Mixing Up My 'Weldons'

It had to happen. After confusing the two Republican House Members named Mike Rogers (of Alabama and Michigan) and occasionally jumbling the lawmakers named Smith as if they were brothers of the same name on the coughdrop, I was bound to mix up Republican Reps. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania and David Weldon of Florida.

Yesterday, I did. As fans of the “Gizz-ette” have pointed out (and I’m glad to know so many of you are out there), I reported the growing support of conservative Rep. John Shadegg (R.-Ariz.) for majority leader in the House. In ticking off the latest colleagues to endorse him yesterday, I named Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania as the latest recruit for the Shadegg Squad.

“It was Dave Weldon that’s endorsing the congressman,” was the early morning phone message from Michael Steel, Shadegg’s press secretary, who added “But if you know Curt Weldon’s supporting us as well, that would be wonderful!”

No such luck. When I called Weldon (Curt, that is) spokesman John Tomaszewski, he told me that his boss has been a longtime backer of Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) for leader. As for my confusing him with the Florida Weldon, Tomaszewski had no hard feelings. “It happens all the time,” he told me, recalling how when the Sunshine State physician-lawmaker took the lead in the fight for legal protection of Terry Schiavo last year, “our telephones were lighting up constantly with opinions on the Schiavo story.” (Curt Weldon took the same position as David Weldon, but was not in the forefront of the Schiavo case).

To readers who called to congratulate (or denounce) Curt Weldon for supporting Shadegg, I beg your pardon.