The red meat value of this story is such that it barely warrants comment. Two hundred years ago, it would have been settled with pistols at dawn. As it is, they’ll probably each call a press conference and then Paula Zahn will turn it into a roundtable about the perils of cigar smoke. With no actual cigar smokers represented, natch.

I think I speak for all of us when I say: Keith Ellison’s office is next to Tom “Bomb Mecca” Tancredo’s?

This is how it all went down. On Wednesday evening, around 6 p.m., Tancredo was preparing for his trip to Mississippi. And as he so often does, he was unwinding with a cigar.

Soon enough, however, a police officer walked in to check on the smoke. The officer told Tancredo that the officer came because he was required to do so and not because the officer wanted to. The officer had already told Ellison that Tancredo was permitted to smoke in his office. The visit was more a formality.

Tancredo said he would not stop smoking in his office. “Heck, no!” he said. “If he [Ellison] would have [had] the courtesy to say something I’m sure I would have been more accommodating to his wishes.”

To help keep his office free of impurities, Tancredo has three air purifiers. And he has no plans to meet Ellison anytime soon. “I’m sure we will, but I’m not going to make a point [of it],” the presidential hopeful said, adding that he supported Ellison’s right to be sworn in with the Quran.

Said Tanc, dryly, “Seemed to me not a good way to say hello.”

Exit question: Best personal conflict between congressmen since Brooks and Sumner?

Update: Robert Spencer e-mails to say that freshmen congressmen are allowed to choose their new offices, so for whatever reason, Ellison wanted to be there.

Tags: Mississippi