, like some conservatives on the other side of the aisle, now feel snookered by the Bush administration for hiding to true cost of the bill from lawmakers.”
Dorgan spokesman Barry Piatt confirmed that the Senator is mulling such a resolution, but sharply disputed the notion that his boss is a Johnny-come-lately to the cause.
“Your position on whether Congress should be told the truth is not determined by your position on any given bill,” said Piatt. “What happened makes him hopping mad and every American taxpayer should be hopping mad. They very clearly, deliberately withheld accurate information from Congress.”
Just Kidding. It turns out that today’s front page of Roll Call was not the only place to find an April Fool’s day gag.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws sent a press release Wednesday declaring: “President Bush to Legalize Marijuana.”
This seemed like stunning news, but the rest of the press release was a dead giveaway, starting with the claim that “Doobya” had now been invited to speak at NORML’s 2004 conference in Washington, D.C.
HOH got really suspicious when the announcement quoted Bush as saying that this policy change came at a high-level meeting in which “Karl Rove pulled out a fatty” for the president to enjoy.
And then there’s Planned Parenthood, which created a spoof White House Web site at saveroe.com that has a news release claiming: “President Creates a New Department of Wombland Security.”
French Kiss. Has a top aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) been keeping his French roots secret?
That’s what Democrats were wondering yesterday after the Wall Street Journal incorrectly identified DeLay spokesman Stuart Roy as “Roi” in a front page story.
“What’s next, will he be sipping Chardonnay as he eats brie at La Colline?” asked one Democratic aide. “He was spotted the other day in the coffee shop eating French Fries — I mean freedom fries.”
Roy told HOH: “The misspelling actually made me look very continental. Almost, well, French — Kerryesque even.”
Strong-arming the Fellows. President Bush has named Armstrong Williams, the conservative commentator who’s also an unpaid adviser to Michael Jackson, to serve as a commissioner on the board of the White House Fellows program.
Previous graduates of the vaunted program include Secretary of State Colin Powell and Vice President Cheney.
“I’m just happy that the president looks to me as someone who can serve our nation in this capacity,” Williams told HOH. “I’m honored.”