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FCC Commissioners: Is This Mike On?

The FCC’s first meeting of the year was so collegial. (How collegial was it?)

It was so collegial that some of the commissioners even felt at liberty to try out a little schtick, letting loose with a volley of rapid-fire quips.

Remarking on new Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate’s dress (a rather fancy, robin’s-egg blue number), Chairman Kevin Martin, a University of North Carolina grad, noted that she “appropriately wore Carolina Blue, and I appreciate her thinking ahead to do that.”

Liberal Democrat Michael Copps then observed that he was sitting to the right of Martin. He joked that the seating “reminds me of the old Johnny Cash tune about the one on the right’s on the left, the one in the middle’s on the right, the one on the left’s in the middle.”

After thanking the president and her home-state senator, Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tate, who pledged at her Senate confirmation hearings to be a consensus builder, responded: “I guess everyone here is not surprised that I am on the far right, but I will borrow from a Johnny Cash [song] as well: I walk the line.”

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, sporting some new chin-whiskers, then offered “a very personal note of thanks” to Tate: “There is something that you have done for me that nobody else could possibly do. I am no longer the most junior member of the commission.”

“Did you grow the beard to emphasize that?” Martin said.

Thanks, folks. We’ll be here all week.