Most Members of Congress get to enjoy occasional four-day weekends and all-too-rare recess breaks, but doctors never get to clock out. Just ask Dr./Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.), who had to put on his physician’s hat during a Northwest Airlines flight to Minneapolis on Thursday evening.
[IMGCAP(1)]Kagen, who has been practicing medicine for about 30 years, came to the aid of a passenger who had fainted during the flight, a tipster who was on board tells HOH. After rushing to help the passenger, the Congressman chatted with her, took her blood pressure and helped her lie down, his spokesman confirmed.
And after the flight landed, Kagen kept working, guiding paramedics to the passenger and briefing them on her condition. (The fainting woman felt much better on Friday, says a co-worker of hers who also was aboard the flight.)
Showing a bit of modesty, Kagen didn’t want to comment on Thursday’s drama in the skies, his spokesman said. But our tipster tells us that Kagen was just as humble immediately after the flight, when a fellow passenger jokingly asked if he’d gotten the sick passenger’s billing information.
Kagen’s response: “No, I was just performing my public service.”
Who does he think he is — former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)?
Make That Seven. Winning the Tour de France is hard. Winning six of them is even harder. But winning seven? To paraphrase the great philosopher Ron Burgundy, that’s kind of a big deal.
So when seven-time Tour winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong appeared on the Hill on Thursday, no one could blame him for wanting to set the record straight about the number of yellow Tour de France jerseys hanging in his closet.
When Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) introduced the athlete to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, she noted that he had become “the best in his field” six times.
“Seven,” Armstrong politely interjected to the laughs in the crowd.
Hutchison is working with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) on a bill to improve access to cancer screenings and to bolster research.
And for future reference, Sen. Hutchison, your co-sponsor has won nine Senate terms, not eight.
American Beauty. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is clearly opposed to the outsourcing American jobs. And we’re not talking about outsourcing to call centers in India.
King took umbrage with legislation that would let more foreign-born fashion models into the United States for shoots. The bill, which would amend immigration laws that apply to willowy Estonian mannequins and their ilk, was approved on Thursday by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law.
King seems to think there are plenty of good-looking ladies right here on our shores already, and that there’s no need to import foreign lovelies. “This bill is based on a faulty premise, the premise that there are not enough attractive people in the U.S,” King opined. “You might call it the Ugly Americans bill. In a country of 300 million people, don’t we have enough homegrown talent to grace the covers of Vogue and Mademoiselle?”
(Note to the Congressman: Mademoiselle is now defunct.)
But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), wasn’t buying that argument, and he took the opportunity to rib King for his own less-than-model-material looks. “It is probably true that we have good-looking people in Iowa and other places,” Weiner said. “I’m sure we have good-looking people from Iowa on this panel, although I wouldn’t necessarily quit your day job.”
King, we’re sure, was crushed.
Star Treatment. Teevee queen Barbara Walters might have disappointed prying questioners at a Capitol Hill book signing last week by not wanting to talk about her feud with former “View” co-host Star Jones or her circa-1970s affair with a very married former Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.). But the newswoman did give them a peek at some diva-licious behavior.
Walters kept rain-soaked fans waiting in a line that stretched outside the Trover Shop on Thursday for about a half-hour before signing copies of her new memoir, “Audition.” Later, as she took questions in front of a TV news crew, Walters decided she wanted a re-take of one of her answers, and she called reporters back to take a second crack at her response.
And of course, no celeb appearance would be complete without a slew of backstage requests. Trover staff put together a smattering of refreshments for 78-year-old author, including a grande Starbucks coffee, two apples, two oranges, three cheese sticks, a can of almonds and no less than three bottles of Fiji water.
Tour of Duty. When Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) needed a tour of his new “office,” he didn’t get the usual spiel from a red-jacketed tour guide or a low-level staffer. Carson — who won a special election in March to fill the seat occupied by his grandmother, the late Rep. Julia Carson (D) — was spotted Wednesday night getting a tourist-worthy introduction to the Capitol from Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.).
An HOH tipster spotted Moore proudly showing off the “whispering” spot in Statuary Hall — the one that so delights visiting middle schoolers — to an impressed Carson.
Carson might have even more reason to get familiar with the new digs — he just won the district’s Democratic primary, and he’s favored to win a full term in November.
Tory Newmyer, Torey Van Oot and CongressNow’s Dan Schiff contributed to this report.
Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.