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Heard on the Hill: John McCain’s Not-So-Fresh Feeling

Sen. John McCain is no Al Gore when it comes to the environment, but the guy clearly is an enthusiastic practitioner of recycling — at least when it comes to jokes. The Arizona Republican repeated the same gag at consecutive dinners on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, McCain introduced U2 rocker Bono at a dinner sponsored by the Atlantic Council, telling the audience that he’s “found over the years that the only ethnic jokes that can be told in politics are Irish jokes.” (Bono, of course, hails from the Emerald Isle.) Astute listeners might have caught McCain using that very same quip only 24 hours later, when he appeared at a shindig held by the Congressional Fire Services Institute, an organization with a strong contingent of Irish-American members.

McCain was probably counting on the fact that there weren’t too many audience members who attended both dinners. But he might not have counted on an HOH tipster, who read the quip in HOH’s report on the dinner and then heard the retread joke that night.

The Senator might want to work on some fresh material … perhaps along the lines of, “I just flew in from Phoenix … and boy, are my arms tired!”

Ruppersberger Not Slowed by Neck Surgery

Don’t ever accuse Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of not being dedicated to his job.
An HOH spy eyed the Maryland Democrat wearing a neck brace on Capitol Hill last week, and a spokeswoman tells HOH that the Congressman is recovering from neck surgery.

Discs in the Congressman’s neck were pressing on his spinal cord, caused by injuries that Ruppersberger sustained in a near-fatal car accident in 1975, spokeswoman Heather Molino tells HOH. Ruppersberger went under the knife to fix the problem, with doctors fusing his neck and inserting a metal rod.

Doctors advised that the average person usually returns to work six weeks after undergoing this operation, Molino notes.

“In typical Dutch fashion, the Congressman came back after just three weeks,” she adds.

Sorta Like the WHCD, Only in the CVC Instead

Before the celebs turned on the glamour for Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner at the swanky Washington Hilton (check for a full rundown), about a dozen of them dined with Congressional aides on Friday in the far-less-glitzy confines of the Capitol Visitor Center.

Famous members of the Creative Coalition — including actors Adrian Grenier, Omar Epps, Marlon Wayans, Cheryl Hines, Gloria Reuben, CCH Pounder, Richard Schiff, Dana Delany, Tim Daly and his “Wings” co-star Steven Weber (phew) — came to Capitol Hill to ask Members to support National Lab Day. The May 12 event is a nationwide effort to use the arts to bring science and math education into classrooms.

The celebrities sat at tables throughout a CVC banquet room, chatting up Hill staffers while they dined. Earlier in the day, the stars lobbied Hill offices about the importance of arts funding.

Actress Wendie Malick told HOH that she met with several Members, including an old friend, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), whom she’s known since 1975.

“It was great. It’s just so wonderful to see someone as smart as Al finally get that job,” Malick said.

HOH notes the celebs didn’t slum it on Capitol Hill much longer — immediately after the luncheon, they were whisked away for a White House visit.

Grayson’s Pink-on-Pink Outfits Showcase His Feminine Side

In the Audrey Hepburn movie “Funny Face,” a fashion-magazine editor decrees that her staff should “think pink,” a directive that Rep. Alan Grayson seemed to take to heart last week.

The Florida Democrat, who typically sports aggressively patriotic American flag ties, went a little softer, sporting pink-on-pink ensembles.

On Tuesday, he wore a Pepto-Bismol-colored tie with bold black designs and accessorized with a matching pink pocket square. And the next day, he appeared to be wearing the very same neckwear — this time, with a pale rose-colored shirt.

His sartorial moves didn’t go unnoticed — his brightly hued duds clearly turned some Capitol Hill aides’ heads.

“He usually dresses with a flair, but he was rockin’ that pink,” says an HOH tipster and astute fashion observer.

Grayson spokesman Todd Jurkowski defended his boss’s color choice and introduced HOH to a new turn of phrase.

“At least he didn’t wear the same shirt both days,” Jurkowski tells us. “Perhaps he wanted to remind everyone of the old phrase, ‘pink of the mode,’ which dates back to the 19th century and means ‘the acme of excellence in fashion.'”

Hey, we’re not knocking Grayson’s new hue — in fact, we applaud a guy who isn’t afraid to show his softer side.

And as the “Funny Face” character says, “think pink when you shop for summer clothes … think pink if you want that quelque chose!”

Overheard on the Hill

“To be treated [like] a man, you have to be twice as good. But, fortunately, that isn’t too hard.”

— Sen. Dianne Feinstein, recalling advice given to her by the female mayor of Ottawa when she was mayor of San Francisco. The California Democrat spoke at Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women” dinner Wednesday at the State Department.

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Photos of the week ending May 17, 2024