Is Eric Holder tired yet?


Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 6, 2013, before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee as lawmakers examine the budget for the Justice Department. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Al Kamen
Columnist June 10, 2013

When embattled Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that the only reason he’d leave his job was if he got really, really tired — when fatal “fatigue” finally set in — he may have blazed a new trail.

It’s nearly unheard of for such high-ranking public officials to claim that they’re just too tuckered out to forge on. Usually, it’s that they want to spend more time with their families. (That’s a tried-and-true classic.) Or that they want to serve their country in other ways. “Pursue other opportunities” is a good one — and usually a euphemism for “make heaps of money.” Or something.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

But too tired to go on? That’s unusual.

“The tipping point might be fatigue,” Holder told a Senate panel, after Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) asked him point-blank when he would show himself to the door. “You get to a point where you might just be tired.”

After Holder’s testimony, aides told our colleague Sari Horwitz that the AG was just joking (because humor always goes over really well in Senate hearings on highly controversial matters).

Instead of yukking it up by talking about needing some R&R, he might want to borrow a line from his old pal Karl Rove. Remember when the adviser to President George W. Bush was under all kinds of fire? Democrats on Capitol Hill were sniffing. A special counsel had investigated him.

Rove decided to leave. And his reason? “I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family,” he said.

Can’t argue with that!

Corps fitness

Loop Fans are always on the lookout for apparent government waste. One tipster wrote with the tale of two gyms — nearly identical and about 100 feet apart.

A building in Crystal City houses a bunch of government and other offices — including some for the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The EPA runs a well-equipped gym there, which other tenants of the building may use for a fee. But the Army Corps of Engineers decided that another workout space was needed for the military folks in the building, and built a second gym just for them.

The tipster says the two fitness areas are very similar, except that the military one also has a rope-climbing area. But a Corps spokesman says that gym is simply better than the EPA’s. Okay, he didn’t use the word “better,” but he sure enough implied it: “The EPA gym was not built to provide a conditioning facility for a workforce that is required to maintain a high level of physical fitness,” a spokesman informs us in a statement. “The new gym was built to meet the physical training requirements for a military workforce.”

Also, it’s open 24/7, while the EPA’s isn’t.

We should note that although their work might not be as physical as the military’s, EPA employees seem to take their fitness quite seriously: our colleague Lenny Bernstein reported that some EPA workers turned a little-used warehouse space in Maryland into their private romper room, complete with an “athletic center, cobbled together from ‘surplus’ EPA gym equipment and decked out with a music system.”

But at least according to the super-buff military types, the case of the two Crystal City gyms seems to be more a matter of government waists, not waste.

No rush

We’re hearing that former Justice Department official Amy Jeffress, finishing up her third year as the department attache at the embassy in London, is a — if not the — leading contender to be nominated as assistant attorney general for national security.

Jeffress, national security counselor to Attorney General Eric Holder before the London posting, would succeed Lisa Monaco, who moved to the White House in March to replace now-CIA Director John Brennan as chief homeland security and counterterrorism adviser.

Jeffress had worked at Justice and in the Defense Department in the Clinton administration.

We called the embassy Friday, but Jeffress declined to speak to us. (Shocking, no?) A knowledgeable source cautioned that no decision has been made,

Well, wouldn’t want to rush into things. It’s hardly been half a year since it was known the key Justice job was going to be vacant.

A big-time newbie

The day we’ve long awaited has arrived: Hillary Clinton is tweeting.

Clinton had been notably absent from Twitter, though there was a huge demand for her 140-character musings — the Loop noted last year that 44,000 people were following @HRClinton, although the account hadn’t posted once. (That account was unofficial and has apparently since been suspended.)

We can only imagine that the real deal, @HillaryClinton, will rack up even more followers pretty quickly (within hours of that first tweet, she had more than 200,000). Ah, but now there might be a little friendly competition between her and former president Bill Clinton, who joined in April as @BillClinton.

In her inaugural tweet, she gave a virtual nod to the creators of a popular blog, Texts From Hillary, that imagined pithy communications from the former first lady, senator and secretary of state. “I’ll take it from here,” she promised.

We’re here to help. If Clinton is feeling a bit of a writer’s block in constructing her first few missives, she might want to consult the winning entries of the Loop’s contest for her inaugural tweet. And the Loop — with an assist from our colleague David Beard — compiled a list of the 15 Twitter accounts she should follow:

1. Stephen Colbert : Hey, he and Chelsea Clinton got Bill to join Twitter.

2. Darrell Issa : Just in case.

3. Joe Biden : What’s that guy doin’?

4. Chris Christie : Opposition research.

5. Andrew Cuomo : Ditto.

6. and 7. Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe : The creators of Texts From Hillary made Hillary hot online.

8. Weather Channel: Good forecasts for Iowa.

9. Bill O’Reilly : Hey, it’s a big tent — really big.

10. Oprah Winfrey: It’s inevitable.

11. State Department: Gotta check up on the old gang.

12. President Obama : Her main man.

13. Justin Bieber : That’s a joke, people. (But . . . youth vote?)

14. Anthony Weiner : Because she promised Huma Abedin she would.

15. In the Loop: save the best for last.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop
. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP .

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics