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At White House Festivities, a Lingering Party of Two

Rep. Darlene Hooley at the White House Monday night. (Photo courtesy of Susan Miles)

What's the best way to shoo pesky party guests who linger too long? Sic a White House usher on them.

Monday's White House Christmas party for Congress dragged on and on -- thanks to Reps. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.), the very last guest to leave, and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who got into a dust-up with one of the ushers.

Seems both Hooley and Cohen were determined to locate two ornaments (among hundreds) painted by their constituents on the Blue Room tree. Unfortunately, they didn't start hunting until late in the party; since most of the guests had already left, an usher gently attempted to steer stragglers toward the exit about 11 p.m. "It was like he was a bouncer, and it was last call," Cohen huffed to our colleague Mary Ann Akers.

Hooley spokeswoman Joan Evans was more forgiving: She said the congresswoman, her daughter and a friend were "having such a joyous celebration, talking, dancing and taking in the festive decor" that they lost track of time and looked up to find everyone else was gone.

(Should have warned them about the eggnog!)

The ushers are known for being "more than gracious," said Sally McDonough, spokeswoman for the first lady. "There is a point when an event is over and we have to start closing the rooms."

By The Reliable Source  |  December 11, 2008; 1:04 AM ET
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