On 6 August 2004 Congressman Alexander unexpectedly switched from the Democratic to the Republican party just 15 minutes before the filing deadline, saying: "I just decided it would be best for me to switch parties, that I would be more effective in the 5th District in the state of Louisiana as a Republican." Immediately afterward, his entire office staff in Washington, D.C. quit. According to Roll Call:
When half of them, including Chief of Staff Brian Smoot, went to tender their resignations and turn in their keys last Monday morning, they found Mrs. [Nancy] Alexander in the office going through the trash, Smoot told [Roll Call]. He said he assumed she was making sure the staff had not disposed of anything important. "Of course we had not," he said.
Then the boss's wife asked him about her husband's dry cleaning. "I told her she should worry about Rodney's dry cleaning," recalled the 27-year-old Smoot.
Although he could not remember exactly what she said, Smoot said Mrs. Alexander excoriated the three aides -- Smoot, Nell Wilson and Traci Vincent -- accusing them of being disloyal and saying they drove her husband to switch parties.
Then, Smoot said, Mrs. Alexander, who has a doctorate in mathematics, followed the aides into the hallway yelling, "Good riddance. Praise the Lord!" before issuing one final silent but universally satisfying expression: the finger!
"Yes, I can confirm it. She flipped us the bird," Smoot said, still weary with shock from his boss's party-switch.