If you had to buy Sen. Patrick Leahy a gift and you had a $10 limit, what would you buy?
Sen. Mike Lee's answer: A Batman snuggie.
Lee and his Utah colleague, Sen. Orrin Hatch, were two of the 60 senators who participated in the second-annual Senate Secret Santa exchange, which took place earlier this week. Twenty Republicans joined 40 Democrats and gave as much cross-party gifts as possible.
Lee pulled the name of Leahy, the Judiciary Chairman, while Hatch had to find a cheap gift for Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
So how did Lee come up with his kitchy idea? He combined two things commonly known about Leahy: He's a Batman fanatic, who has cameos in the recent movies, and he's from Vermont where it is darn cold.
Hatch stuck to a Utah theme, giving Rockefeller a coffee-table book of Valoy Eaton's western landscapes.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., drew Lee's name. He decided to make a play off of Lee's not-so-secret desire to be a pirate on the high seas.
In speeches, Lee often jokingly refers to the antiquated congressional power of issuing a "letter of marque and reprisal," which grants the bear the right to act as a pirate in the name of the U.S. government. Lee says before he leaves the Senate, he wants such a letter, an eye patch and a ship.
Levin gave Lee the paperback of "Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a generation of swashbuckling Jews carved out an empire in the New World in their quest for treasure, religious freedom and revenge."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., bought Hatch a gift that played off of the Utah Republican's love of music. He gave Hatch the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's "Christmas at the Brooklyn Tabernacle."
-- Matt Canham