Observant Senator Went to the Wrong Meeting and Talked to the Wrong Guy for Two Minutes

Indiana's Dan Coats showed how hard-working and detail-oriented he is yesterday by wandering into the wrong meeting and speaking for two minutes.

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Indiana senator Dan Coats had some questions for Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Mike McCord at an appropriations subcommittee hearing yesterday. Over an hour into the hearing, Coats got his chance to ask them. He spent nearly two minutes addressing McCord, praising his department for quickly responding to a recent letter before asking about some new system.

This would have been fine except that McCord was in a meeting down the hall.

Not Mike McCord.

Coats was in the wrong room, and he was talking to Department of the Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen, something Coats did not realize despite the fact that Cohen was clearly labeled as such.

After Coats finished his question but before Cohen could try to fudge an answer to something he knew nothing about, an aide handed Coats a note informing him of his mistake and ruining our fun.

"I just got a note saying I'm at the wrong hearing," Coats announced. "I've got the right room number, but the wrong hearing."

"Well, that would explain why I didn't know anything about this letter," said an audibly relieved Cohen.

Coats' excuse for his error was that he "saw some familiar faces and I thought this is where I should be."


(For some reason, though Coats proudly tweeted about his work at the General Motors hearing yesterday, he had nothing to say about his gaffe until the Washington Post pointed it out today.)

Coats, 70, has been in office since 2011. He was banned from going to Russia last month. The webcast of his mistake (go to 1:41:18) sadly does not show Cohen's face during the two minutes that Coats was talking to him about letters he didn't send and Army financial management optimization programs he has nothing to do with.

On his website, Coats says his committee work is "important" as it "will allow me the opportunity to continue the fight to rein in out-of-control government spending and strengthen our economic and national security."

Coats is also a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.