WASHINGTON — Stranded in Washington during the weekend because of heavy snow, one of Sen. Jim Inhofe’s daughters and her family decided to build an igloo, which led to what they considered a joke.
The igloo and the joke wound up being featured in the national media and getting them named the worst people in the world by liberal MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann. Molly Rapert, Inhofe’s daughter and a professor at the University of Arkansas, and her husband, Jimmy, built an igloo near the Library of Congress on Feb. 6, during a storm that dumped nearly 20 inches of snow on the city. Passers-by commenting on the elaborate igloo also made comments along the lines of "Where’s global warming when you need it?” Rapert said in an interview on Friday. The comments prompted Rapert’s 14-year-old son, Jace, to suggest a sign on top of the igloo, so the family added makeshift signs that read "Al Gore’s New Home!” and "Honk if you love global warming.” The sign-making came five hours into the project and was "as truly random as” her son’s suggestion, Rapert said. What made the joke more politically explosive than it might otherwise have been is the fact that Rapert’s father is the most outspoken skeptic in Congress of the idea that human activity is causing the planet to warm. Inhofe, R-Tulsa, didn’t know about the joke until after his family told him. But pictures of the igloo were posted on Inhofe’s Facebook page, and the Republicans’ press secretary for the Environment and Public Works Committee alerted some reporters about the photos. The igloo and the signs rated mentions in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, on ABC News and on Olbermann’s television show. Rapert, who lives in Fayetteville, Ark., said the media attention led to numerous comments from friends and a local television station interview with her son. "It’s really just been funny more than anything else,” she said. Politics coverage page