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In Capitol visit, Brad Pitt leaves lawmakers (briefly) speechless

WASHINGTON — Mr. Pitt went to Washington Thursday and tried to play role model — but many saw only the model part.

Officially, Academy Award-nominated actor Brad Pitt came to the Capitol to see Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the speaker of the House of Representatives. (He also met with President Barack Obama at the White House, but out of public sight.)

Pitt was in town to talk about "Make It Right," which helps build environmentally friendly homes for low-income hurricane victims in New Orleans. Pitt and companion Angelina Jolie founded the organization in 2007.

And yes, Pitt looked like a model. Dressed in a three-piece black suit so perfectly snug and smooth it looked almost like a tux, Pitt alternated between looking bemused and bored, his lips pursed, his eyes slowly shifting around, never really focusing on anyone as he stood alongside a beaming Pelosi and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., before microphones outside of Pelosi's office.

Awaiting them was a mob of reporters bigger than the one that had gathered four hours earlier to hear Pelosi wax about the economy at her weekly press conference.

Having Pitt around, said a grinning Pelosi, was "a real treat for me," because he was "a real hero for the people of New Orleans, a real model for the nation."

Yes I am, the taciturn Pitt seemed to be projecting.

With a serious look on his famous face, he assured her that in New Orleans, "We think we have a model that works."

The three didn't really seem to know what more to say.

This being the middle of the U.S. Capitol, no one screamed, but Pitt did stop foot traffic. Teenage pages stopped next to the Abraham Lincoln statue to gawk. Congressional interns who've spent their spring semester trying hard to be treated like adults snapped pictures with their cell phones and later stood in the halls comparing photos and wondering where Jolie was — apparently a few blocks away, down Pennsylvania Avenue, filming her CIA thriller, "Salt."

Somehow, the stodgy old Capitol had a different feel, at least for an hour or so. The rest of the afternoon people were speculating not on the Senate's cloture vote or the future of the economy. They tried to figure out how they could get a glimpse of Pitt leaving.


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