WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., prepared multiple questions from the Indiana delegation and a bit of sarcasm at the prompt reply he’d received at a congressional hearing on Wednesday –but he was at the wrong hearing, speaking to the wrong witness.
Armed with multiple bullet point questions and a brief commendation to a witness for such a prompt response to the questions from the other members of the Indiana delegation, Sen. Coats addressed those in the hearing for several minutes before being passed a note that he was in the wrong place.
“Number one, I want to commend you because, unprecedented in my career, we received a letter back on March 26, of the same year,” Coats opened. “So I’m very impressed with that.”
After thanking the witness for his timely response, Coats asked the confused witness a question. But before the witness could answer, a staffer slipped the Indiana senator a note informing Coats of his mistake.
“I just got a note saying I’m at the wrong hearing,” he said. “I’ve got the right room number but the wrong hearing.”
“Well, that would explain why I didn’t know anything about this letter,” replied witness David Cohen, undersecretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.
“Well, this is the first time this has ever happened to me,” Coats groaned. “But I hope it’s not a precursor of what…”
“You’re always welcome in our committee,” panel chairman Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., interjected.
“Well, thank you. I saw some familiar faces and I thought this is where I should be,” Coats said. “I’ll go try to find out where I’m supposed to be. Thank you.”
Coats served in the Senate from 1989 to 1999 and was the U.S. ambassador to Germany before returning to the Senate in 2011.