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Republican reunites Democrat with shoe lost during evacuation

WASHINGTON—The story of the little lost plane that terrified the nation's capital earlier this week didn't just have a happy ending. It had its own little fairy-tale moment.

In a rare moment of bipartisanship in a Congress usually ruled by vicious partisanship, Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., got down on one knee Thursday before the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

In his hand was a light pink, sling-back pump.

"It is my shoe!" Pelosi laughed as Reichert made his Cinderella-like presentation during her weekly news conference, a forum in which she usually bashes the policies of Reichert's fellow Republicans. "That is such a gentleman."

Pelosi was lifted out of her shoes Wednesday by her security detail as police evacuated the Capitol after a single-engine Cessna strayed into restricted air space over Washington.

"Security just pulled me away, and I said, `I'm losing my shoe.' And they said, `That's too bad and just keep going.' And then the other one went off flying through the air," recalled Pelosi, the first woman to hold a top congressional leadership post. "There is one advantage that men have here: They have their shoes tied to their feet."

A Capitol Police officer found one shoe. The other one was bouncing around a stairwell as Reichert and dozens of others were hustling out, and it "flipped up in front of me," Reichert said.

He scooped it up, partly out of fear that somebody might trip over it.

"I searched diligently out in the street. There were several women I came up to ... who were wearing pink that day, and I asked if they had lost a shoe," said Reichert, a former sheriff who's served in Congress only since January.

Pelosi and her bare foot were sheltered in a secure "undisclosed location" with other congressional leaders.

Unlike Prince Charming, Reichert didn't have to try the shoe on every woman on Capitol Hill; he later heard about Pelosi's lost shoe and made the connection.

"It is wonderful to note, that with all that happened, there were ... no injuries," Pelosi said, "and the only thing we have to talk about is somebody's lost shoe."

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(Puzzanghera reports for the San Jose Mercury News.)

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(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

ARCHIVE PHOTOS on KRT Direct (from KRT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): Nancy Pelosi

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