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Pink Ponies

Think Congress is making any progress getting troops home from Iraq? The flamboyant ladies of CODEPINK, the peacenik protest group, say neigh.

On Wednesday, they debuted their new fall campaign, “Whip Congress Into Shape,” which includes a cartoon short featuring three pink ladies straddling cartoon horses wearing name tags identifying them as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.). [IMGCAP(1)]

The ladies unveiled the 30-second spot at a press conference at their Capitol Hill house. In addition to airing the cartoon, the PINK-ers lived up to their unconventional reputation by performing a song for the reporters in attendance. Bedecked in pink lingerie and riding boots, with whips and tambourines in hand, the dames riffed on Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking,” reworking the song lyrics, including the refrain, “If you keep on stallin’, we will whip you into shape.”

The ladies are ramping up their efforts after spending August recess back in their districts trying to get meetings with lawmakers. (In California, the CODEPINK regime camped out for two weeks and went on hunger strikes while attempting to talk with Pelosi — to no avail.)

And if their pony-and-dog show isn’t enough to rile up lawmakers, the group is trying to recruit more sisters in the effort and is planning a mass march and tour sometime this month in which they’ll lead protesters around Congress’ “Halls of Shame.”

Sign Wars. Only on the Hill does posting a sign outside one’s office constitute an act of war. Now, there’s a signage shootout that’s the nerdy equivalent of the O.K. Corral going on in a hallway in the Cannon House Office Building.

First, some members of the Republican Study Committee began displaying RSC-produced signs outside their offices this summer touting the usual conservative line — that Congressional spending is out of control. The signs tally the amount by which “House-passed legislation” would increase taxes for the average taxpayer and the average person’s share of the national debt. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) was among the Congressional belt-tighteners proudly displaying his.

The exhibit prompted Gingrey’s next-door neighbor, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), to post her own, rival sign. “Republican Myths V. REALITY,” the Democrat’s chart-emblazoned sign blares. A Wasserman Schultz spokesman said the RSC’s signs were “misleading” and that staffers for the Congresswoman felt they had to combat the misinformation they spread. An RSC spokesman was equally adamant that the Wasserman Schultz signs were the disingenuous ones. “In the real world, someone who prints their own fiscal responsibility signs doesn’t automatically become fiscally responsible,” the RSC spokesman said.

Still, Wasserman Schultz’s spokesman insists that except for the finer points of budgetary policy or competing signs, the Wasserman Schultz and Gingrey offices are on friendly terms, something that might have to do with Gingrey’s office being generous with the free Coca-Cola products it stocks (Coke comes from Georgia).

A warning to HOH readers: Be careful when walking through this particular wonky war zone — you might get hit on the head with a flying calculator.

Just Like “Dreamgirls.” So not all of them have musical chops, but whatever the seven Members who sang backup on Wednesday during a tribute to music legend Quincy Jones lacked in skill, they sure made up for in enthusiasm.

Seven Members — Reps. Mary Bono (R-Calif.), Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), John Hall (D-N.Y.), John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) — backed up gospel singer BeBe Winans in a rendition of “America the Beautiful” during an event in the Cannon Caucus Room for Wednesday’s Grammys on the Hill festivities.

“They were really belting it out,” one audience member tells HOH. Also showing Jones a little — OK, a lot — of love was Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who ducked into the event to give Jones a bear hug that seemed to last eons. “I didn’t think they were ever going to let go of each other,” our spy says.

Boy on the Bus. It was only months ago that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was getting flak for using private jets to travel to far-flung golfing resorts, but his most recent mode of transportation is a little more down to earth.

Over the August recess, the Ohio Republican took to the road in a luxury charter bus, crisscrossing the Midwest on 24-day fundraising jaunt in which he hit 19 Congressional districts in 11 states and raised about $800,000 for Republicans. “With some of the new rules as far as taking planes, this was much easier,” Boehner spokesman Brian Kennedy said of the choice of ground transportation.

And, while a Boehner staffer assures HOH that the coach wasn’t tricked out like a rock star’s tour bus (think bottles of Cristal, maybe a 24-7 masseuse), he did have an entourage of up to 20 staffers at times accompanying him along the way.

Another perk to life on the road: Unlike in airplanes, where smoking is verboten, the nicotine-loving Boehner could light up at his leisure on the bus.

Blame the Hex, Not Sex. It turns out, the scandal engulfing Sen. Larry Craig wasn’t really the Idaho Republican’s fault. Instead, HOH is positing the theory that Craig’s demise was simply in the cards, owing to a spooky phenomenon we’re calling “The Curse of the Senate Appropriations Interior Subcommittee Chairmanship.” OK, so we’ll think of something catchier before the movie version comes out.

Here’s the hex: The past three Republican chairmen (or ranking member, depending on the majority control of the chamber) have fallen on hard times. First it was Sen. Slade Gorton (Wash.), who was defeated by Democrat Maria Cantwell in 2000 after chairing the committee for five years. More recently, Montana Sen. Conrad Burns got ensnared in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and fell to Democrat Jon Tester in the 2006 midterm elections, following five years at the helm of the cursed subcommittee. Last week, it was Craig, who stepped down as ranking member after pleading guilty in a sex scandal, this time with less than a year under his belt.

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