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HOH’s One-Minute Recess: More on the Mattresses

Updated: 2:40 p.m.

GOP Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell is aiming to put the story about her campaign’s $545 mattress purchase to bed.

An O’Donnell spokeswoman tells HOH that the candidate bought three mattresses in July from a local Mattress Giant store so campaign workers could have a place to crash if they need to catch a few quick z’s. O’Donnell is running “very much a grass-roots effort” and didn’t want staff to have to snooze on the floor, spokeswoman Hayley McConnell says.

O’Donnell is still running her campaign out of her rented townhouse, McConnell says, but she “is looking to change that.”

The Oscars for Wonks

The music industry has the Grammys, the television world has the Emmys and the federal government has … the Sammies.

The Partnership for Public Service handed out its annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (just call them the Sammies) at a black-tie dinner held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Wednesday night.

Hosted by MSNBC host Norah O’Donnell, the ceremony honored federal workers who have made significant contributions to help the country. Several political VIPs were on hand for the soiree, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is overseeing the response to the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Allen introduced honoree Sandra Brooks, a civilian employee for the Navy who focuses on finding ways to thwart drug traffickers on the high seas. “When the drug cartels feel a disturbance in the force, it is due to the presence of Sandy ‘Obi Wan” Brooks,'” Allen joked.

In her acceptance speech, Brooks deadpanned that Allen, who nominated her for the award, “will get the bill for this dress.” She also poked fun at herself — and the Sammies’ award-show feel — by remarking that “Hollywood is not going to be knocking on my door.”

“Unless they’re looking for Jed Clampett,” she joked, drawing laughter from the audience.

Hot Diggity Dog

Turns out that all a man needs to be happy in life is six half-smokes from Ben’s Chili Bowl and a good woman. Or at least that’s all comedian Bill Cosby needs.

The Navy man was at the National Building Museum on Wednesday night to accept the Lone Sailor Award from the Navy Memorial, but his mind seemed to be on food rather than awards. While he was in the service, Cosby was based in Bethesda, Md., during which time he developed a taste for the famous chili half-smokes at Ben’s.

“We would go after watching jazz,” he said. He added that in 1958, half-smokes cost a mere 35 cents. These days, the 73-year-old is only allowed two half-smokes a year, instead of the six-a-night habit that he once indulged in, because his wife gets “jealous.”

Cosby was joined at the gala by scores of men in uniform and even a few Members of Congress. HOH spotted Reps. Gene Taylor (R-Miss.) and John Tanner (D-Tenn.) as well as former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.).

Back in Class

Washington residents are still buzzing about D.C. Councilmember Vincent Gray’s big win over Mayor Adrian Fenty in Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary, and they are wondering whether it means public schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is also headed out of office.

Perhaps some political bigwigs are pondering the same thing because several showed up for a screening at the Newseum of “Waiting for Superman,” which studies the failures of the American school system, and Rhee appeared at a forum on public schools held after the documentary played.

White House adviser David Axelrod and Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.) attended the screening, HOH hears. Crooner John Legend was also on hand.

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