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Heard on the Hill: Kennedy’s Vodka-Fueled Bar Trip

Rep. Patrick Kennedy was spotted doing vodka shots last week at a Capitol Hill bar just hours after he spoke about his history of substance abuse at a charity event.

An HOH tipster and a pal were sitting at the bar at the Capitol Lounge around 11 p.m. on Tuesday when the Rhode Island Democrat walked in and took a seat between the pair. The tipster’s friend asked the Congressman what he was drinking, and when Kennedy replied vodka, the group ordered vodka shots, the tipster tells us.

After slamming down the first round, another was ordered, then a third. Our tipster and his friend stopped doing shots, but Kennedy drank three more until the bartender cut him off, at least from obtaining any more shots, our tipster says.

Our tipster adds Kennedy was in a lively mood, joking with others at the bar and even boasting about President Barack Obama, calling him “the best president ever.”

When our tipster countered: “Wait a second. What about your uncle?” — referring, of course, to President John F. Kennedy — the younger Kennedy jovially responded, “Oh yeah! Good one,” and slapped our tipster’s back, he says.

No word on when Kennedy left the lounge, as our tipster headed out before the Congressman.

Earlier in the night, Kennedy received an award for his work on mental health issues at the annual fundraising dinner for N Street Village, a local charity that helps low-income women battle homelessness and drug addiction.

Kennedy — who was introduced at the soiree by his one-time substance abuse sponsor, former Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.) — touched on his personal history in his acceptance speech. The Congressman recalled the late night in 2006 when he crashed his car into a Capitol Hill barricade and subsequently headed to rehab for a prescription drug addiction.

HOH’s multiple calls and e-mails to Kennedy’s office seeking comment were not returned by press time.

Turbulent Air for McCain, Jarrett. Political VIPs and airplanes didn’t seem to be a good combination this weekend. HOH tipsters spotted both Sen. John McCain and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on separate flights, both of which experienced a few glitches.

The Arizona Republican was on a flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport to Phoenix on Friday morning that had mechanical troubles so severe that the captain evacuated the plane and passengers boarded a new one, a process that took several hours. McCain, our spy says, was good-humored about the ordeal, even when the captain announced over the intercom that the plane’s brakes were so faulty they might catch fire if the plane departed.

Back in the terminal, McCain cheerfully posed for pictures and signed autographs, our witness says. “Other people were freaking out and making calls and trying to get other flights, but he just seemed fine, standing around and shooting the breeze,” the spy says.

The Senator even turned down the crew’s invitation to move him from coach to first class on the new plane.

On Sunday, Jarrett too had a rough flight: Another mile-high tipster tells us the glamorous White House top aide was on a flight from Denver to Dulles airport, where she was squeezed into the middle seat in the economy-plus section.

Jarrett’s reading light was broken, and she was having trouble reading her magazine.

Still, our spy says, she was very gracious and handled the less-than-ideal seat without complaint.

Who says political bigwigs can’t fly the friendly skies?

Cameron Can’t Get Enough. Just weeks after coming to Capitol Hill to speak at a forum about the importance of tackling climate change, filmmaker James Cameron is back in Washington.

The “Avatar” director took part in the 2010 Climate Rally held Sunday on the National Mall, appearing alongside celebs such as Sting, John Legend and the Rev. Jesse Jackson to speak on environmental issues. On Monday, the tech-savvy Cameron spoke at the Imagine Cup Student Competition at the Newseum, part of a worldwide contest sponsored by Microsoft to encourage students to use technology to find solutions to real-world issues.

Sen. Dodd’s Family Outing. Weekends must be a little more relaxed without a re-election race looming for Sen. Chris Dodd. The Connecticut Democrat was spotted Sunday with his family at Eastern Market.

Dodd was with his wife and two young daughters (one of whom rode a scooter), our spy says, buying fruit at the open-air market.

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