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Lawmakers insist shower run-ins like the one Massa alleges are far from norm

But some have alleged that Massa's story is embellished or altogether fabricated.

A White House aide who was not authorized to speak on the record said Emanuel asserted that the shower encounter "did not happen."

Regardless, some lawmakers said they were upset that Massa would break the trust established in the members-only gyms.

"It's the only place where you get to see a member in a different light," said Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.). "Not physically in what Massa was talking about, another member nude, but in a sense that their [inhibitions] are gone in addition to their clothes. There's a sense of the basic fellow person serving in this business to another fellow person serving in this business."

Added Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.): "It's protocol never to talk about what you talk about there."

Still, it would come as no surprise that political gym rats would be like any others.

"Way too many middle-aged, overweight men walk around that locker room without any clothes on," said Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday. "I wish they would just drape themselves with towels."

"I did walk into a steam room once for three seconds, looked through the fog and said," Scarborough recounted, snapping his fingers for effect, " 'I'll see you guys later.' "

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