Skip to content

McHenry vs. New Jersey

The GOP’s attack dog-in-training, freshman Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), unwittingly took on the entire state of New Jersey on Wednesday when he tried to sink his teeth into Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) on Fox News television.

[IMGCAP(1)]The two lawmakers were discussing — what else? — the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) in Texas when McHenry cut Pascrell off, saying he couldn’t believe a Congressman from New Jersey had the audacity to talk about ethics. Oooohhh. If you know Pascrell, you know what happened next.

As one TV witness said, “He flipped out.” Then Pascrell demanded an apology from McHenry, to all of New Jersey.

“I don’t care about me. I’ll take care of myself,” the tough-talking Pascrell, still fuming, told HOH later. “I told him, ‘You insulted everybody in the state of New Jersey.’”

Pascrell delivered that speech to McHenry when the young lawmaker approached the much larger (and seemingly angrier) Pascrell later on the House floor. “He came up and said, ‘I wanted to see you before you saw me.’ I said, ‘Oh, it’s you.’ He said, ‘Look, I apologize.’”

But Pascrell, like any good Italian stallion, let off a little steam before accepting the apology. He lectured McHenry about talking “from your heart instead of dealing with your script.” Then he said he shook McHenry’s hand and said, “Well, you’re a big enough guy to apologize so I accept your apology. But you need to apologize to the people of New Jersey.”

Stay tuned, folks. We’ll hear from McHenry next week on what he plans to say to the fine people of the Garden State.

In The Nick of Time. Tim Berry, chief of staff to the Man Formerly Known as Majority Leader Tom DeLay, had quite a send-off Wednesday during the House Republican Conference meeting. It was before DeLay’s indictment on conspiracy charges in Texas was announced, so the room was all smiles when Berry was handed a mock Roll Call front page announcing the “news” of his departure.

The lead headline blared: “Berry Leaves: Bipartisanship May Resume.” Another “story” read: “Berry and Ted Turner Form 527,” with a caption quote from Berry proclaiming, “They made me watch Fox.”

Berry, 37, is heading off to become vice president of global public policy at media giant Time Warner’s Washington office. He said in an interview earlier this month that it was “the right job at the right time” for him and his family.

Double Trouble. While Democrats on the House side gloated over the Hammer’s indictment, operatives on the Senate side celebrated Hump Day by hammering that chamber’s embattled Majority Leader.

Democratic operatives put together a little side-by-side chart drawing parallels between statements Majority Leader Bill Frist has made about the sale of his stock in HCA Inc., and infamous comments Martha Stewart made about her sales of ImClone not too long before the Christmas wreath maven was tossed in the slammer.

For example, the chart noted that Frist said this week, “I had no information about HCA or its performance that was not publicly available when I directed trustees to sell the stock.” Well, wouldn’t ya know, Stewart said in 2003 that she sold her stock based on “publicly available” information.

Stewart said in 2002 that she had “no insider information” and that the sale “was based on information available to the public.” Likewise, Frist’s spokesman was quoted as saying this month that the Senator had no information about HCA, the hospital operating company founded by his family, that was not also “available to the public.”

Frist: “I acted properly.” Stewart: “My sale if ImClone stock was entirely proper and lawful.” Frist: “I will cooperate with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.” Stewart, in 2002, said she had “cooperated fully” with the SEC. And so on and so forth, to quote the governor of you know where.

“These lines didn’t work for Martha and they won’t work for Bill,” one Democratic operative who put the chart together said. The aide also suggested that Frist, as Stewart did after she got out of prison, is already plotting his reality TV show.

“Maybe Frist is trying to be a contestant on next season’s “The Apprentice.” After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Then again, if he does the same kind of job on “The Apprentice” that he’s done as Majority Leader, he might find himself in the boardroom sooner than he’d like.”

Well, Mr. Democratic Operative, it looks like you’re the one who will hear “You’re fired!”

Your counterparts in the Republican Party did their own homework, which HOH confirmed, and found that Stewart has donated rather substantially to Democratic candidates, including the man tasked with winning back the Senate for the minority: Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Frist’s spokesman, Bob Stevenson, thought long and hard about whether his boss is anything like Martha Stewart and decided that, “At the end of the day, it’s clear that Bill Frist has a heck of a lot more in common with Jimmy Stewart than with Martha Stewart.”

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to

Recent Stories

Biden, ‘Big Four’ to meet as spending talks sputter

Alabama IVF ruling spurs a GOP reckoning on conception bills

House to return next week as GOP expects spending bills to pass

FEC reports shine light on Super Tuesday primaries

Editor’s Note: Never mind the Ides of March, beware all of March

Supreme Court to hear arguments on online content moderation