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Heard on the Hill: Albright’s Buxom Pin-Manship

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously wore pins during her tenure to communicate foreign policy messages — and the pins even rescued a South Korean foreign minister after he acted like a real boob.

Albright unveiled her collection of more than 200 pins to the press at the Smithsonian Institution Castle on Tuesday. While most symbolized her diplomatic efforts (she often wore a snake pin when dealing with Iraq because Saddam Hussein once called her an “unparalleled serpent”), her entire collection saved the job of the South Korean minister, the former chief diplomat told the crowd.

Albright always maintained good relations with this minister and usually gave him a hug when they greeted each other. During one visit, the minister was out with a group of reporters and apparently thought his conversation was off the record because he told them that he liked when Albright visited for a few reasons — she was around his age, was a very lively person and had “firm breasts.”

Albright immediately received calls asking whether the minister should resign, but she just brushed off the comment. “I said, ‘Well, I have to have something to put the pins on,'” Albright recalled.

“Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection” opens Friday.

What Song Is It You Want to Hear?

People typically express their appreciation for Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd by raising a can of Natty Light while yelling “Free Bird!” But two Members of Congress are doing the beer swillers one better, hosting a proper reception tonight to pay tribute to the group that has provided the soundtrack to many a frat party.

Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.) are the hosts of an invite-only gathering to “honor and celebrate the legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd” in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Mack hails from the band’s home state (who knew they were Floridians?), but Bachus’ state, of course, is the subject of Skynyrd’s iconic “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Bachus spokesman Tim Johnson tells HOH that the song is “the most famous advertisement for his home state, and it clearly rocks more than ‘New York, New York.'”

Johnson says Bachus was thrilled to host the band. “But we’ll be disappointed if the fire code in Rayburn prohibits the use of lighters if ‘Free Bird’ breaks out spontaneously,” he says.

Dishing With a D.C. ‘Top Chef’

Tamesha Warren had an advantage as one of the contestants on the new season of “Top Chef D.C.” (which premieres tonight on Bravo): The 24-year-old already knew all about life in the nation’s capital because she’s the sous chef at the Oval Room.

Filming in D.C. was actually an unexpected turn of events considering Warren didn’t know where the show would take place when she auditioned. She signed up for the reality competition after being pestered by co-workers and because she “thought it would have been pretty interesting to do.”

But Warren couldn’t shake a gut feeling that it would be in Washington. “I would have liked to have gone to Hawaii or have gone somewhere else,” she joked.

Warren couldn’t divulge many specifics about this season’s competition, but she did say that once she found out the show’s locale, she read up on American dishes. And we are guessing she doesn’t play the role as resident diva on the show because she said she’s still friends with everyone.

“Nothing bad can come of doing ‘Top Chef.’ Only positives can happen after this,” she said. “I met a great group of people, 16 other friends that I can now travel and go meet and do dinners with.”

Rush-Order Cook

Rep. Bobby Rush might not be mistaken for uber-chef Bobby Flay, but he’s certainly making a culinary splash. Last night, the Democratic Club featured “Rep. Bobby Rush’s Salmon,” a recipe concocted by the Illinois Democrat.

Spokeswoman Sharon Jenkins tells HOH that her boss often hangs out at the Democratic Club and got to chatting with the chef and staff about his favorite foods. The club decided to take the Congressman’s gastronomic advice and offered a special inspired by one of his favorite recipes. Rush’s creation, a “crispy filet of salmon with potato pancakes and baby spinach,” will run diners $21.

“It’s our small contribution to the economy and a tribute to the Congressman’s taste buds and cooking skills,” Jenkins said.  

Jackson: Staying in Shape

Looks like Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is aiming to get fit for summer.

An HOH spy eyed the Illinois Democrat checking out the fitness equipment Monday afternoon at the Sports Authority at the Potomac Yard shopping center in Alexandria, Va. Jackson wasn’t in workout gear, our spy says, but rather wearing tan slacks and a sport coat.

Jackson is no fitness newbie. Since losing more than 50 pounds about five years ago, the Congressman has become quite the workout buff, known to do everything from yoga to the trendy martial arts-esque Budokon.

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