Clawson won a special election last month to replace Trey Radel, who resigned following a cocaine bust. The political novice, who was a businessman and college basketball player before running for office, apologized in a statement sent to our Gannett colleague, Ledyard King. "I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize. I'm a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball," Clawson said.
Adding a layer of irony to last week's embarrassing performance -- you know, when a U.S. congressman mistook a non-white U.S. official for a foreigner -- the Indian American woman witness once was a staffer on the same committee. Yes, Nisha Biswal, the assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, was a staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 1999 through 2002. After more than a decade working in U.S. government and policy, Biswal returned last Thursday to the her former employer -- the committee appears to have been her first Capitol Hill job -- to find that at least one congressman did not bother to read her bio before questioning her at a hearing.