COLUMNS

Abramoff’s early power squatting

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • January 06, 2006

by Karen Feld

buzz
Embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff‘s story is sounding more and more like the stuff of movies – not surprising since he got a good taste of that fantasy high life while growing up in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was president of the Lettermen’s Club, held the school record for the power squat (510 pounds) and was said to be a weight-lifting star at Beverly Hills High, where he lifted a total of 2,700 pounds in the power squat, dead lift, bench press, and clean and jerk.

During those same years in the mid-’70s, he demonstrated entrepreneurship by organizing charity events, such as a celebrity basketball game and an American Cancer Society Quarter Pounder-eating contest at McDonald’s. But before that, while at the Hawthorne School, a Beverly Hills middle school, he ran for student council president only to be disqualified for exceeding the spending limit. And how did he do that? He threw a party and called it a campaign expenditure. Sound familiar?

Lohan and others join ‘Bobby’ brigade

Teen idol Lindsay Lohan, who recently revealed her battles with drugs and bulimia, has signed to do Emilio Estevez‘s film on Bobby Kennedy. Estevez not only wrote but is directing and starring in “Bobby.”

Brat Packer Estevez and his family are no strangers to politics. His dad is activist actor Martin Sheen, who worked for RFK – and played President Kennedy in a TV miniseries. Estevez portrayed a younger version of his father’s character, Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, in a TV episode of “The West Wing.” Others in the star-studded biopic include Estevez’s former fiancée Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Nick Cannon. The film examines the lives of people who were at Hollywood’s Ambassador Hotel on the day Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. It should be in theaters by the end of the year.

‘All Night Long’ for charity

It’s not just political dollars that groups are competing for in this midterm election year. The competition for charity dollars goes on as well. With so many worthwhile causes, those with top entertainers at their gala dinners can command the big bucks. The Leukemia Society has landed not one, but two big names for its 19th annual ball on March 11 at the D.C. Convention Center: pop star Lionel Richie and comedian Dennis Miller. Tickets are going for $1,000 a head. The charity hopes to raise $3.7 million that evening.

Roberts just butts in

Chief Justice John Roberts was lunching at the recently opened Billy Goat Tavern on New Jersey Avenue on Capitol Hill. That’s the Chicago institution where each item on the menu – mostly burgers and eggs – is under $6. Roberts, who spent much of his youth in nearby Indiana, asked his security agents to wait outside.

When a surprised diner asked why he was there, Roberts responded refreshingly: “I used to be a normal guy. Can’t I eat at normal guy places?”

Always a smart Goat

Buzz wonders if Judge Roberts is familiar with the rich history of the tavern. During the 1944 Republican Convention in Chicago, the Billy Goat posted a sign saying, “No Republicans allowed.” This caused the tavern to be packed with Republicans demanding to be served and led to local fame for the savvy Billy Goat. Sounds like those Dems, doesn’t it?

Sighting: Filmgoing economic guru Alan Greenspan with a male friend and four security agents entering a theater showing “Memoirs of a Geisha” at Loews Georgetown on Dec. 30. The ticket taker questioned whether the group had enough tickets. “Yes, and we have more coming,” said top number-counter Greenspan.

Aches and pains more personal than Iraq

Former Bush 41 Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger came out of the bipartisan White House meeting of current and former secretaries of state and defense with President Bush yesterday complaining that he couldn’t stand up any longer – and then an aside: “After all, we’re all has-beens anyway.” Former Defense Secretary Mel Laird, 83, had a different excuse: He just had two knee replacements.

Nancy out and about for New Year

Former first lady Nancy Reagan rang in the new year at her longtime friend Lenore Annenberg‘s traditional party at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She told a friend: “We’re all getting older. This year the hostess is in a wheelchair, but her doctor was there and 40 other guests.” The Reagans spent many New Year’s Eves at the Annenbergs’, but this was only the second year that Mrs. Reagan has gone since the former president announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Her old pals were glad to see her out.

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