Heard on the Hill: Rockefeller Switches Geres

Posted April 12, 2011 at 6:29pm

Apparently, Sen. Jay Rockefeller is a huge Richard Gere fan. The West Virginia Democrat was in the middle of a scrum of reporters Tuesday after the Senate policy lunches when he interrupted their oh-so-serious questions to interject a cinematic musing.

He asked the scribes whether they were familiar with a movie in which the actor winds up in a Chinese prison (the Senator didn’t name the movie, but we’re guessing — with a little Google help — that he was referring to the 1997 thriller “Red Corner”). “That guy,” he said, pointing to a nearby staffer, looks just like one of the characters played by a Chinese actor (that would be Byron Mann — thanks again, Google).

The staffer was Ryan Patmintra, press secretary for Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). HOH asked Patmintra whether he had ever heard about the resemblance before. Patmintra, who is Asian, says he doesn’t really see it, but he seemed flattered.

“Hey, at least he didn’t mistake me for Sulu,” he jokes, referring to the Asian character from “Star Trek.”

A Rockefeller spokesman says making obscure movie references is one of his boss’s lesser-known talents. “Besides mine safety and Medicaid, Sen. Rockefeller is also an expert on straight-to-video Richard Gere movies from the ’90s,” spokesman Vince Morris says.