Two former staffers of Minnesota Senator-turned-GOP operative Norm Coleman have written a book dishing about what life was like on Capitol Hill.
Though the book, Capitol Hell, is said to be fiction, co-authors Alicia Long and Jayne Jones admit they drew from personal experience (Long was a scheduler for Coleman; Jones worked on policy for the senator), as well as stories told to them by fellow staffers. The book mentions Hill restaurant staples, such as Tortilla Coast and The Oceanaire Seafood Room, and Hill stock characters, including a preppy press secretary and spiteful legislative director.
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The Minnesota Star-Tribune writes that one of Capitol Hell's central characters—"a rising Republican star from Minnesota, fastidious and ambitious, with a wife pursuing a modeling career in Los Angeles and a randy octogenarian father"—also bears a striking resemblance to Coleman.
Long, who worked for South Dakota Senator John Thune as well, says she and Jones chose fiction over tell-all so they could have more fun with stories of their former bosses, and embellish them if they wanted to.
"It's kind of like the Devil Wears Prada, but in Washington D.C.," she says.
Long is willing to admit at least one scene from the book is true.
In it, two staffers are on a date when the fictional senator orders the female character to go to his secured apartment building and change his laundry. She doesn't have a key, so the two have to figure out a way to get inside the building.
"I was actually called away while out with friends on a Friday night to go change Senator Coleman's laundry," she says. "I didn't have a key to his apartment so I did have to con my way in. ... I also used extra dryer sheets! I never got a report back on my laundry skills."
Long says she doesn't know if Coleman has read the book, and the senator did not respond to request for his thoughts on the book from Whispers.
Update, 4:30 p.m.:
Senator Coleman tells Whispers he hasn’t read Capitol Hell but says “I applaud [the authors] for their creative entrepreneurial spirit.”
The senator also insists that no one has ever done his laundry for him, and disputes another scene from the book in which the fictional senator asks tea to be heated in a fancy espresso machine instead of the microwave. “I bought café lattes for myself,” he says.
"But if they can find an angle or hook to generate money, as a Republican, I applaud that... I think they took a lot of stories about a lot of people in Washington."