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This House member is no stand-up guy

September 10, 2007 |  2:30 am

It's bad enough that Americans don't think much of Congress these days. Now, the citizens of Colombia have found reason to be unhappy with it.

Actually, the disdain is focused on a single House member --- David Dreier, the veteran Republican representative from the Claremont area in Southern California. Dreier, 55, was a power on Capitol Hill when the GOP ruled the roost. And he is well known in Washington for both good manners and a courtly style. But something went awry when he accepted an invitation to address his counterparts in Colombia during a trip in August to Bogota, the country's capital.

In delivering his remarks, Dreier assumed a pose that struck some of his listeners as overly familiar, and perhaps disrespectful. To wit, he plopped himself onto a wooden lectern, resembling more a folksy professor than a visiting dignitary.

Dreier The result was critical coverage in the local media, according to a Reuters story. The article reported that one Colombian lawmaker "called Dreier's behavior 'out of place' while another said it was 'funny but not malicious.' "

Dreier clearly was chagrined. The Reuters story quoted him as saying, "I meant absolutely no offense ... I simply wanted to demonstrate my warm feeling and affection."

Back in Washington, one of his aides offered this explanation to us: "There was a misunderstanding about where he was supposed to be standing. He apologized. ... He certainly didn’t intend to offend anyone."

-- Don Frederick

Photo: Rep. David Dreier gets comfortable atop a lectern in Colombia's lower house chamber; Credit: AP