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Behind the scenes on Capitol Hill

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The daily drumbeat of work was interrupted for a few minutes on Thursday evening at the U.S. Capitol, as reporters gathered in the U.S. Senate Press Gallery to pay tribute to David Espo, who is retiring after working for 40 years for the Associated Press on Capitol Hill.

For my money, Espo has always been one the top reporters to watch in the hallways of the U.S. Capitol, as he has helped to lead political coverage for the AP from Congress for many years.

Speaker Boehner dropped by as the gathering began, and spoke for a few minutes to salute Espo’s work, noting that David always seemed to know where to find the Ohio Republican for an interview before he was Speaker.

Back then, Boehner could usually be located smoking a cigarette and talking shop with fellow lawmakers, just off the floor of the House of Representatives, in what’s known as the Speaker’s Lobby.

The Speaker surprisingly name-checked me as well, mentioning that Espo and I routinely bothered him for interviews well before he was Speaker, as Boehner noted that Espo’s career on Capitol Hill started a number of years before Boehner was elected to Congress in 1990.

During our time waiting in hallways for members of Congress, Espo was always nice enough to share a tale or two from covering Watergate or other big stories on Capitol Hill.

And in recent years, Espo has been one of the veterans left who actually remembers some of the more notable lawmakers from years past at the Capitol.

In his remarks, Boehner drew laughter as he urged Espo to “do something worthwhile,” in retirement.

Espo thanked the Speaker for allowing him to “take a graduate level course in politics,” while also working for the AP – and getting paid – a statement that drew chuckles and smiles from reporters, staffers, lawmakers and well-wishers alike.

That’s a good question. He sure would have some stories.

Good luck, David!


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