The Washington Post

Celebvocate: Danica Patrick for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Danica Patrick at the Cannon House Office Building before her briefing. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for

Setting: U.S. Capitol conference room.

Event: A briefing on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Bona Fides: IndyCar and NASCAR driver; third-place finisher at the ’09 Indy 500; occasional men’s-magazine pin-up.

What she wants:For everybody to wear orange — the official color of her Drive4COPD campaign — and learn the symptoms and risk factors of the lung ailment.

How she looked: Like the really, really attractive girl-next-door, reports our colleague Aaron Leitko. Orange sheath dress, naturally.

How she sounded: Confident and tough but personable. Delivered the stats sans cheat sheet and with a personal touch, describing her grandmother’s death from the disease.

On message: When a reporter fished for some off-topic chitchat — “If you could teach any politician to race, who would it be?” — Patrick shut her down and deftly veered back onto the lung-disease track. “You could teach the president, but he doesn’t ever drive,” she said. “So, being here for COPD is more effective than teaching them how to drive.”

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