COLUMNS

Hollywood on the Potomac

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • July 01, 2001

by Karen Feld

“Top Gun” Tom Cruise just wrapped the DC filming of “Minority Report.” He and director Steven Spielberg created more action on the streets of historic Georgetown the past couple weeks than that on the Senate Floor. Washington truly was Hollywood on the Potomac. The film, due out next summer, takes place in the year 2080… Over shadowed by the hoopla, former President Clinton dropped into town almost unnoticed to visit his pal, Spielberg, on the set.

And Dennis Tito, the first American space tourist, seemed to be enjoying his new found celebrity as he tried to have a quiet “martini” dinner with friends at Georgetown’s Café Milano the other evening. “That’s one thing we didn’t have in space,” he quipped. No Russian vodka nor martinis… And it wasn’t Soviet policy, but American, he explained. “Any political ambitions?” to which he replied, “If I was a pol, I’d have to have three martinis.”

Has Dallas-based fashion designer Michael Faircloth been displaced? First Lady Laura Bush seems to be following in her mother-in-law’s footsteps, at least when it comes to fashion. New York- based couturier Arnold Scaasi designed six ensembles for her recent European trip and is now working on a second collection. Rather than trend-setting designs, expect bright colors that photograph well. Scaasi describes his collection as “feminine” and “pretty.”

On the heels of the still unsolved Chandra Levy missing intern saga, Washington is buzzing about the culture of the relationships between politicians and interns. Once a much-coveted experience to enhance a resume, some now feel that the credential may raise too many questions of a personal nature. And all this in post-Monica Washington where even most pols with a roaming eye have called any dalliance with interns taboo.

Until he switched parties last month, Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords was probably best known as a tenor in the Singing Senators — the quartet: Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, the lead; GOP Leader Trent Lott, bass; and former Senator and now Attorney General John Ashcroft, baritone, have traveled the country raising money for charity and GOP causes. So much for music. Jeffords and Lott have not spoken since Jeffords bolted the Republican party. Even Jefford’s black belt in taekwondo may not help him fight off some of the enemies he’s made in the Republican party-many of his colleagues who lost coveted committee chairmanships as a result of the change of control in the Senate. Even his wife, Liz Daley Jeffords, is less than pleased. She feels he let his colleagues down and is considering moving from DC back to Vermont. Even a temporary separation is not new for this couple. The Jeffords were divorced for eight years and then remarried.

GOPs are buzzing that National Chairman Jim Gilmore may be on the way out if the party loses two key gubernatorial races: Virginia and New Jersey…

And some Bush White House aides are embarrassed by Vice President Cheyney’s spokeswoman, Mary Matalin. Her detractors feel she didn’t serve the first President Bush well, and wish that she’d stay in the background this time around. A lower key Matalin? Unlikely!

A flight attendant on Air Force I, the flying White House, confides that the ambiance aboard the 747 has changed with the new administration. “On time take offs and landings are just part of the difference,” says the discreet employee.

Some jaded reporters covering the White House are getting sick of President Bush and his lack of press conferences, and it seems that Press Secretary Ari Fleischer can’t fill the room for his daily briefings. Have reporters gone elsewhere to look for stories? Wonder if that mirrors poll numbers! Some press tips with the president have even been canceled for lack of interest. And Washingtonians are feeling neglected since the President and First Lady spend most weekends away from Washington at the Camp David presidential retreat or his Crawford, Texas ranch. Unlike former President who liked the action in town, this President has not befriended the local Washington community. But luck must be on his side, none of the Supreme Count Justices used the end of the term to announce retirement. With the recent shift of power in the Senate, a Bush nominee would likely face a time-consuming confirmation battle.

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