The Congressman Most Likely to Accept Your Friend Request

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By Mary Ann Akers And Paul Kane
Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) is really into Facebook. We're talking about a guy who turns 65 later this month, and he doesn't even call it "the" Facebook, the way a certain other person, in the very highest echelons of government, once famously referred to "the" Google.

"I just passed 1,200 friends!" Serrano excitedly told On the Hill yesterday.

Most every member of Congress has an official Facebook fan page, marked by the same official photo of a waving American flag. But Serrano actually has his own personal Facebook page, which he operates without the help of staff. He constantly updates it, adds new photos he takes himself, and shares his thoughts on everything from the delicious avocado he ate the other day to his beloved, beleaguered Yankees to his hope that Barack Obama is elected president.

The Bronx congressman's one-line update about the avocado he bought in a Dominican neighborhood in New York actually stirred a ruckus. "I had the Bolivians telling me theirs are better. The Colombians and the Dominicans got into a debate over aguacates, started by me!" he chuckled.

"I made the decision that it wouldn't be a political page. . . . Mostly, just be me," Serrano said. Occasionally he posts updates on his political life. As of Wednesday night, his Facebook update read: "Jose E. Serrano is getting ready for a series of pro Obama radio interviews, every morning, starting tomorrow until election day."

Serrano says most of his 1,200 friends are not politicos. "Most I don't know. The vast majority are not from my district; lots are from Puerto Rico," the Puerto Rican-born politician says.

One day Serrano wrote that he was "getting ready to preside over the House." One of his friends wrote back, "So does that mean Nancy Pelosi is no longer the speaker?"

Holdout

Congress may be out of session, but the battle still rages between Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

Landrieu, the only Senate Democrat up for reelection who faces a remotely difficult race, went home empty-handed last week, thanks to Coburn.

In the waning hours of the session, Landrieu desperately tried to get the Senate to approve her proposed $1.1 billion emergency relief bill for hurricane-stricken farmers in Louisiana and elsewhere. Coburn, ever the strident crusader against government spending, put the kibosh on Landrieu's bill by using a Senate "hold," a tool that allows any senator to anonymously stall legislation.

Senators, even if they are the victims of holds, usually allow the assassins to remain anonymous. But in this case, Landrieu issued a news release outing Coburn.

"Sen. Landrieu vetted the bill with each member of the Senate and only Sen. Coburn objected," Landrieu's office wrote.


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