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The Rough Riding Men of Idaho Politics

The men of Idaho politics are a colorful lot.

How fitting that Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, the man who will select a replacement for disgraced Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) should he resign, won a 1992 "tight jeans" contest at the Rockin' Rodeo bar in Boise.

If only Gov. Tight Jeans would choose Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), then he could say he truly is putting a fresh face in the Senate! Simpson got a facelift in Hawaii around Christmastime two and a-half years ago and recuperated by his plastic surgeon's private swimming pool.

"Yeah it was pretty tough," Simpson joked at the time in an interview with the current author of the Sleuth. "Not a bad way to recover. About as good as it gets." (The story was published in Roll Call newspaper, the Sleuth's alma mater.)

Asked why he went the nip-and-tuck route, Simpson, who was 54 at the time, said, "Because I'm old!" He complained that the skin above his eyelids had become droopy and the dark circles under his eyes much too dark.

As for Otter, his skin tight Wranglers were a trademark when he was a member of the House. In fact, one day in 2005, Otter was spotted sneaking on the House floor in his painted-on Wranglers, wearing no tie or jacket (a sartorial No-No in the House) to vote quickly before heading off to campaign for governor of Idaho.

Here's what we wrote at the time, on May 9, 2005, in Roll Call: "Heads turned as Otter nearly trotted -- he couldn't move his legs very well -- through the lobby, clearly excited about a cowboy weekend out West that includes a little roping with the boys."

And we would be remiss if we didn't mention that ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) - this was before the House page sex scandal erupted - happened to be standing nearby and noticed Otter gallop by in his tight jeans and cowboy boots.

"He's clearly headed home," Foley observed. "He's obviously had it with these stuffed shirts and Washington lobbyists." In a deep, husky voice, Foley joked, "He's a wrangler."

We remember wondering in awe how in the world Otter managed to get his Wranglers on, or climb on a horse in those things. So curious were we that we called Otter's office and asked.

"Denim is a very flexible material," replied Otter's spokesman at the time, Mark Warbis. "That's what all cowboys do -- they wear their jeans tight. It's not for a fashion statement. You don't want a bunch of loose material hanging around."

Nothing to say that except: Yee Ha!

By Mary Ann Akers  |  August 31, 2007; 5:00 PM ET
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