Heard on the Hill: Snubbing the Speaker
By Emily Heil and Elizabeth Brotherton
Roll Call Staff
July 22, 2009
Speaker Nancy Pelosi got dissed by astronaut Neil Armstrong after a ceremony at which the California Democrat honored the moonwalking hero and his historic Apollo 11 flight.
After the event marking the 40th anniversary of Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind," held in the Cannon House Office Building on Tuesday, an admiring Pelosi approached Armstrong with pen in hand, a witness to the snub tells HOH.
Pelosi asked the publicity-shy former astronaut to autograph something for her, but he wouldn't oblige. "I'm sorry, I don't do that anymore," Armstrong informed the autograph-seeker.
Turns out, Pelosi shouldn't take his put-down personally. Armstrong reportedly refuses all autograph requests, no matter how powerful the person asking. He stopped giving out his John Hancock years ago, news reports say, fearing forgeries and concerned about those making large amounts of money from autographed items.
In fact, Pelosi took getting turned down in stride, spokesman Brendan Daly says. "The Speaker would go to the moon and back to try to get what her grandson asked for," he tells HOH. "But he learned a valuable lesson: You can't always get what you want."