D.C. Notebook: Lee’s visits to S.C., Iowa don’t hint at White House bid
By Thomas Burr and Matt Canham
The Salt Lake Tribune
First published Sep 21 2013 01:01AM
Sen. Mike Lee is delivering a big speech in Iowa next month and we all know what that means — he’s running for president.
No, says his staff.
OK, but politicians typically head to Iowa because the state holds the first contest of the presidential primary contest, it’s quadrennial caucus vote. That’s why Lee’s good friends, Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, have made repeated trips there. So Lee’s visit has to hint at an openness to run for the White House.
No, says his staff.
Fine, but why else would he fly to Iowa on Nov. 9 to speak to the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which in its news release touts that it will have 1,000 people in attendance "who will play a crucial role in this critical 2013-2014 cycle." The group also advertises that its Lee’s first political visit to the Hawkeye State.
He was invited, says his staff.
Of course, he was also recently invited to South Carolina, another early, key state in the GOP primary process. So we’ll just say he hasn’t closed the door on a run for president.
Sigh, says his staff.
Utah’s fashionable member • Rep. Rob Bishop is known for his three-piece suits at the Capitol, including his Wednesday wardrobe consisting of a white, pinstripe seersucker. But since Labor Day has passed, and white is out, Bishop took to the floor this week in a three-piece outfit that sparked some social media traffic, both good and bad.
Political reporter Dave Levinthal wondered whether it was made of "stone," while another person called the Utah Republican a "baller."
Political football • At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Lee welcomed the two Utahns testifying — former U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman and ex-White House deputy drug czar Scott Burns — but had to first razz Texas Sen. John Cornyn.
"I was pleased a minute ago when Mr. Cornyn was referring to what Texas has become known for, I was hoping he was going to say Texas’ recent loss to BYU," said Lee, a Brigham Young University alum who was proud of his school’s 40-21 rout of the Longhorns.
Lee also teased Tolman, whom the senator has known since law school. "I’m not sure he was shaving back then," Lee said, "but apparently he got into the habit of not shaving, and that is a beautiful beard."
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