Loyalties v. Royalties and an Unspoken Truce

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • March 26, 1999

by Karen Feld

The lines blur between Hollywood and Washington: Two-time astronaut and former U.S. Senator, John Glenn, 77, had “the right stuff” last weekend. Dressed in his NASA flight suit, he unleashed his rich baritone voice to 2,000 pols and scribes who only dream of taking off into space. Sen. Glenn was a surprise star at Washington’s annual Gridiron Club roast, and then the next night a hero at the Academy Awards on the “other” coast. Even Gen. Colin Powell made his first appearance on the Academy Award stage, and later at the Vanity Fair soiree, debriefed actor Warren Beatty. Across the room Monica Lewinsky tightly held the arm of her current love, independent film producer Jonathan Marshall. . . She’s been plugging his film company by displaying it’s “TSG” (The Shooting Gallery) logo on her baseball cap and on the coffee mug she brought to her Barbara Walters interview. . . Meanwhile, back at Gridiron, Monica left her mark in spirit only. The Gridiron singed rather than burned as they performed “The Trial of the Century” backed by a chorus of cross-dressed Monica-ettes. First Fan, President Clinton was the guest of honor. Remember this is Washington so the President and the press declared an unspoken truce for that evening and for the Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association dinner as well. There, Pres. Clinton congratulated ABC’s Jackie Judd on her award for coverage of the Monica Lewinsky saga, and he made light of the scandal — his suggestion for an Academy Award, “Saving Private Life.” The President was a warm-up act for Garrison Keillor, who observed that journalists treat the presidential dilemma as a “professional opportunity.” If that’s not Hollywood, what is?

While many relish in the perks of high office, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala says “there are too many constraints.” So when the Cabinet Secretary isn’t on government business, she “signs off” on her security detail. She may save funds from the Department budget, but not without personal cost– she narrowly escaped muggers at a bank machine on a recent Sunday morning. “Maybe we could take the security detail out of Ken Starr’s budget,” she joked..

Loyalty and royalites were on the minds of most at former White House advisor George Stephanopoulos’ launch for his tell-all, “All Too Human.” White House economic adviser Gene Sperling explained, “Nobody held me back; I’m a friend.” Presidential lawyer, Bob Bennett, and former White House aide, Harold Ickes, proudly posed for photos with the author. When asked if the President has read the book, Mr. Stephanopoulos said: “I assume he hasn’t . He said at the press conference that he hasn’t . . . and he always tells the truth,” the author added with a laugh.

Vice President Gore’s former Harvard roommate, Tommy Lee Jones, is in town this week to film “Rules of Engagement,” a story conceived by former Navy Secretary James Webb. Mr. Jones is shooting in Virginia horse country — on location at Vint Hill Farm, a military base until recently used for top secret code breakers.

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