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Heard on the Hill: Bumped From the Hot Seat

One of the few comforts for those embroiled in a Washington scandal is that, before long, someone else will come along with an even juicier story line.

[IMGCAP(1)]The cable channels will replace the breathless chatter about your misdoings with breathless chatter about someone else’s.

That’s why Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who had come under scrutiny for his own verbal gaffes, might want to send a dozen roses to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for stealing the spotlight with revelations that the Nevada Democrat made racially tinged remarks about President Barack Obama. The card could read something like this: “Dear Harry, Thanks for having an even bigger mouth than me. XOXO, Mike.—

It’s a familiar pattern. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) was the subject of all kinds of attention when he admitted on June 16 that he’d had an affair with a staffer. But only days later, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford became the media’s philanderer du jour with even more scandal-icious revelations concerning an Argentinian mistress.

But soon, the affaire de Sanford was just a blip on the cable-news crawl: A day after the beleaguered guv came clean about his adultery, pop icon Michael Jackson died and the media vultures pounced.

After that, it was all M.J., all the time. Sanford who?

And in December, Ensign was back in the cross hairs when the husband of the woman whom he’d cheated with began giving national interviews. About a week later, Ensign no doubt breathed a sigh of relief when reports revealed that Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) had nominated his girlfriend for a plum job.

So for the subject of the next media firestorm: Call your lawyer, then hope for another Balloon Boy.

Hatch Goes Hollywood. Politics aside, the 2000s were good to Sen. Orrin Hatch — his side career as a songwriter often landed him in the movies.

Harper’s Magazine posted a tweet Monday, taken from the October 2002 issue, noting the Utah Republican’s songs were featured in two Hollywood movies in the previous two years. HOH wondered whether the songwriting Senator had more luck getting into the movies during the rest of the aughts.

By our count, Hatch doubled his numbers.

Hatch-written songs were included in at least four Hollywood-produced movies released during the 2000s: “America Rocks,— featured in the 2001 flick “Rat Race—; “Little Angel of Mine,— featured on the soundtrack of the 2002 movie “Stuart Little 2—; “Everyday Heroes,— performed by Brooks and Dunn for the 2002 film “Joshua—; and “Souls Along the Way,— included in the George Clooney-Brad Pitt headlined 2004 box-office smash “Ocean’s Twelve.—

Hatch has earned tens of thousands of dollars in royalties from the songs that he’s written over the years. He tends to stick to patriotic and spiritual themes and is best known for the songs that he’s written about friends such as the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Most recently, Hatch garnered attention for “Eight Days of Hannukah,— his tribute to the Jewish people.

Make It Work. One-time Virginia gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran (above) doesn’t strike HOH as a major fashionista. But when the younger brother of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is honored tonight, he’ll be joined by a stylish, quasi-famous friend.

Designer Logan Neitzel, who placed sixth in the most recent season of “Project Runway,— is set to appear at Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar at a reception hosted by the Career College Association.

CCA spokesman Luke Thomas tells HOH that Neitzel was invited because he graduated from the Art Institute of Seattle, one of the group’s member institutions. Neitzel will pose for photographs, sign autographs and might even offer styling tips — but Thomas warns the event is invite-only, so if you want to get in, you’ll have to try your luck at party-crashing.

While Neitzel is the night’s VIP, the reception actually honors the group’s new staffers, including Moran, who started as executive vice president of government affairs in late 2009. Katherine Brodie, director of government and legal affairs, and Sarah Abruzzese, communications director, will also be honored.

The ThighMaster Meets the Cot-Dweller. Green rooms make for odd meetings. On Tuesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) found himself in New York, cooling his heels while waiting for an appearance on Fox News’ “Your World— hosted by Neil Cavuto. Who should also be waiting for her turn on the same show but actress, author and ThighMaster pitchwoman Suzanne Somers. And that’s how the geeky Congressman met the glamorous former “Three’s Company— star.

The two had a nice but brief chat, Chaffetz spokeswoman Alisia Essig tells HOH. Somers told Chaffetz, known for his prolific Twittering and for bunking on a cot in his office, that she had seen him on TV. And Essig says Chaffetz returned the compliment, telling the former Playboy model that he appreciates the work that she’s done on health issues (Somers has a new book about alternative cancer treatments) and giving her his e-mail address.

But did he compliment her on her thighs? “We didn’t get that far,— Essig says.

Overheard on the Hill. “Honest engine on that.—

— The Fox News transcription of a Jan. 5 interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. Video clearly shows Steele saying the dicier phrase “honest Injun,— but the network’s automated transcription service apparently heard otherwise.

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