Tuesday, Jun. 30, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

To: An executive assistant at McBee Strategic

From: Elizabeth Becton, office manager for Jim McDermott, Democratic Representative from Washington

Re: It all started innocently enough: Becton sent an e-mail on May 22 to the consulting company McBee Strategic to set up a meeting for McDermott. But after Becton received a response addressing her as "Liz," all hell broke loose — snarky, aggressive e-mail hell, that is. "Who is Liz?" Becton replied tersely in one of 19 exchanges that made liberal use of the menacing Caps-Lock key. Thanks to (hilarious) coverage by Politico, the "name-calling" debacle quickly became the source of snickers across the Hill and even spawned a tongue-in-cheek Facebook group, of which Elizabeth (ahem) is not a member. At least her job remained safe. "We handled it," said Mike DeCesare, McDermott's press secretary, "and we're moving on."

Excerpt: In the future, you should be VERY careful about such things. People like to brag about their connections in D.C. It's a pastime for some. It's also dangerous to eavesdrop, as you have just found out. Quit apologizing and never call me anything but Elizabeth again. Also, make sure you correct anyone who attempts to call me by any other name but Elizabeth. Are we clear on this? Like I said, it's a hot button for me. And please don't call the office and not leave a message. My colleague told me you called while I was away. ... I do sometimes leave my desk. — Becton