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Dropping Bombs, Caught on Tape

In a move reminiscent of the caught-on-the-microphone exchange between President Bush and Vice President Cheney that launched the phrase “major league a–hole” into the Washington, D.C., lexicon,an agitated Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) engaged in a bit of bleep-able banter during Monday’s televised hearing on the Iraq progress report. [IMGCAP(1)]

The highly anticipated hearing before the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees was marked with outbursts from CODEPINK protesters and snafus with witnesses’ microphones in the committee room. Skelton, who was chairing the hearing, apparently didn’t realize his own microphone was, in fact, working, and turned to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the panel’s ranking member. “That really pisses me off, Duncan,” Skelton could be heard saying. When Hunter leaned in to ask who had provoked the chairman’s ire, he responded by nodding in the direction of the disrupting protesters. “Those a–holes,” Skelton said. After a few inaudible (even to HOH’s well-practiced ears) words, “goddamned” also was heard. And moments later, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) approached Skelton. “What the hell,” Skelton could be heard saying to the Congresswoman.

Skelton’s blue streak continued when Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) approached him. Burton had earlier advised Skelton on how to manage the protesters, to which Skelton responded that he didn’t need the lecture. Burton told Skelton he didn’t mean to lecture him. “The hell you didn’t,” Skelton snapped.

Hunter didn’t display as much of a potty-mouth as his chairman did, but the microphones did catch him speculating about the CODEPINKers’ protest tactics and encouraging Skelton to pre-emptively toss the troublemakers.

A warning to parents: You might have to add C-SPAN programming to the list of shows whose naughty action and foul language make them unsuitable for young, impressionable ears.

Dressed for Success. On one hand, the white, thigh-baring mini-dress that Susan Sweat wore in the Mrs. America Pageant last week might be considered office-inappropriate. But on the other hand, it could be considered a perfectly suitable ensemble for Sweat — the legislative director in the office of Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) — since the dress actually was a re-creation of the U.S. Capitol, complete with sleeve attachments depicting the building’s wings and a large headdress representing the building’s famed Dome.

Regardless of whether it will be a hit at the next committee hearing, the garb secured Sweat a first-place win in the costume contest that was part of the Mrs. America pageant, the version of the more famous Miss America franchise for married ladies. Sweat didn’t take home the crown in the Sept. 5 event, alas, but she did finish in the top 15.

Sweat, who’s the current Mrs. D.C., tells HOH that her husband and other Wicker staffers helped her fashion the costume from fabric and Styrofoam. Highlights of the pageant included being interviewed backstage by correspondent Omarosa Stallworth, the former Mrs. D.C. whose biggest claim to fame is as a former contestant on Donald Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” she said.

The pageant will air on the WE (that stands for Women’s Entertainment — although HOH is pretty sure it will be even more entertaining for the menfolk) network Sept. 21-22 and 28.

Ben’s World. Live from Washington, it’s … Sen. Ben Nelson? The definitely-not-camera-shy Nebraska Democrat made a plug for a cameo on the late-night skit show “Saturday Night Live” to Molly Shannon, one of the show’s alums, when the actress and the Senator met up at an event promoting “Life Insurance Awareness month” Monday on Capitol Hill.

Nelson did his very own audition “bit” when he introduced Shannon, who is this year’s spokeswoman, citing his extensive on-camera experience. “I’ve been on ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘The Colbert Report.’ I was in ‘Omaha the Movie’ and sang a song ‘Western Town in Nebraska’ that was on a movie soundtrack. But when it comes to getting more roles, I’m shameless,” Nelson hammed. His punch line: “Unfortunately, all I’ve been offered so far is a Metamucil commercial.”

Not to be outdone, Shannon followed up with some shtick of her own, saying she’d recommend Nelson, but wanting to know if he was a song-and-dance man. His reply: “I am.”

Busted. Former Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) got into hot water (that’s a polite euphemism for being subject to an FBI investigation) for allegedly using his position in Congress to help his offspring, including daughter Karen Weldon, in business dealings. Now another of his children, son Wayne Curtis Weldon, might need dear old dad’s help, after he was arrested last weekend for drug possession, The Associated Press reports. According to the AP, “the younger Weldon was in possession of a small amount of marijuana, prescription drugs not prescribed to him and other drug paraphernalia.”

The 26 year-old was arrested in his parents’ home in Thornbury Township, Pa.

The Well-Dressed Protester. One can only imagine the wardrobe dilemma facing protester David Barrows, who was on hand in a festive devil costume to greet Gen. David Petraeus, who testified Monday on the Hill.

The 60-year-old activist was awaiting Petraeus’ arrival on the steps of the Cannon House Office Building, sporting red tights and a sports coat, an altered President Bush mask with devil horns Superglued to it, and black combat boots — all accessorized with a sign that read “I’ve got Petraeus by the soul.” But Barrows, who started protesting six years ago and tells HOH that he’s “between jobs,” could have opted instead for the vampire suit he wears when protesting Bush or a Grim Reaper get-up he donned when trailing former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams (D).

So many suits, so few protests.

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