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D.C. Notebook: Hatch's sneakers and Lee as Luke Skywalker

Published October 6, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sen. Ted Cruz's marathon speech on the Senate floor to try to hold up a vote on a budget measure got more interesting as the hours ticked by, and we learned a few interesting tidbits beyond the fact that the Texas Republican likes to parody Green Eggs and Ham.

Cruz began his speech noting that he didn't have on his signature black ostrich-skin cowboy boots — nicknamed his argument boots — and had instead opted for black tennis shoes to help him talk until he could stand no more.

"Actually," Cruz said, "I think they are the same model the senior senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, wears on a regular basis."

Later on, Cruz made an analogy between his fight against the Washington establishment and the Rebel Alliance taking on the Empire in Star Wars.

"Indeed," he said, "immediately upon hearing that phrase, I wondered if at some point we would see a tall gentleman in a mechanical breathing apparatus come forward and say in a deep voice, 'Mike Lee, I am your father.' "

For the record, Sen. Darth Vader did not make an appearance during Cruz's 21-hour, 19-minute speech.

Pie bribery? • The House Rules Committee has been the scene of some testy debate as the House took up various versions of budget measures before and during the government shutdown. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, serves on the panel and tried to offer a moment of levity as tensions got high.

"Will the gentleman yield?" Rep. Louise Slaughter, the ranking Democrat on the committee, asked Bishop at one point last week.

"When you get me a rhubarb pie, I will yield to you," Bishop replied, according to The Washington Post.

Alas, there was no pie but Bishop eventually yielded.

Under the gun • During a rather humorous Senate Judiciary Committee hearing ­— a rather rare event — Lee praised 10th Circuit Appeals nominee Carolyn McHugh as a great fit for the job, especially because the Utah Republican had already vetted her when then-Gov. Jon Huntsman appointed her to the Utah Court of Appeals in 2005.

Lee, at the time, was Huntsman's general counsel.

"[Huntsman] told me in no uncertain terms, find the best possible candidate," Lee told the committee. "I knew my life depended on it. The governor was surrounded by several heavily armed men."

Lee found McHugh, and didn't get shot.

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Burr and Canham report from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at tburr@sltrib.com or mcanham@sltrib.com or via Twitter @thomaswburr or @mattcanham.