New York: Pucker up and prepare for the kissin' Congress. The new 110th Congress probably saw more kisses in a single day than the 109th saw in a year.
There were kisses blown and kisses accompanied by whispers. Kisses to the right. Kisses to the left. Group hugs with kisses.
When the Speaker was a guy all there were were handshakes. Maybe a manly arm around the shoulder, but Nancy Pelosi was tenderly touching faces pre-kiss. It's a new touchy feely Congress.
There the gentlewoman was, gently embracing the man she's replacing. Kissing men, kissing women.
When a male politician kisses another male, they get their picture in the paper or it is used by the Opposition, as Joe Lieberman found out after he was buzzed by President Bush and his fellow Democrats held it against him.
Even kissing your wife carries risks. Remember how Al-Gore was flayed for this passionate display. On The Tonight Show, they actually recreated the kiss.
In politics, physical contact is so tricky that we even heard President Bush ask whether he should kiss Condoleeza Rice at her swearing in.
"Am I supposed to kiss you?" he had said.
He got the go ahead. Of course, it's all right for politicians to kiss children, unless you're Russia's president kissing a little boy's belly button. That pushes peoples buttons.
The feminine influence was all over the new house as children overran it.
And even as Nancy Pelosi cradled one of her grandchildren, that didn't deter colleagues from kissing.
You can kiss the 109th congress good-bye and the 110th hello. Make way for puckering Pelosi.
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