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At Senate Hearing, Cause for Commotion

Nick Jonas testifies at the Senate Thursday morning. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Back in the day, it was Mary Tyler Moore or Sugar Ray Leonard who would have packed the room. But stardom is a fleeting thing; one day you wake up and some kid barely old enough to drive is headlining the diabetes-research-funding hearing that you used to own.

Making his Capitol Hill celeb-vocate debut yesterday: Nick Jonas.

The 16-year-old pop sensation, youngest of the Jonas Brothers, spoke after the veteran sitcom sweetheart and the retired boxing champ, but it was clear who drew all the girls with sparkly hair accessories and cellphone cams to the Dirksen Senate Office Building hearing room. A brief moment of tension at the start, as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, warned they'd have to break up early, because "at 10 o'clock, unexpectedly, we're going to have an impeachment proceeding." Impeachment?! BlackBerrys tick-tick-tick. Oh wait, it's just that wacky Texas judge -- but uh-oh, will we miss Nick?!?!?!

No problem; they got it done. MTM shared how her diabetes has greatly deteriorated her vision. Leonard explained that the staggering cost of his father's diabetes treatment forced him to skip college and turn pro. (No regrets, once the prize money rolled in. "I said to myself, 'This is not a bad career.' ")

And then: Jonas. Pale gray suit, no tie, the cuffs of his shirt casually pushed back over the sleeves of his jacket. Flawless skin. Easy voice. He got diagnosed in 2005 after dropping 15 pounds in two weeks; now he's on a diabetes pump and pricks his finger to check his blood sugar 12 times a day.

(And then: An intern who had been standing in the back of the room suddenly fainted. A reporter for Politico moved in to get a photo. This got posted on the Web within hours. It's a brave new world, folks.)

Jonas kept on. "I've decided not to let diabetes slow me down," he said, ticking off his band's latest milestones -- a new TV show, a new album, a world tour. He recited lyrics from a song he said he wrote about life with diabetes: "Waitin' on a cure / But none of them are sure / A little bit longer / And I'll be fine."

By The Reliable Source  |  June 25, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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