I'll Take Awesome Representatives for $200, Alex

There are a handful of congressmembers whose names are known to me because they champion some cause or another that I find important, and, as I follow their determined (and often futile) efforts to right some injustice, I become rather fond of them, and admiring of their determination to use their position for something other than grandstanding in service to the status quo.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), for his pursuit of fair elections, is one of those congressmembers.

So this story really tickles me (and BONUS! Anthony Weiner shout-out):
There are a lot of smart people on Capitol Hill. But none of them can claim quite the same brainy bragging rights as Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.).

On Monday, Holt beat IBM's super-computer, known as Watson, at a round of "Jeopardy!" at the Liaison Capitol Hill, part of an event organized by IBM.

For those unfamiliar with Watson, the interactive computer contains some of the the most cutting edge information processors in the world, and it recently beat all-time "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings on TV.

To be fair, Holt is not your average congressman, especially not when it comes to trivia. He's a five-time "Jeopardy!" champion and a nuclear physicist, to boot. Nevertheless, Holt said the prospect of facing a computerized opponent was daunting.

"I watched a few episodes [of Watson] against Jennings a few weeks ago, and I thought I was in for trouble." Not so. At the end of his round, Holt (right) had 8,600 points to Watson's 6,200. Holt's fellow Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) (left) also competed in the round and scored 1,000 points.

...Holt may be the only member to have beaten Watson, but [Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.)], a former Rhodes Scholar, became the crowd favorite when he bet all his points on a double jeopardy question about a chicken recipe, and won (the answer was "coq au vin").

...Himes later explained that trivia skills come in handy on the House floor, especially during debates. "It really comes down to 'How quick are you?' 'How fast can you turn around a bon mot'?" he said. "I mean, you see guys like [Rep. Anthony] Weiner [D-N.Y.], and they are just quick as all get out."
Hee.

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