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By the Seat of Their Pants

Staffers in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office, like most House aides, might be used to long hours, hard work and less-than-spacious digs. But on Tuesday, some were afraid their jobs were about to get very uncomfortable, when a memo from Pelosi’s top assistant informed them that they’d soon be sitting on historically correct wooden seats (ouch!) rather than the comfy, ergonomic office chairs they’re used to.

“In order to continue our restoration of the Speaker’s suite to its historical state, the Speaker has requested

that all desk chairs be wood,” read the e-mail from Pelosi assistant Stacy Kerr. “The carpenter’s office will begin delivering desk chairs later this week.”

[IMGCAP(1)]After grumbling from some staffers and requests by some for waivers from the 19th century-style seating because of health concerns, another memo went out alerting Pelosi’s peeps that the chair mandate was nothing but an April Fools’ gag. In fact, Kerr had been out of the office sick, and a jokester had used her e-mail account to send the prank e-mail, HOH hears.

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly tells HOH that the Speaker has far too much on her mind to devise plans to sentence her staffers to splinters. “I can tell you that the only time Speaker Pelosi spends thinking about seats, it’s about how many Democratic seats we are going to pick up in November,” Daly says.

Johns for Hillary. Philandering men keep causing trouble for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

First, the New York Democrat had to distance herself from former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer after he was outed last month for hiring a high-priced call girl. Spitzer, of course, was a big Clinton supporter, and it took about a millisecond after his sex scandal broke for Clinton to take down a mention of his endorsement from her campaign Web site.

Now she has to deal with Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D) husband. Clinton gave a complimentary shout-out to Stabenow and her hubby Thomas Athans, who was in the crowd, at a March 19 Detroit event.

And unlike the disappearing act of Spitzer’s name from Clinton’s Web site, the transcript of that speech was still on her campaign site as of HOH’s Wednesday deadline.

Athans, co-founder of a liberal talk radio network, reportedly got caught with his pants down in a police sting in Big Beaver, Mich. (no, we do not make these things up) in late February, according to the Detroit Free Press. Police say Athans paid a 20-year-old hooker he met online $150 for oral sex. Though he has not been arrested, Athans has been cooperating with police, reports the Free Press.

So far, Clinton’s stayed mum on Athans’ extracurricular (and extramarital) activities, while Stabenow, who was on the Senate floor talking about the housing crisis Wednesday, didn’t miss a beat, releasing a statement calling her husband’s behavior “very disturbing and serious. Obviously it’s a deeply difficult and personal matter.”

Craig’s Seat Attracts Nuts. Idaho might be famous for its spuds, but it’s also got its share of duds. Exhibits A and B are two of the long-shot candidates hoping to replace Republican Sen. Larry Craig when he vacates his seat (ahem) in the Senate.

First up is Marvin Richardson, an organic strawberry farmer, who recently legally changed his name so that it would appear on the ballot as “Marvin Pro-Life Richardson.” Richardson, who is running as an Independent, tells The Associated Press that he changed his name to skirt the state’s ban on using slogans on ballots.

And then there’s Hal Styles, who is styling himself as a “Ronald Reagan Republican.” Only trouble is, Styles lives in the Gipper’s home state of California, not in Idaho. The wannabe GOP candidate has magnanimously agreed to move northeastward before Election Day, according to the local ABC affiliate.

Idahoan pollster and consultant Greg Smith tells HOH that such candidates are more sideshows than contenders. He’s betting Craig’s seat will go to the GOP frontrunner, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch. Still, he wonders if the oddity of the candidates is connected to the strange way in which the seat became available in the first place. “Maybe there’s some connection between these guys and the very circumstances under which they’re entering the race,” Smith says.

Congress Goes ESPN. In their hearts of hearts, most Members of Congress would rather be sports analysts than politicians, and the new issue of ESPN The Magazine gives them a chance to do just that. The sports glossy included commentary from Members of Congress on each team in its 2008 baseball preview special section. And so readers are treated to astute observations from one of each team’s biggest fans in Washington, including Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) on his team’s new name: “I never liked the name Devil Rays, so Rays is a fresh start,” he tells the magazine. “I think we’ll be .500 this year and that would be a success. Some people are saying playoffs, but you have to be realistic.”

Others couldn’t resist making political references. “This was President Bush’s team,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) of the Rangers. “He has had some bad years as president, so it should be time for his team to have a good year.”

Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk. While college hoopsters duel it out on the paint in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, two Members of Congress are duking it out for bragging rights on Final Four-bound University of Kansas.

Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore got riled up after he noticed that Roll Call’s annual March Madness bracket listed Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) as the lawmaker in whose district the Jayhawks play, and placed a call to our offices questioning Roll Call’s determination.

Roll Call determines the Member of Congress listed for each school in the annual tourney by searching for the school admissions office’s ZIP code at

After Moore’s call to Roll Call and some digging, we determined that Moore was indeed right. Not only is the admissions office in his district, but so is the Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhawks play.

While Boyda was disappointed to lose credit, she understands Moore’s desire to claim the university for himself, according to her spokeswoman Shanan Guinn. “Rep. Boyda just lucked out that she has so many great universities in her district, so we can understand why Rep. Moore would want to represent KU.”

Briefly Quoted. “Do you think she could talk sexy so I can pinch my squid? … Obama has cute ears.”

— An unidentified rogue caller on a media conference call with campaign staffers for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday, talking dirty before the moderator cut him off.

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