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Political Circus: Size matters for the House speaker

By Ed Hornick, CNN
  • Writers weigh in on House Speaker John Boehner's big gavel
  • New novel about the Obama administration coming out, penned by "anonymous"
  • Rep. Darrell Issa having toe trouble

Washington (CNN) -- Politics is serious business -- but not all of the time. From the halls of Congress to the campaign trail to the international stage, there's always something that gets a laugh or a second glance.

Big government

Time magazine's Josh Sanburn asks in a new story, "Why Is John Boehner's Gavel So Big?

During the ceremonial handing over of the Speaker of the House's gavel, Boehner's predecessor noted the larger size of the gavel that he was presented with.

"I now pass this gavel, which is larger than most gavels here, but the gavel of choice of Speaker Boehner," Pelosi said to laughs.

Sanburn agrees, saying that "Boehner's gavel is so big, it resembles a croquet mallet."

The gavel became fodder for late-night comedians: "I think someone's compensating for his small government," Stephen Colbert quipped.

A real 'whodunnit'

The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove reports that the race is on to uncover who is the author of a novel about the Obama administration.

"Could it be Robert Gibbs? Joe Klein? David Plouffe?" he wonders.

The novel, "O: A Presidential Novel," is being penned by "Anonymous."

The last time a novel about an administration came out was with the release of "Primary Colors" by an anonymous author writing about President Clinton. That author later turned out to be Joe Klein, a current Time magazine writer.

Toeing the line

Rep. Darell Issa, the new House Oversight Committee chair, has a problem on his hands -- or, rather, his feet.

The Hill reports that the California Republican has "multiple" broken toes. A spokesman told the paper that he recently knocked into "a corner in the house he's lived in for more than two decades."

What about a housekeeping tag?

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has some friendly advice for his colleagues who want to forego living in an apartment and, instead, shack up inside their Capitol office.

Place a "Member Resting: Do Not Disturb" sign on your door at night, he said, according to the New York Times.

And watch out for rodents: "You need some d-Con and mousetraps. We've got a mouse problem up here."

Notable quotable

"You managed to make the reading of one of our nation's most treasured and sacred documents and combined it with the efficiency of DMV" -- Jon Stewart on the reading of the Constitution in the House.

You missed what?

Well, your swearing-in ceremony. That was the case for Republican Reps. Pete Sessions of Texas and Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

The two missed their official swearing-in on the House floor on Wednesday and weren't officially members of Congress as the chamber began its first full day of official business on Thursday," CNN congressional producer Deirdre Walsh reports.

The reason behind their absence? Both were attending a reception for Fitzpatrick's constituents in a room on the Capitol campus. They took the oath of office while watching the floor proceedings on television.

There were consequences.

Headline of the day

Gawker: "Joe Biden Will Create a Generation of Prudes"

Headline of the day part deux

AOL News: "Saudi Arabia Detains Suspected Israeli Spy -- a Bird"

No more snow

The blizzard that rocked the New York City area has not been kind to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city was criticized for failing to clean up the snow-filled streets, among other things.

It seems New Yorkers never forget.

"A poll taken after the storm showed Bloomberg's approval rating had plunged from 50% to 37% and only one in five New Yorkers think he handled it well," the Daily News reports.

Obama gets gridironed

Obama will once again work his standup act when he makes an appearance at the Gridiron Club and Foundation, USA Today reports.

"The oldest association of journalists in Washington, the Gridiron hosts an annual song-and-comedy review poking fun at various politicians. The president and a pair of other speakers -- one Democrat, one Republican -- get to take their shots at the press as well during the March 12 dinner."

Late-night laughs

Jimmy Kimmel: "Once they were done reading out (the Constitution), Congress adopted a rule that for the first time permits members there to use electronic devices there on the floor of the House. So, let the sexting begin!"

David Letterman: "The national debt is $14 trillion. You know what that means? Neither do I. ... That's Mrs. Tiger Woods money."

Jay Leno: "President Obama has chosen former Clinton commerce secretary William Daley as his chief of staff. Before this, he ran Al Gore's 2000 campaign and was in charge of the Florida recount for the Democrats. He's got a history of accomplishments."