That's Congressman Dirtbag to Us

Yesterday when we browsed, a new political news Web site, we were shocked to discover streaming video of Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) belting out the alternative-rock tune "Teenage Dirtbag" to a crowd of writhing Capitol Hill staffers.

Sample lyrics (courtesy of the band Wheatus): "Her name is Noel, She rings my bell, I got gym class in half an hour; Oh how she rocks in Keds and tube socks, but she doesn't know who I am; And she doesn't give a damn about me. 'Cause I'm just a teenage dirtbag baby."

"I think I should get points for not doing Perry Como songs, wearing green plaid pants or singing 'Stray Cat Strut,' " the 37-year-old Scarborough, a frustrated rock star since age 15, told us as we reached for the smelling salts. "I'm trying to connect with the young people."

Scarborough said he and his band, Regular Joe, performed as a favor to a friend from the National Federation of Independent Business, which hosted the recent party on the Hill. We told Scarborough that we thought we recognized, in the video's seething mosh pit, a few of the vicious Republican thugs who were making trouble during the ballot-counting mess in Florida. We were joking, of course. "Yes, well, we were attempting some crowd control, and to expand their horizons so they won't just engage in violent protests," Scarborough answered, likewise joking. "Music soothes the savage beast."

He added that he bowdlerized some of the lyrics -- substituting "jerk" and "butt" for some less printable words -- and that most of his set consisted of old Beatles and Rolling Stones tunes. But the WashingtonWired cameras weren't turned on until his descent into grunge, he claimed. "I'm old. I'm a huge Beatles fan. But those clowns with the cameras didn't get interested until the second we broke into 'Teenage Dirtbag.' "


* San Diego Union-Tribune editorial cartoonist Steve Kelley yesterday dropped his "intentional infliction of emotional distress" lawsuit in California against ex-girlfriend Shelia Davis, the mother of Kelley's 22-month-old son, Hayden. Davis, 39, who lives with the toddler in Charlottesville, is the widow of Democratic fundraiser and ambassador to Switzerland Larry Lawrence, whose body was famously removed from Arlington National Cemetery back in 1997 after House Republicans discovered that he'd fabricated his military record. The 42-year-old Kelley is still tangling with Davis over custody of Hayden in Virginia's Albemarle Circuit Court, where Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. on Monday declared the proceedings closed. Neither Kelley nor Davis would comment yesterday.

* In Manhattan last night, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and his wife, Nane, hosted an intimate farewell dinner at their Sutton Place mansion for former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke and his journalist wife, Kati Marton. Among the guests were former president Bill Clinton, bachin' it while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton took care of business in D.C.; Drew Schiff and wife Karenna Gore (who was spending an evening with her dad's alleged campaign albatross); Republican lobbyist Ken Duberstein; former deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott and wife Brooke Shearer; and a thirty-something power couple, probable future ABC correspondent Claire Shipman and her Time magazine-writer husband Jay Carney -- the Cokie and Steve Roberts of their generation. (The real Robertses stayed behind in D.C. to declaim love letters for a Washington Literacy Council benefit at the New Zealand Embassy.)

* Sean "Puffy" Combs and Jennifer Lopez are officially splitsville. Lopez spokesman Alan Nierob told us yesterday that his client was unreachable and traveling to Australia to promote her new album, "J. Lo." Puff Daddy's publicist, Nathalie Moar, issued this Valentine's Day statement: "Mr. Combs confirmed that he and his love Jennifer Lopez have in fact broken up. Mr. Combs is confirming this today as he wanted to put all the rumors surrounding their relationship to rest. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect his privacy." Hey, no problem.

* After yesterday's congressional grilling of television news chiefs over their embarrassing election night coverage debacle, ABC's "Nightline" tried to book the whole panel for last night's show. ABC's David Westin and Associated Press TV's Lou Boccardi agreed to appear, but the no-shows -- CNN's Tom Johnson, Fox News's Roger Ailes and CBS's Andrew Heyward -- offered lame excuses about "logistical problems," we hear. Only NBC's Andy Lack gave a valid reason for not going on with Ted Koppel: He had to rush back to New York for a romantic supper with his wife, Betsy.

With Beth Berselli