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Heard on the Hill: Hot-Button E-Mail

And now, HOH brings you another tale of e-mail forwarding gone wrong, this time involving a Senate candidate, a Senate staffer, a reporter and the insult “nimrod.—

[IMGCAP(1)]Army Col. Conrad Reynolds is one of several Republicans vying to take on Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) for Arkansas’ Senate seat in 2010. Reynolds’ campaign issued a press release last week blasting Lincoln for a vote, and among those who received it was Greg Chance, the news director of an NPR affiliate based at Arkansas State University.

It seems Chance attempted to forward the e-mail to Katie Laning Niebaum, Lincoln’s Washington-based communications director. In his forward, which HOH obtained, Chance mocked the press release and even the campaign’s logo, which features the Army colonel insignia.

“There was another one from this nimrod earlier today which I lost. I just love his logo. That ought to go over really well with the enlisted people. (ha ha),— he writes.

One problem: Chance must have hit the “reply— button instead, because his message went straight to Kenneth Ryan James, the campaign’s spokesman.


Not surprisingly, James did not find Chance’s e-mail terribly amusing. “We don’t necessarily appreciate Mr. Chance calling Col. Reynolds, who commanded troops in Baghdad, among other things, a nimrod,— James told HOH.

James still hasn’t responded to Chance’s e-mail. But he argues it was a conflict of interest for Chance to send Laning Niebaum the message, pointing out that his e-mail account is taxpayer-funded through the university. James also questioned whether Lincoln’s Senate office solicited the e-mail.

HOH’s multiple attempts to reach Chance were unsuccessful. But we did get in touch with Laning Niebaum.

“That is an interesting allegation from the Reynolds campaign,— Laning Niebaum said. “I did not receive the e-mail you referenced. Sen. Lincoln’s office has never solicited a reporter for any materials from a possible opponent’s campaign.—

Chance could run into the Reynolds campaign soon — the candidate is set to appear at ASU for an event on Thursday, James said.

Razor Redux. It’s hair today and gone tomorrow for Sen. Tom Coburn. No sooner had HOH reported that the Oklahoma Republican had grown a decidedly non-Senatorial beard than the unpredictable Coburn shaved it all off.

He appeared around Capitol Hill on Tuesday with a perfectly stubble-free visage, having apparently ditched previous plans to sport a fuzzy chin for the colder months.

Coburn spokesman Don Tatro says his boss gave up the beard for what we think is an excellent reason — his wife asked him to (nicely, of course). The couple was headed to an event over the weekend, and Tatro says Carolyn Coburn asked her husband to clean up his act. “He figured after 41 years of marriage, it was the least he could do,— Tatro says.

A quick shave as the price for domestic tranquility? Sounds like a good deal to us.

Panhandling Patriot. When Uncle Sam came to town on Tuesday, he looked a little down on his luck.

[IMGCAP(2)]The brim of his famous stars-and-stripes top hat was torn. His patriotic suit was dirty and filled with holes, as were his black dress shoes. Sam even carried a cardboard sign reading: “I Want You To Give Me $12 Trillion.—

OK, so it wasn’t actually Uncle Sam asking for the cash. The Employment Policies Institute dispatched 17 destitute-looking Uncle Sams throughout the city — including to the Longworth House Office Building, Capitol South Metro and Union Station — for their “Defeat the Debt— campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of the national debt.

HOH chatted with the Uncle Sam stationed at 400 North Capitol St. (conveniently located next to the Fox, NBC and C-SPAN studios). Sam (really J. Justin Wilson, EPI’s senior research analyst) asked everyone who passed by for a trillion or two, but mostly got “hey, maybe tomorrow— responses.

“These people get the joke, but they’re all Congressional staffers,— Wilson said of the passers-by. “It’s clear what the mentality is up there. … This sort of passing-the-buck mentality. Eventually, someone is going to have to start paying down the debt.—

Even if it is only a quarter at a time.

Press Release. Two members of the Washington press corps have come up with an ingenious solution to shrinking news readership: Produce a little future reader of their very own. Here’s a warm welcome to Zachary Akers Isikoff, born on Monday to former HOH scribe Mary Ann Akers (who now pens the Washington Post blog the Sleuth) and Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff.

“Zach is the ultimate proof that there’s life — and plenty of it — after HOH!— the proud mom tells us.

And since Washington kids clearly grasp the concept of networking early on, little Zach has already befriended another media-elite spawn. We hear Jack Tapper, the newborn son of ABC newsman Jake and his wife, Jennifer, is across the hospital hall from the Akers-Isikoff clan, and that the two babies have already inked a joint book deal.

John McArdle and Jessica Brady contributed to this report.

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