Capitol Alert

Sen. Barbara Boxer bursts into song on ‘farewell tour’ of California

Outgoing U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, on her farewell tour throughout California, was well into a speech Monday in Sacramento when an aide left a note on the rostrum.

Boxer, in the midst of a story about gaining gym access for women in the Congress, picked up the note that was meant for only her and defiantly read it to the audience.

“We have less than an hour. Stick to your time. Still have questions,” Boxer said, drawing laughter and applause from her admirers.

“Oh, God,” Boxer sighed.

They wanted to hear the tale about the gym. And, over roast beef and French bread, Boxer was intent on satisfying.

The story continued. When the women wanted to build a larger gym, they were told to talk with ex-Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, about their expansion plans.

Rostenkowski rebuffed them, she recalled, explaining he needed the space to store shampoo and conditioner made by a company in his district. He gave it out as Christmas gifts.

Boxer decided to assemble a singing group they called the Red, White and Blues. They got a guitarist, and eventually took their cause, in song, to House Speaker Tip O'Neill.

It worked, and the women won use of the gym. And Boxer is still singing the song today.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago