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HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Prayer Warriors

Rep. Peter King made a lot of people angry when he called Michael Jackson a “pervert,— but now the New York Republican has some of his opponents praying for him.

[IMGCAP(1)]Members of the Pray at the Pump movement, the group that held vigils outside gas stations last year for prices to come down, gathered signatures outside of the Cannon House Office Building on Friday for a petition asking King to apologize to the Jackson family for his remarks.

“This country was built on Christian principles and one of them is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you,— reads the petition, which is also gathering signatures online. King’s “comments do not reflect the compassion that Christ showed for his fellow men while on this earth.—

Rocky Twyman, the community organizer leading the effort, told HOH that the group isn’t angry at King and just wants him to publicly say he’s sorry to the family. Twyman held up a sign that read in part: “America wants you to apologize to the Jackson Family For your harsh remarks DURING A TIME OF GRIEF.—

“We go wherever we see a need, a spiritual need,— Twyman said. “We’d be willing to come up here and pray with Congressman King.—

Since gas prices fell, Pray at the Pump members have expanded their reach, holding prayer vigils for a variety of causes. On the day of Jackson’s memorial service, the group held their own celebration of the singer’s life outside the White House.

After King’s anti-Jackson rant spread across the Web, the group decided to take action and started gathering signatures outside of Cannon (where King’s office is located). They sent a copy of the petition to King’s office, Twyman said, but have yet to hear back.

Twyman also weighed in on the recent controversy over legislation introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) to honor Jackson’s legacy. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) told reporters on Thursday that she would not bring the bill to the floor, although Jackson Lee has vowed to continue to push for it.

Twyman said the bill should pass because while Jackson was not “a perfect person by any means,— he set an “example of brotherly love— that more entertainers should follow.

“What I’m really concerned about are the mean-spirited remarks,— Twyman said, adding that Members “just keep attacking each other back and forth. They’ll never come together.—

In that spirit, Twyman said people should forgive sex-scandal embattled politicians such as Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R).

“It’s compassion — that’s what we’re pushing, that we’ve all got to be more tolerant than we are,— he said.

The World’s Hardest Deliberative Body? Hear more grunts than usual emanating from the House gym this morning? Blame fitness guru Tony Horton, who led about 15 Members and staffers in a tough hour-plus workout.

Horton (who’s most famous for his ripped-body-inducing P90X program) told HOH after the session that he was impressed with the level of fitness of his participants, including Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and P90X aficionados Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

And that’s a good thing, since Horton thinks a buffer Congress might be a better one — and not just aesthetically. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that lead to clearer thinking and better decision-making, he says. “If you have a fit Congressman, a healthy Congressman, a flexible Congressman — maybe it’s a bit far-fetched, but — maybe we’d have a more efficient Congress.—

Horton visited Washington for “brainstorming sessions— with Members and others about how the military might make use of his products (Horton has a large fan base in the armed services already) and how fitness fits into health-care reform.

He’ll meet with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) — his home-state Senator who happens to sit on both the Armed Services and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees — Friday afternoon.

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