I wonder what was on the menu...
According to various reports, the newest members of Congress were guests at a private recpetion courtesy of President Bush this evening.
The Capitol police weren't quite ready for Tester, a farmer with a throwback flat top haircut and fingers missing on his left hand from an old accident with a meat grinder. They asked him to empty his pockets for inspection.
"Just like at the airport, you put it all through?" Tester asked.
The officer nodded, but quickly waived Tester through once he found out who the newcomer was.
Tester later appeared with his fellow Democratic freshmen - minus Missouri's Claire McCaskill, who is on a post-election vacation with her husband. They met with incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who led the Senate Democrats' campaign effort and took some ribbing on how tough their individual races had been.
"They kept saying, 'You didn't tell us it would be this hard," Schumer quipped. "This is a great group - some are liberal, some are conservative, some are moderate."
One new senator who campaigned strenuously on his opposition to the war, Jim Webb of Virginia, said he was rushing to keep up with the new demands on his schedule.
"I haven't been able to relax yet," said Webb.
Sounds interesting; I would have liked to have been a fly on that wall. Again, I wonder what was on the menu...For the few new Republicans, success at the polls was clouded by the disappointment in the GOP losing control of the House and Senate.
"I was really hoping to know what it was like to be in a majority here in Washington, D.C.," said Rep.-elect Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
Politics, however, took a back seat to procedure for most of the day, as wide-eyed rookie lawmakers seemed both excited and awed.
"From both parties, we all sort of have the same feeling: 'Wow! Is this really happening?" said Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y.
Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat who beat incumbent Chris Chocola, said he was mostly concerned about getting his office up and running "as quickly as possible, so we can start working for the people back home."
In the evening, President Bush hosted newly elected lawmakers at a private White House reception.