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D.C. Notebook: Lee gives Paul a drone for his birthday

By Thomas Burr and Matt Canham

First Published Jan 12 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 24 2014 11:33 pm

What do you get the libertarian senator who has just about everything? That was the conundrum facing Sen. Mike Lee with his tea party buddy Sen. Rand Paul’s birthday fast approaching. Lee decided to go with a gag gift, buying a tiny, addictively fun, drone.

Lee and Paul have been tight since they both were elected to the Senate in 2010 and given Paul’s concern with drones used to target terrorists — the senator held the floor for 13 hours last year lambasting the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to kill people domestically without due justice — Lee thought his birthday surprise would elicit a laugh. It did.

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"My good friend, Senator Mike Lee from Utah, gave me a drone," Paul said Wednesday night on Fox News’s On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.

The Kentucky Republican said he hadn’t yet figured out what to do with his new toy that’s the size of his hand but he had one idea.

"You may wonder, what am I going to do with a drone? Well, it’s got a laser. And I’ve been trying to get invited to the Democrat lunch for about a year now and they won’t invite me. So you know what? I think I’m going to send my drone in."

Of course, Senate rules probably wouldn’t permit a senator using a drone to spy on the other side of the aisle, but Paul said he was planning to "check" to see if it’s possible.

Go Weber » Utah’s federal delegation was all over the celebration of Weber State University’s 125 anniversary. Lee turned his weekly Jell-O with the Senator event into a tribute, featuring purple gelatin with white whipped cream in homage to the school’s colors. Lee posed for an Instagram shot holding a cup of Utah’s favorite dessert.

And Lee made sure to celebrate the school’s history in a speech to the Senate, even though he’s a Brigham Young University graduate.

"Although I normally bleed blue, I have set aside this week to bleed purple with my Wildcat friends and colleagues," Lee said. "I congratulate the countless students and faculty members who have worked hard to make Weber State University what it is today. May the next 125 years be as tremendous as the last, and may the ensign of truth and right continue to proudly wave o’re ole Weber."

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Rep. Rob Bishop, too, took the House floor to extoll the virtues of "one of Utah’s premier academic institutions."

"Everyone in Utah wore purple yesterday in honor of this event," Bishop said. "As cold as it was here, I am also proud to say I was wearing a Weber State hoodie and sweats all night long — obviously, in honor of Weber State and to try to stay warm back here in Washington."

Mayor Dan » Rep. Chris Stewart also took time last week to honor new St. George Mayor Jon Pike and outgoing Mayor Dan McArthur, who served the city for 20 years.

"Before we begin the political battles of the year," Stewart said, he wanted to have a nice moment on the floor.

"Mayor Dan is a true representative of the Dixie spirit," Stewart continued. "His volunteerism was shown in 2005 when they had severe flooding along the Virgin River. He and other city council members joined other citizens in sandbagging the river to prevent severe damage and more flooding. I am pleased to call Mayor Dan a friend."

Morning email » Snack on Political Cornflakes, our morning dish of political news. Join our mailing list by emailingcornflakes@sltrib.com or follow us on Twitter, @SLTribPolitics. Check back at politicalcornflakes.com for regular updates.

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