Skip to content

Heard on the Hill: Boys of Summer

Congressional softball isn’t just for light-beer-swilling junior staffers. A few Senators having been suiting up to hit the diamonds, too.

[IMGCAP(1)]Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) pitched an entire game on the National Mall with his staff team Tuesday night, HOH hears, and although the Baucus Tester Overdrive lost badly to the Alaskan Assassins, the Senator won points for sportsmanship.

And he’s not the only one — slammin’ Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was set to join his team Wednesday night, sources tell HOH, although his spokeswoman says work ultimately kept him from the field.

Tester plays regularly, spokesman Patrick Devlin tells HOH. “Whenever he’s here, unless he has Senate business or Montana business to attend to, he’s out there swinging with the rest of them,— he says of the team’s weekly games.

Tester’s reputation as a nice guy held up even in the heat of competition. As he handed over the ball to the opposing pitcher after the Alaskans had scored seven runs, Tester was characteristically self-deprecating. “Well, I don’t think there are any runs left in it,— he said.

Burger King. It’s nice work if you can get it. Rep. Lee Terry is gallantly serving the people by taking on over the August recess what sounds like a grueling gig: celebrity judge for a gourmet burger contest.

The Nebraska Republican and his wife, Robyn, will help choose the “Best Grilled Burger in Omaha— during an Aug. 30 benefit for the Opera Omaha Guild. Dubbed “Burgers & Bordeaux,— the event will feature local chefs flipping haute burgers, served with wine pairings.

Eric Hultman, Terry’s chief of staff, tells HOH that his boss is qualified — sort of — to serve as an expert judge. “I’m not sure he’s really an opera buff,— he says, “but he is a hamburger buff.—

And Terry will at least be on familiar turf, having once tended bar in his pre-Congress days at the Sunset Valley Country Club, where the event is being held.

We’re guessing that taste-testing burgers is infinitely preferable to other duties that befall Members back in their districts, like cutting ribbons and kissing babies.

Warrior Reunion. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stopped by the Iwo Jima Memorial on Tuesday night to catch the Marine Corps Sunset Parade — and help honor an old military comrade.

Retired Air Force Col. George “Bud— Day, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient often cited as the most decorated living U.S. service member, was housed with McCain in the “Hanoi Hilton— when both were prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.

At the start of their imprisonment, Day nursed a very sick McCain from the brink of death. When Day suffered a broken arm, McCain used bamboo from the prison yard to create a splint, and he personally set the bone.

Day appeared as a special guest for Tuesday’s performance, and McCain stopped by to honor his friend, whom he called “An American hero!— via Twitter. Just before the ceremony began, McCain walked out and gave Day a hug, according to an HOH spy. The pair then watched the show together.

Freshman Fifteen? The Senate’s two most junior Members apparently haven’t yet gotten the hang of the fancy-schmancy-Senator routine. Democratic Sens. Roland Burris (Ill.) and Al Franken (Minn.) were spotted Wednesday waiting in line like the rest of the staffers and tourists for lunch in the Dirksen cafeteria, an HOH spy says.

The Senators (who appeared to be dining separately) queued up along with the unwashed masses, with Burris opting for the fried-food counter. (Our spy couldn’t tell what was on Franken’s menu.)

Overheard on the Hill. “Input text here—

— The body of an e-mail sent Wednesday to Senate staffers, whose attention-getting subject line was “Important Message from US Capitol Police.— A police spokeswoman did not return HOH’s call looking into the false alarm.

Clayton Hanson of GalleryWatch contributed to this report.

Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.

Recent Stories

Tall order for lawmakers to finish spending bills next week

Capitol Ink | It’s gotta be the shoes

Truck rule is first test drive of federal autonomous vehicle oversight

One plan to modernize Congress? A coworking space

In Congress and courts, a push for better care for trans prisoners

Celeste Maloy had a ‘fast and breathtaking journey’ to Congress