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Heard on the Hill: Not Your Average Celeb Spotting

Most Congressional staffers can name at least one Hollywood celebrity they’ve seen on Capitol Hill — but we’re guessing very few can say they were nearly rescued from imminent danger by one.

[IMGCAP(1)]A Senate staffer was riding the subway from the Capitol to the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday and happened to be sitting in the car directly behind actor Woody Harrelson, who was visiting Capitol Hill.

A pretty exciting celebrity sighting, sure. But the story doesn’t end there.

Just a few feet short of the Hart stop, the train came to a halt — and the staffer realized she was trapped behind a pillar, unable to get out of her car. After about five minutes, Harrelson and his handlers were able to pry open the emergency doors and get out of their car, the staffer reports, while she remained trapped.

The freed folks all walked away from the subway and started heading to their destination — except for Harrelson, who stayed around to try to get the staffer out.

“It was very sweet. He really did look very concerned about me,— she said.

Unfortunately, Harrelson’s handlers informed him he was already running late to wherever it was he was headed — and so he had to abandon the staffer before she could get out of the car. “He looked really apologetic when he had to leave,— she said.

The staffer noted that she really never was in any danger in the car (although she was understandably a bit freaked out). After about five more minutes, help arrived and the staffer was freed — but Harrelson was long gone.


Costello Overthrown? As far as we know, there isn’t any clandestine effort to oust Rep. Jerry Costello from his post as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation. But one could have easily thought a chairmanship overthrow was afoot during a subcommittee hearing held Wednesday afternoon.

HOH hears that when the Illinois Democrat walked into the committee room to begin the proceedings, he found former Rep. Bob Roe (D-N.J.) — who once chaired the full Transportation panel — sitting in his seat. That confused Costello — along with a bunch of junior Hill staffers in the room, who had no idea who Roe was. (To be fair, he did leave Congress in the early 1990s.)

But it turns out Roe was just visiting, in town because the U.S. Capitol Historical Society honored the T&I Committee at a dinner on Wednesday night. And after Costello spotted the New Jersey Democrat, Roe greeted Costello warmly and took a seat in the audience, HOH hears.

“It’s good to see my former chairman, Chairman Roe, here,— Costello said as he opened the hearing. “I saw him sitting in the chair, I thought maybe there was a coup.—

Masked Men. Two (very dumb) criminals in Iowa indirectly created a headache on Friday for Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Bunning (R).

Somehow, an article about the would-be burglars in Iowa — who rather idiotically disguised themselves by drawing rudimentary masks on their faces with black marker — was posted to Grayson’s Facebook page.

Now, the story itself is actually pretty darn funny, and especially timely considering the “worst disguise ever— came just before Halloween. But it turns out Grayson didn’t even add the article to his page — a Grayson spokesman blamed a “vendor error— for the posting.

Still, the fact that the story, which obviously has nothing to do with the Kentucky Senate race, even made it to Grayson’s Facebook page prompted the ire of his Senate opponent Rand Paul (the son of Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul). Soon after finding out about the posting, campaign manager David Adams blasted an e-mail to reporters covering the race, along with a screen shot of the article posted to Grayson’s Facebook page.

“A far worse disguise is the gaffe-prone Grayson posing as a ready-for-prime-time federal candidate representing Kentucky,— Adams said in a statement.

By early Friday morning, the article had been removed from Grayson’s Facebook page.

As for the poorly masked (alleged) criminals? They were arrested, charged with attempted second-degree burglary and released on bail.

Repeat Performance. Just days after appearing before the House Judiciary Committee to testify on the dangers of head injuries among National Football League players, commissioner Roger Goodell is headed back to Capitol Hill.

Goodell will testify on Tuesday before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on anti-doping policies in professional sports. He’ll be joined by DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL’s player association (who also testified last week); Rob Manfred, the executive vice president of Major League Baseball’s labor relations and human resources; Michael Weiner, the general counsel for the MLB’s players association; and a slew of other officials.

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