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Fry Guy Goes Cold on Jones

The guy who sparked the move to rename french fries “freedom fries” — remember those days? — is doing a little redecorating of his Beaufort, S.C., sandwich-and-chips joint. [IMGCAP(1)]

That includes taking down prominently placed photos of his local Congressman, the former freedom-fry-loving Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R). Neal Rowland, the proprietor of Cubbies of Beaufort, tells HOH he’s disappointed by Jones’ vote (with Democrats, the horror!) for a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq and by the Congressman’s statements to a local paper that he thought the whole freedom-fry movement was a mistake.

Jones, readers might recall, was one of the masterminds behind renaming the fries in the House’s eateries, an idea he picked up at Cubbies and brought to the Capitol in a move that got plenty of cable airplay.

Now the photos of Rowland and Jones sporting freedom fries T-shirts and of a smiling Jones in the House cafeteria are gone —tossed in a box last week after a bout of cleaning, Rowland says. He’s also considering supporting Joe McLaughlin, Jones’ GOP primary opponent. “We’ll have to see,” Rowland says of which way he’ll vote, adding that he thinks McLaughlin’s a “good guy” and he likes his support-the-troops platform.

Harry Reid: Fixer to the Stars. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) doesn’t just run the Senate, he also does a little concierge work on the side. Just ask Harlan Coben, the famous author of best-selling mystery thrillers that you’ve no doubt spied on airport bookstands.

According to a profile of Coben in this month’s issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Coben — whose famous fans include former President Bill Clinton, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Steve Forbes as well as Reid — called on the Majority Leader’s office for a little wheel-greasing while visiting Las Vegas.

Coben arrived at the posh Luxor hotel in Sin City for a book event, according to the story, and found a line for the check-in counter that would have taken longer to wait out than the author spends writing a chapter. So Coben e-mailed Reid’s office and, voila, “it took about a minute for a secretary to call the hotel and arrange for a VIP check-in and a room upgrade,” the story says. A Reid spokesman declined to comment on the incident.

Coben’s no stranger to Senate circles, either: He also was hired to speak at the Senate Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia, where he tried to be “inspirational,” according to the Atlantic.

Hey, Sen. Reid, we’d really love impossible-to-score reservations at Minibar this weekend … can you help us out?

Passport Slapstick. With complaints about passport delays flooding Hill offices as the summer travel season gets into full swing, some staffers aren’t at all surprised.

The Congressional liaison office for the State Department e-mailed staffers a “Guide to Congressional Passport Requests” the week before the July Fourth recess, ostensibly in response to the many pleas from Hill offices for help with constituents’ complaints of sluggish passport processing. Only trouble was, the original e-mail didn’t include the attachment containing the actual guide. A few minutes later, a second e-mail went out. “This time with attachment,” read the e-mail from Scott Thayer, director of the liaison office. “Sorry.” But again, there was no attachment attached.

Amused aides a while later got a third e-mail — and this time, it finally included the promised attachment. “Ever had one of those days?” Thayer wondered in the final missive. Some staffers were not impressed. “These guys can barely get an e-mail off correctly, let alone process our constituents’ passports,” snarked one senior Democratic aide.

Popped-Collar Ban? While Members of Congress spent the July Fourth recess back in their districts hyping various pieces of legislation, one bill was getting some grass-roots support right here in Washington, D.C. A posting on outlines a bill regulating the behavior of Capitol Hill interns, those pesky but oh-so-useful college kids who crowd our fair city in the summers.

Filled with lots of official-sounding “whereas”-es and an impressive outline format, the bill would require ’terns to “give way to any permanent staffer or local over the age of 25” when standing in any line, clean up after themselves at food establishments, and sit in segregated areas. Vomiting from alcohol consumption would be banned in Metro cars, Capitol Hill office buildings and sidewalks outside bars. The bill would impose a strict dress code, including forbidding the kids from wearing popped collars or their Congressional IDs outside the Capitol campus.

Too bad D.C. is so underrepresented in Congress — HOH has a feeling this one could pick up bipartisan support.

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