The headlines echoed a scene from the film The American President when Annette Benning’s character Sidney Ellen Wade receives a phone call from the fictitious President of the United States, Andrew Shephard. Assuming the call is a hoax from a co-worker Wade plays along telling the President “I’m so glad you called because I forgot to tell you today what a nice ass you have…and I’m also impressed that you got my phone number given the fact that I don’t have a phone…” Of course anyone who has seen the classic scene in the film knows that Sidney Ellen Wade was indeed addressing the President when she made the “nice ass” remark…just before she hung up on him.
In equal comedic fashion Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, determined to avoid being punked by area radio stations notorious for sucessfully duping everyone from Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez, thought she was avoiding being the butt of someones joke. So when Ros-Lehtinen received a call from a man identifying himself as President Elect Obama, who congratulated her on her re-election, she demonstrated her keen instinct for identifying tom-foolery by telling him he was a better impersonator than the guy on Saturday Night Live and then she hung up.
In an effort to convince Ros-Lehtinen of the legitimacy of the phone call Obama’s Cheif of Staff Rahm Emanuel placed a subsequent call with Obama on the line to assure the congresswoman that it was no joke. Reportedly Ros-Lehtinen said, ‘I really do appreciate it. I love these pranks more than anybody and I’m honored that you would prank me, but I’m gonna hang up.’
It took a third phone call from chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Howard Berman and even then Ros-Lehtinen requested that Berman disclose an inside joke about a colleague that wasn’t public information…so she could be sure.
According to Ros-Lehtinen, President-Elect Obama thought the experience would help keep his ego in check, should he get too pumped up he reportedly said that he thought his wife would remind him that the congresswoman hung up on him …twice.
Currently, Ros-Lehtinen is being dispatched to Alaska to coach Sarah Palin on side-stepping pranksters… the women are not expected to discuss anyones ass except perhaps the one associated with the DFL… 🙂