Heard on the Hill: Something Smells Fishy

Posted January 28, 2011 at 5:08pm

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address didn’t just serve to push his agenda. It also got him a free meal, courtesy of Sen. Mark Begich.

The Alaska Democrat sent a jar and a can of Alaska smoked salmon to Obama on Friday afternoon, inspired by the president’s mention of salmon in the SOTU. Salmon is Alaska’s state fish and a major part of the Last Frontier’s economy; Obama referenced salmon in his speech as a way of slamming government bureaucracy.

“The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked,” Obama joked.

In a letter to Obama, Begich urges the president to support efforts to protect salmon in its natural environment, and he sends a sample of smoked wild salmon from an Alaska seafood processor.

“As you noted, the rules for smoked salmon are somewhat more complicated, but the result is a product that is as healthy as it is delicious,” Begich writes.