There are many federal government secrets. Area 51. JFK assassination files. Who wore the Easter Bunny suit.
The plush white rabbit is an annual highlight of the White House Easter Egg Roll, which took over the South Lawn on Monday. Mr. Bunny showed up in some of the best photos from the event, as our Washington Post colleague Chris Cillizza highlighted.
Spoiler alert (please don’t let your kids read this): The White House Easter Bunny is a human in a costume. But the name of the staff member who donned the suit is, at least for now, classified intelligence.
“That’s an eggscellent question,” a White House official told the Loop late Monday after the festivities were over. “However, as in years prior, we will be keeping anonymous the identity of the White House staffer who earned the role as this year’s Easter Bunny.”
Last year, the Loop revealed several top administration officials who had played the part in previous White Houses. John E. Nidecker, an advance man for President Richard Nixon, once had the honor. Ursula Meese, wife to U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese, starred as Mrs. Bunny every year but one during the presidential terms of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush . And Fred Fielding, White House counsel for President George W. Bush, wore the costume at least once, as did Sean Spicer, now the Republican National Committee’s communications director.
President Bill Clinton, we reported last year, did not use staff members to play the famous role. Reading between the lines, it sounds as though President Obama does, but whether we’ll ever know who is a mystery.
One thing is certain. Our hopes that it was Vice President Biden in the bunny suit were dashed, as he spent Easter Monday in Ukraine.
In Gov. Chris Christie’s estimation, the new year began Tuesday.
On one day a year, New Jersey’s politically connected pile into Amtrak cars to ride the Northeast Corridor to Washington to rub elbows with its state’s congressional delegation. It’s a 77-year tradition hosted by the state’s Chamber of Commerce.
The business group’s Web site boasts this quote from Christie (R) about the event: “The year really does not begin until the Chamber dinner in Washington when we gather to review the last year and look ahead to what New Jersey’s future can once again be.”
(Does that mean anything that happened in, say, early January, doesn’t count?)
February snow sidelined the trip, so the business types, lawyers and lobbyists boarded the train Tuesday morning for their rescheduled journey south. Congress is on recess, so the New Jersey lawmakers attending made a special trip back to the capital. Christie gave the event’s keynote address, but he skipped the train ride, opting to risk the traffic on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
The event is called “the Walk to Washington,” but the walking apparently refers to the long strides up and down the train cars where those who enjoy proximity to power can sip cocktails in the aisles as they schmooze on their three-hour ride. We’ve heard it used to be an off-the-rails, drunken affair but has tamed in recent years.
To ride the train and attend a dinner and reception is $690 for a non-Chamber member.
This is probably a good opportunity for Christie to hit up New Jersey’s movers and shakers for some cash. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the governor’s campaign owes more than $300,000 in legal fees for the bridge lane closure investigation.
Unless they held hands and literally threw the first pitch together, or threw two balls simultaneously, either Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz or Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy threw out the second pitch at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.
But first or second, there is perhaps no more daunting task for a public official than throwing a baseball in front of a crowded stadium and praying that it at least reaches home plate. “House of Cards” fans will recall how Frank Underwood nervously practiced his pitch for an Orioles game as his wife, Claire, helpfully reminded him that when he threw one back in South Carolina it somehow managed to go straight up and smash him on the head. (Spoiler: Underwood never got his redemption because a Northeast energy blackout interrupted his throw.)
In honor of Earth Day, the two Boston natives, Moniz and McCarthy, were invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday evening’s Red Sox-Yankees game. And like Underwood, they practiced.
The Energy Department posted a 30-second clip of Moniz throwing practice pitches with his trademark long gray hair flowing from under a baseball cap. Apparently, Moniz played center field in his younger days and had even been invited to try out for the majors.
McCarthy, on the other hand, is not a would-be professional athlete, but she, too, practiced. She has been slipping out to the EPA courtyard to play catch with staff members, a spokeswoman confirmed. McCarthy went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday morning sounding very nervous. “I’m just going to remember that baseball is not my calling, so I’m just going to have fun with it,” she said. She later added, “I’ll survive one way or another.”
To calm their nerves, we hope they didn’t reach out to fellow Cabinet member John Kerry, the secretary of state, or to their boss, President Obama, for relief. Kerry, in 2004, threw an imperfect pitch that landed at the catcher’s feet. Not terrible, but for a presidential candidate, a powerful pitch would have provided a much better image.
And Obama in 2010 threw the first pitch at the Nationals home opener. It was too high and too wide but it did reach the plate. The catcher leaped to catch the ball, saving the president from a wild pitch.
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intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.