WASHINGTON — Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, a leader in the GOP House revolt on domestic drilling, really likes what heiress Paris Hilton has to say about . . . energy.
No, seriously. Burgess returned to the Capitol Thursday to continue the Republican demands started a week ago that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., bring Congress back from a five week summer recess. At a press conference with House members, including Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, Burgess suddenly blurted out, "Let’s have the vote. Even Paris Hilton has a plan. Let's bring up the Paris Hilton plan."
Burgess is only half - kidding about Hilton's plan, included in a tongue-in-cheek video, released in response to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain’s reference to her as a celebrity.
In the video, widely seen on television and the internet (Burgess saw it on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno,) Hilton, dressed in a revealing leopard swimsuit and pumps, leans back in a lounge chair, mocks McCain as "that wrinkly, white-haired guy" and announces she’s running for president.
But then, said Burgess, "she stops and gives a serious discussion of energy." "She discussed a hybrid plan" of drilling and conservation, said Burgess. "That's the Republican Conference plan."
Hilton took elements from McCain and presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama: "We can do limited offshore drilling with strict environmental oversight while creating tax incentives to get Detroit making hybrid and electric cars.”
"Energy crisis solved! I'll see you at the debates," she said. Burgess supports opening drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlfe Refuge but what about conservation? "I drive a Prius," said Burgess, referring to his Toyota hybrid car. "Of course I believe in conservation."
Would he try to get Hilton to come to the Capitol protest? "I'll make the call but don't hold your breath," he said.
Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to recruit House Democrats who have been pro-drilling and sent out a letter Thursday asking Democrats to join them. "There are lots of Democrats who if they were free agents would be working with us," said Barton.
None have defied Pelosi, however, and the GOP speeches in a darkened House chamber to tourists and staffers, continue.