House Majority Leader Boehner: The Man With the Tan

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Easygoing and well liked, with a perpetual tan, a low golf handicap and an ever-present Barclay cigarette between his fingers, Mr. Boehner, 56, looks like a throwback to the 1950's -- Dean Martin comes to Congress ." -- New York Times

"Boehner's ever-present George Hamilton tan gives him the look of a man forever coming back from vacation." -- Newsweek

" I was born dark, but I do like to play a little golf, and it's my escape from all of the pressures of my job ." --Rep. John Boehner, on Fox News Sunday, when asked "How do you keep that tan?"

It's February. He's from Ohio. He lives in a basement. Say what you want about those lobbyist-funded golf junkets he's reported to have enjoyed -- lately, anyway, you'd assume that busy leadership race kept him off the links. So we asked the experts how they think the new House majority leader keeps that magnificent glow.

Tina Alster, Washington dermatologist
Theory: Natural sun exposure
Proof: "He's a type of guy who holds his tan for a long time. He has green eyes, and green-eyed babes keep their pigment longer. It's hard to tell if it's a tan from sun or from a booth, but it looks like it's from the sun [because of] the relative sparing of the area under the chin. People in a booth may have creases under their neck. He doesn't have those, he has a shadow."

Erwin Gomez, makeup artist and Georgetown salon owner
Theory: Intentional tanning of some kind (sun, booth or self-tan)
Proof: "His hand looks like self-tanning, because you can actually see spots . . . He definitely has more color [than other people in photos with him], it looks like a maintaining tan [because] the ears look the same. I can tell when someone is wearing makeup; by judging the photos I can tell he is not."

Jay "The Juiceman" Kordich, raw-food advocate, infomercial star
Theory: Carrot juice could have contributed to Boehner's color.
Explanation: "It will absolutely give you that nice suntanned glow! It's the most perfect form of that vitamin A you can possibly get. The carotene is a beautiful orange color . . . it enters the bloodstream and is delivered to all the extremities of the body."

Tina West, Chevy Chase dermatologist
Theory: Natural tan -- and shame on him!
Proof: "It's just really natural looking [as opposed to a tan-in-a-can]. It's his whole face, his hairline, it's very even. He should know that tanning's not good. Whether he bought it at a tanning salon or earned it on a golf course, it's not healthy. And I'm sure his colleagues want him to be around for a long time." What about carrot juice? "Not unless you drank a lot ."

Melissa Haynes, Indoor Tanning Association Inc., Washington
Theory: None
Explanation: "We can't comment -- we don't know if he indoor-tans." And . . . as lobbyists, you don't want to alienate the new House majority leader? "Well, yes, there is that."

The Vatican's Enforcer

The relentless White House press corps met its match this week: One tiny, very tough nun. On Thursday, Laura Bush visited Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican, accompanied by a pool of American media. The nun blocked ABC Radio News reporter Ann Compton from bringing her laptop into the palace. "Leave it to a colleague outside," the nun ordered. "You don't need a computer." Deadlines? Pffft. "There is no way," she added.

To an AP reporter: "Absolutely no recorder in the library of the pope" -- then clicked her tongue reprovingly, just like in the movies, and turned to scold Time magazine's representative for a mysterious infraction: "You understand English? Do you prefer me to use Latin? Spanish? Italian? No more 'Yes, ma'am!' I will call a Swiss Guard and have you removed."

No report of rulers rapped across knuckles, but it reduced the press to a cowering lot of schoolchildren. Compton, who's gone toe-to-toe with her share of tough handlers, was impressed: "As the mother of three sons who stand at 6-4, I have enormous respect for authority figures who stand their ground against, well, tall odds."

A Dem Memory: Joe McCurry, Right?

Seen one White House press secretary, seen them all! On Friday, we reported that former Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry was among the VIP group partying with Bon Jovi after the band's Feb. 2 concert. Turns out our (ahem, Republican) source behind the ropes made the rookie mistake of confusing one Clinton press guy (McCurry) with another Clinton press guy who actually was at Degrees bar: Joe Lockhart.

"I've got to stop introducing myself as Mike McCurry," joked Lockhart, who said this usually happens when folks spot him in airports and train stations. "People make the Clinton association, but they don't make the distinction between Mike and myself."

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