Sen. Mike Lee addressed a big conservative gathering just outside Washington last weekend, with a call to return society to the point where everyone took care of each other rather than relying on government to do so.
And then there was the pudding story.
Lee told the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was on a trip to southern Utah once with his family and opted to try the salad bar at a fast-food spot so he could impress his wife that he wasn't just scarfing down hamburgers. A buffet of "healthy greens and dreadfully nutritious vegetables" awaited him.
"I was quite uninspired for an appetizing lunch that day when to my great surprise and delight at the very end of the salad bar I found chocolate pudding," Lee told the crowd.
But after snatching up a good portion and hiding it behind a row of greens, Lee took a bite of the pudding only to discover it was rancid and spoiled. Searching out an employee to warn the restaurant, Lee found a teenage girl who rolled her eyes at his concern.
"I'm not on the salad," the girl told Lee.
" 'I'm not on salad,' " Lee repeated the girl. "Instead of that shoulder shrugging, what we need in this town, in Washington, is some serious shoulder squaring, in the sense of [bringing back a] civil society. In that sense, we are all 'on salad.' "
Next time, the senator might want to opt for the burger.
Balanced bragging • During a hearing last week on the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial in the nation's capital, the former president's granddaughter just had to brag.
Her grandfather, Susan Eisenhower told a House Natural Resources subcommittee, balanced the budget three times in his eight years in office and reduced the debt.
In a Congress that hasn't been able to balance the budget in some 15 years, Susan Eisenhower's comment just rubbed it in a little too much.
"Don't gloat," Rep. Rob Bishop shot back to laughter from the audience.
Hatch, the deal-maker? • In a speech trashing the Democrats' budget proposal for not taking more steps to reduce the nation's debt, Sen. Orrin Hatch was nostalgic for a time when members of Congress more easily sought compromise instead of producing competing plans.
And he hinted of his openness to returning to his glory days as a senator, when he was known for striking accords with Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden and Henry Waxman.
"Admittedly, we need to have both parties working together. We used to do that. I used to be part of that; I wouldn't mind being part of that again," he said on the Senate floor. "But we have got to find some way of getting together and getting these fiscal problems under control."
Perfect gift • Hatch celebrated his 79th birthday on Friday and Facebook helpfully suggested his friends and acquaintances might want to send him a gift. The site suggested a Starbucks gift card. As one faithful reader pointed out, the site still hasn't perfected its algorithm when it comes to members of the LDS faith.
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Burr and Canham report from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or via Twitter: @thomaswburr or @mattcanham.