Heard on the Hill: Huck and Chuck’s Excellent Adventure to the Holy Land

Posted November 19, 2008 at 6:50pm

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will visit 56 cities in the next two and a half weeks to promote his latest book, “Do the Right Thing,” but there’s another big trip that he’s looking forward to — he’s going to visit Israel (for the 10th time, no less) with pal Chuck Norris.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Huckster divulged the news during a press

breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday after HOH asked whether he still keeps in touch with the “Walker, Texas Ranger” star. The pair remain close pals, Huckabee said, adding that while exact plans for the trip aren’t yet set, he and his wife, Janet, are hopeful that Norris and his wife, Gena, will join them in the Holy Land.

“When Chuck faces down the Israelis and the Palestinians, we’ll have peace,” Huckabee joked.

Roundhouse kicks and karate chops aside, Huckabee spent most of the breakfast discussing the future of the Republican Party (which may or may not include him running for president again). But he also told reporters that (one-time) fellow Arkie Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) would make a good secretary of State.

But Huckabee warned that if President-elect Barack Obama doesn’t end up picking Clinton for the gig, there may be trouble — especially because he already passed her over for the vice presidency.

“If you knock on a girl’s door twice and still don’t take her to the dance, God help you,” Huckabee joked.

In the Tank for Toilets. Let the bathroom humor begin. Sanitation advocates celebrating World Toilet Day on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday shared some of the (sadly) discarded slogans that they considered for the event: “Urine Denial,” “Brown is the New Black” and “Relief is Not a Disgrace.” Ba-dum-bum.

The potty-mouthed mottos were meant to call attention to the 2.6 billion people worldwide who live without toilets, which leads to disease, deaths and even poor education, the toilet-boosters say.

Patti Simon, the widow of former Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) and a water activist, was on hand to talk about the importance of the humble john. “We take it for granted that we have infrastructure to provide sanitation,” she told the assembled cluster of fellow activists, reporters and curious foreign tourists who looked bewildered by the toilet-shaped signs set up for the press conference. Simon went on to credit the toilet for “making our country the country it is today.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) was scheduled to address the group, too, but he begged off at the last moment because he was sick. Fortunately, he wasn’t among those suffering one of the 4 billion “debilitating” bouts of diarrheal disease that occur worldwide (sorry, HOH is just en-grossed-out by the fact sheets handed out at the event). The Congressman simply lost his voice, an event organizer said.

Here’s a suggestion — instead of working on a catchy slogan, what about getting Joe the Plumber, who probably has a little more time on his hands these days, as a spokesman for the cause?

Hill Should Stay on Hill. Plenty of Democrats are touting the rumored selection of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as secretary of State as a brilliant move — but one prominent fellow lawmaker threw cold water on the idea of Hillary making the jump from Congress to Cabinet.

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said she hopes Clinton gives President-elect Barack Obama a polite, but firm, no thanks, if he asks her to take the job. “I learned a long time ago not to give up an elected position for an appointed position,” she said. “I’m sure she can do a lot of good as secretary of State, but she wouldn’t be her own boss.”

Slaughter allowed that she had some selfish reasons for wanting to keep Hill on the Hill. “I need her there. Women need her there,” she said.

Breaking News Breaks Up Session. Sometimes, real work gets in the way of many Senators’ favorite pastime — talking.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) were scheduled to appear together at the Center for American Progress on Wednesday for a wonky talk about the current financial crisis. But Dodd had to cancel — you know, because he had to stay on Capitol Hill to actually deal with said financial crisis.

Daschle, too, had pressing business of his own. The news that he will serve as President-elect Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services broke just minutes before the event was scheduled to get under way.

Taking Flak. As if glamorous jobs (we kid) and seeing their names in print on a daily basis isn’t enough reward, a handful of Capitol Hill’s press people are getting even more kudos. Last night, Quinn Gillespie & Associates doled out their Flak Jacket Awards, selected by an all-star lineup of reporters and editors (including Roll Call’s esteemed honcho Charlie Mitchell), to the town’s “most daring and verbally agile communicators.”

Awards went to … the envelope, please: Republican, Political Campaign: Ken Spain of the National Republican Congressional Committee; Democrat, Political Campaign: Jennifer Crider of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Republican, Capitol Hill Press Secretary: Don Stewart with the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); Democrat, Capitol Hill Press Secretary: Brendan Daly with the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Industry: T. Boone Pickens, creator of the Pickens Plan, a major energy policy effort, and founder and chairman of the hedge fund BP Capital Management.

Reporters might have toasted the winners at Wednesday night’s ceremony in the Rayburn House Office Building, but they’ll no doubt be back to making the winners’ jobs difficult before any of them can say “I’d like to thank the Academy …”

Having a Ball. The Inauguration Chronicles, in which HOH brings you notable events celebrating the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 20.

Ball: Inaugural Purple Ball

Time: 8 p.m.

Place: Fairmont hotel

Attire: Formal

Cause: The Eracism Foundation Inc., a nonprofit founded by Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. designed to tackle the negative impacts of racism.

Cost: Lowest-level tickets are priced at $1,000. Corporate sponsorships reach $50,000.

Notable guests: Gossett is heading the host committee, alongside fellow actors Ashley Judd, Patricia Arquette, Amy Brenneman and director Brad Silberling.

The Tease: “Guests will be surrounded by carefully laid lush purple velvet, crystals and only the best champagne will be served.”

Web site: inauguralpurpleball.com

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

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