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."
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.
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