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Sneaky Guys

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is taking sartorial cues from an unlikely fashion icon — his colleague Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). Whitehouse’s trademark black Pumas, worn in place of dressier loafers or oxfords, so inspired Brown that the Ohio Democrat asked Whitehouse where to find the sneaks, promptly bought a pair and now sports them with his work attire. [IMGCAP(1)]

A spokeswoman for Brown tells HOH her boss’s new look isn’t as much about form as it is function: Brown is mindful of just how hard those unforgiving marble floors can be on one’s feet, back and neck, and he was covetous of his fellow freshman’s sleek-but-cushioned footwear. Brown is a big walker, too, she says, eschewing elevators (even though his office is on the fourth floor of the Russell Senate Office Building) and wearing a pedometer to measure his steps, which necessitates comfy shoes. HOH just wants to note here that the women of the Senate somehow seem to manage just fine in heels, which are less comfy than even the dressiest men’s shoes, and don’t even get us started on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who gracefully navigates the Capitol’s halls on stylish stilettos.

Whitehouse doesn’t mind the copycatting; in fact, he’s quite proud that he’s considered a fashion plate. And during a recent Senate vote, the two freshmen were near doubles, both wearing navy suits and matching black Puma sneaks. Hmm, perhaps HOH should consider doing a US Weekly-style “who wore it better” feature.

The Handwriting’s Not on the Wall. Staffers from the office of Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) are scrambling to identify a mystery Member who signed onto a letter their boss was circulating with a signature so illegible, no one’s sure who it belongs to — or will ’fess up to such sloppy writing. Baird passed a letter around the House floor last week and proudly returned it to his staff with a long list of signatories. Alas, the staffers were unable to make out the identity of one signer, whose loopy scrawl included not one single identifiable letter of the alphabet.

The Hancock whodunit prompted Baird’s legislative director to e-mail colleagues in the hopes of smoking out Rep. Bad Penmanship. “Let me know if this signature belongs to your boss or if you recognize it. We’re at a complete loss!” the e-mail reads.

A Baird spokeswoman tells HOH the caper hasn’t yet been solved. Putting on her Sherlock Holmes hat, HOH recommends checking first with the doctors (read: scrawl-y writers) of the chamber.

Red Sox Redux. A mass e-mail identifying fans of the World Series-bound Red Sox as “Massholes” caused a mass-ive stir last Monday. House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) coalition director, Mike Hacker, may have been hoping to ease staffers into the “The Daily Whipline” with a little humor, but his prose hit too close to home for some Sox fans.

Hacker, who was obviously peeved by the Red Sox’ defeat of the Cleveland Indians, sent out the mass e-mail greeting readers with this line: “Good Morning, Washington: So the Massholes are in the World Series again.” Hacker says Red Sox Nation — or at least the portion of it that got the e-mail — was unamused. “I got flamed from every Sox fan in town, but they’re up 2-0 so it looks like they’ll have the last laugh,” he told HOH on Friday.

Red Sox fans from the Massachusetts delegation, still glowing from their return to the World Series, were feeling generous despite Hacker’s slight. “As every citizen of Red Sox Nation knows, that term primarily applies when we’re driving — careening around a rotary in the snow with a lahge regulah (extra cream and sugah) from Dunkies in one hand and a scratch ticket in the other,” said Michael Mershon, spokesman for Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).

Honor Among Johns. Guys who hook together, stick together — at least that’s the (ahem) moral of the story from a Senate hearing last week in which Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was the sole vote against the replacement for Randall Tobias, the former head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Vitter and Tobias, you might recall, were the two biggest names to be revealed on the client list of the “D.C. Madam.”

Vitter cast the lone GOP “nay” vote against the nomination of Henrietta Holsman Fore to take the spot that Tobias vacated after stepping down amid the uproar that followed revelations that he, too, had been stepping out with one the D.C. Madam’s employees. Perhaps the Senator had other reasons for voting against Fore (she’s been criticized by Republicans for donating to groups that support pro-abortion-rights female political candidates), but HOH tipsters suggest a naughtier theory: The “no” vote was a show of solidarity with fellow john Tobias.

Wyden Family Widens. The Wyden clan doubled last week after Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (D) and his wife welcomed twins Friday morning. First came Ava Rose at 5 lbs., 2 oz. Forty-five seconds later, she was joined by William Peter at 6 lbs. The twins’ mom, Nancy Bass Wyden — who is co-owner of the famous Strand Bookstore in New York City — and the babies are “doing very well,” Wyden spokeswoman Jennifer Hoelzer says. Wyden has two children, Adam and Lily, from another marriage.

Erin P. Billings and CongressNow’s Louis Jacobson and Alec Mouhibian contributed to this report.

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