Kaine Prepares to Defend Spelling Bee Crown

Kaine cramming for the spelling bee? (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Kaine cramming for the spelling bee? (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 20, 2015 at 2:16pm

Lawmakers are of very different minds as to what’s going to help them carry the day Wednesday, when they face off against political scribes at the National Press Club’s biennial spelling bee.

The “Politicians vs. Press ” showdown, the third such meeting of its kind, is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the club’s downtown headquarters.  

The defending champ, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., will fight to retain “The Best Speller in the United States” crown he earned in 2013, after correctly spitting out “nonpareil.”

“If every spelling bee had an open bar, my elementary school years would have been much more pleasant,” the Virginia Democrat told the NPC audience during the last nerve-wracking competition.  

Kaine will be joined in a war of nearly unpronounceable words by returning masochist Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., the hyper-competitive pol who fell just short last time around.  

Newcomers to the congressional squad include freshman Reps. Brad Ashford, D-Neb.; Don Beyer Jr., D-Va.; Brendan F. Boyle, D-Pa.; Tom Emmer, R-Minn.; and Ted Lieu, D-Calif.  

Boyle took an indirect route to the contest.  

“I was supposed to play in the Congressional Football Game . … But at practice I broke my leg, so I’m now free to compete in the spelling bee instead,” he told HOH.  

Boyle appears comfortable with winging things.  

“So far I have not spent one minute preparing. Much like how Donald Trump ‘prepares’ for a debate,” he quipped.  

Team Emmer mapped out a more immersive training program.  

“He is listening to the ‘Rocky’ theme song on repeat for an hour daily to get pumped up,” staff said of Emmer’s pre-game prep.  

Beyer was similarly amped — “I haven’t been in a spelling bee since 3rd grade and I cannot wait,” he declared — but did voice reservations about potential stumbling blocks.  

“Like a lot of Congress, ‘sequestration’ always stumps me,” he said of a particularly meddlesome term.  

As for Kaine, staff fired over a pic of his current reading material: Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.  

(Courtesy Tim Kaine)
(Courtesy Tim Kaine)

It was his prize from the last time around.  

See how they’ll all fare by purchasing your ticket ($10 for NPC members, $15 for the general public) before they’re all G-O-N-E.