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Ted Stevens: Balanced, Buff and Gruff As Ever

No wonder Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) looks so fit and has such nice posture.

The octogenarian senator has started wearing those cutting-edge Masai balance shoes, the ones that supermodels, actresses and rock stars are sporting these days, the ones that give you a Pilates-style workout the entire time you wear them.

Maybe this is what is needed when you're caught up in a public corruption investigation that, as Stevens said Monday, "could cause me some trouble."

Stevens is the proud owner of a pair of MBT (which stands for Masai barefoot technology) shoes, which go for $250 a pair and promise to tone the abs, thighs and buttocks while easing joint and knee pain. Hip and cutting-edge aren't words typically associated with Stevens, but now the senator can honestly say he has something in common with supermodels Gisele and Heidi Klum, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bono, Cher, Warren Beatty and Annette Benning - all of whom have been spotted in hipper locales than the Capitol in their MBTs. (Stevens wears the "sport black" model MBT.)

Stevens was actually in the Northwest terminal of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport Sunday night waiting on a horribly delayed flight when a Sleuth informant spied the 83-year-old senator in his odd-looking black shoes.

"He was wearing a kind of sneaker that claims it makes you exercise the whole time you're wearing them...They make you stand at a strange angle," our informant, who was taking the same flight from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C., told us.

Stevens appeared to be handling the balance shoes like a pro as he waited for hours on end with three other senators on the same flight - Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.). The senators were returning from the annual Kenai River Classic fishing trip in Alaska, where Stevens also held a fund-raising reception.

(The Kenai River Classic is hosted by longtime Stevens supporter and friend Bob Penney, who recently testified before a federal grand jury in a wide-ranging investigation into political corruption in Alaska. As part of the probe, federal investigators have been scrutinizing Sen. Stevens' home expansion project.)

But back to Stevens' shoes, a spokesman for the senator says Stevens got his MBTs, which are sold as the world's first "physiological footwear," because he does a lot of exercising and walking. The spokesman, Aaron Saunders, says Stevens' regimen includes "always walking the stairs instead of taking escalators, using the speed bag at the Senate gym and going to a fitness boot camp at least once a year. He is very fitness conscious."

Which may explain why at 2 a.m. Monday, when his flight finally landed in Washington, Stevens was hard at work plotting legislative strategy for the week. He and Murkowski were overheard at the baggage carousel talking about trade, and whether they might support climate change legislation.

Saunders says it's normal for Stevens to be working like that in the middle of the night. He says he gets Blackberry messages from Stevens "at all hours, day and night."

Case in point, Saunders said, on one morning recently in Alaska, the Stevens staff anticipated a story hitting the local newspaper and wanted the senator to see it first thing in the morning. An aide went over to Stevens' house at 5 o'clock in the morning expecting to leave a copy of the paper at Stevens' door and found the senator "wide awake - in his front yard chopping wood."

Lisa Murkowski
Sen. Lisa Murkowski poses next to the gigantic king salmon she reeled in. (Photo courtesy Murkowski's office)

As for this year's fishing trip, none of the senators - even the burly lumberjack Stevens, who occasionally wears an Incredible Hulk tie to work - caught anything remotely as impressive as the whopper Lisa Murkowski snagged last year -- a 65-lb. Alaskan king salmon.

"She named the fish Walter and he is currently hanging in our conference room in D.C.," Murkowski's spokesman, Kevin Sweeney, told us.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  July 9, 2007; 7:30 PM ET
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Next: Sen. Vitter's Madam Problem


Maybe Condi will take him shopping at Ferragamo. Maybe Imelda can tag along.
Maybe America has lost its collective mind.

Posted by: Bill Dunn | July 9, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Liked the King Salmon photo, best part of the story!

Posted by: Rich | July 9, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Bill, it's just a shoe. Stop hyperventilating.

Posted by: PJ | July 10, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Bill doesn't have a wife or daughter(s), otherwise he might understand the not so rare female fixation (and perhaps Mary Ann's) on shoes. Looks like Ted is livin' large and to the fullest. Although I really can't see spending over $200M on that bridge.

Posted by: r man | July 10, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

So the most corrupt, evil a-hole in the Congress wears great shoes!

Thanks so much for sharing this important information with us Mary Ann!

And PJ, Bill is not hyperventilating...he's laughing out loud and asking us to join in.

It would be funny if Stevens weren't so dangerous and criminal!

Posted by: wagonjak | July 10, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

If anyone here is interested in some real stories on Ted Stevens and his sinkhole of corruption, go to tpmmuckrater and get some real facts instead of the puff stories Mary Ann posted here...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Ms Akers, how did you get this job?

I suppose you're a decent enough writer, but there are lots of those around.

Your choice of which details about a story to comment on, however, is abysmal. You don't come off like a political commentator - you come off like a snippy little slip of a girl who doesn't have the good sense, experience or self-awareness to recognize just how trivial you and your work are.

I don't refer just to this story, although in an examination of the phenomenon I mention here, it would certainly be near the top of the list of exhibits pro.

It saddens me that a paper like WaPo would line up with such jarring trivia by publishing it. You're not cute, in any sense of the term. I'd really appreciate your at least TRYING to be a serious person.

Unless you'd like to cop to it, and just go ahead and be a society columnist or "lifestyle editor" for the likes of Ted Stevens.

What a thoroughly distasteful concept. But one wholly supported by the bulk of your work on this site.

Posted by: Rich Miles | July 10, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

This blog item reads like an ad for MBT shoes. Maybe that is what this is. I agree that it belongs in the Style section.

Posted by: cc222 | July 10, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

This blog item reads like an ad for MBT shoes. Maybe that is what this is. I agree that it belongs in the Style section.

Posted by: cc222 | July 10, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

MBT's are the best shoes I've ever worn. Now they are the only shoes I want to wear (and I'm a woman). I have four pairs of MBT's. Yes, to the casual observer they look a bit odd. But I challenge you to try them and see if you don't walk and stand more comfortably. I have arthritis in my ankles and knees, and can walk pain free for miles. You know you are hooked when you start thinking about life before MBT's (ouch), and life after MBT's (ahhh).

Posted by: MBT Wearer | July 10, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Fitting that Murkowski lays beside a big dead salmon. Reminiscent of the thousands killed by Cheney's decision to divert the Klamath river, causing the largest salmon kill in the history of the west!!!

Posted by: Renee | July 10, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Renee obviously believes in guilt by association. Murkowski caught an Alaska King Salmon in an Alaskan River and something Cheney had to do with a river nearly 2,000 miles away where Alaska King Salmon do not spawn is relevant. The connection is tenuous at best, but to some people the fact that they are both Repulsicans is all that is necessary. Does that mean that because of her decidedly socialist views we can lump Democrap Hillary in the same boat with ole Joe Stalin? Hillary wouldn't cause the deaths of millions (or less) just to establish personal and political dominance. Would she? If only we could ask Vince.

Posted by: r man | July 11, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Some folks need to lighten up. This puff style is a set up to get your interest. Then you hit the links 'public corruption investigation' and 'wide-ranging investigation' to learn what a sleazebag the longest-serving Republican senator really is.

Posted by: cdmsr | July 11, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

And r man? Renee wasn't connecting the two, tenuously or otherwise. She was speaking symbolically, and Cheney DID engineer the water use policy that resulted in a massivee fish kill. Your evoking Vince Foster's name to compare Hillary to Stalin makes more than a symbolic connection between you and Uncle Joe. Pathetic.

Posted by: cdmsr | July 11, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

So I could get, like five pairs of those shoes for the same price as a John Edwards' haircut... cool!

Posted by: Photobones | July 11, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

As I intended. The results of her election and a universal healthcare program and other socialistic programs backed by Democraps and moderate Repulsicans will ultimately lead to untimely deaths. There are ways to kill without using physical weapons. As I referred to Vince, ask all those in Canadian and European healthcare systems that died waiting for treatment that they would have timely received here.

Posted by: r man | July 12, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

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