So far, his name isn’t among those most often mentioned for the nomination — but Harris, a former law professor who served in the department during the Bill Clinton administration, has made a recent push for visibility.
It didn’t go unnoticed that he was featured prominently in the latest edition of the Labor Department’s newsletter. Though Harris had been “acting” chief for less than two weeks when the internal publication came out, his quotes appeared in five articles, and his picture appeared twice (including a shot of him with Clinton).
Basically, if the department’s newsletter was Us Weekly, he’d be its Lindsay Lohan.
Harris has changed his Twitter handle to “ActingSecHarris,”and he’s been busy churning out quotes for news releases, with at least nine statements bearing his words.
Labor Department spokesman Carl Fillichio said all the activity has more to do with Harris’s personality and style than with his ambitions. “I’ve known Seth Harris for 20 years, and he’s just an enthusiastic and exuberant person,” he said. “He brings that to everything he does, and he’s been an enthusiastic and exuberant acting secretary.”
Still, Harris looks like someone who’s“acting” as if he wouldn’t mind being noticed.
Not De Niro?
is loosening up now that his hours at the Pentagon are numbered. (Though the nomination of his replacement, former senator Chuck Hagel, seems gummed up in the Senate.)
On Thursday, he mentioned that he had some casting quibbles with the movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” which depicts the operation to kill Osama bin Laden.
Actor James Gandolfini portrayed the fictionalized version of Panetta, who was CIA director during the period the movie portrays. And we thought Panetta was okay with that choice — after all, he has said that Gandolfini did a “great job.” But he said Thursday that he would have preferred to see another Italian American actor in the role: Al Pacino.
Panetta was introducing former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton at a Pentagon ceremony in which she was given the Medal for Distinguished Public Service for her work in diplomacy. He said lots of flattering things about Clinton. But he added this aside after talking about the bin Laden operation: “There’s a movie about this,” he said. “The guy who plays me isn’t quite right. . . . I mean, my preference probably would have been Pacino.”
Panetta seems to have “Zero Dark Thirty” on the brain. He mentioned it at a news conference Wednesday, too. And at that same briefing, he was working just a little blue. Discussing the relationship between Congress and the executive branch, he bemoaned the strained state of affairs. “What I look for are members who are willing to work with us, to try to work our way through some tough issues and be able to find some solutions,” he said. “We need to find solutions. We can’t just sit here and b----.”