- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Out and about

That was Margaret Carlson, the Washington editor of the Week magazine and a longtime Washington figure (she wrote for Time before that, and was managing editor of the New Republic, as well as Washington bureau chief for Esquire magazine, and editor of both Washington Weekly and the Legal Times of Washington) welcoming guests into her Northwest home last evening to toast Slate chief political correspondent John Dickerson and his new book, “On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News’ First Woman Star.”

Meanwhile, Washington’s younger crowd convened late into the night at the new Hotel Palomar on P Street NW, helping Grey Goose Vodka and Capitol File magazine crown the “Best Bartender in Washington.”

And the winner, as voted by D.C. bargoers: Alex Rivera of Gua-Rapo, the popular Latin American fusion restaurant in Arlington.

Fun facts: By day, Mr. Rivera is a program officer at the Academy for Educational Development. He also was lead singer in the rock band Stars Hide Fire, once featured on MTV. His winning cocktail is called “duck, duck, GOOSE!”

No morality here

Question: What ex-lawmaker, a Newt Gingrich disciple who swept into Congress during the 1994 Republican revolution, was once a roadie for the Allman Brothers band?

Answer: former Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican and centerpiece of the congressional page scandal.

Just one intriguing tidbit about Mr. Foley that Inside the Beltway learned yesterday, passed on by veteran investigative reporter Alicia Mundy, the Washington correspondent for the Seattle Times.

Miss Mundy recalled her wide-ranging interview several years ago with Mr. Foley when she worked for E! Online. He had just become Hollywood’s point man on Capitol Hill as chairman of the congressional Entertainment Industry Task Force.

“Looking back, I recall wondering at the time why a conservative Republican member of Congress followed Heather Locklear and ‘Dynasty.’ It was different from other political interviews,” she told us.

In fact, Mr. Foley told her about his personal relationships with actors Don Johnson (they used to play golf together) and Julia Roberts, and how he was star-struck with Miss Locklear.

He also spoke about his friendships with Gregg Allman, drummer Butch Trucks and guitarist Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers (a former Palm Beach, Fla., real estate agent, Mr. Foley even sold Mr. Betts a house), and recalled the time he toured with the band.

“Yeah. It was crazy. I was on the bus. It was wild,” said Mr. Foley, adding that when the tour closed, “I ended up at one of the Allman Brothers’ houses in Vegas.”

Mr. Foley also was asked about his vote to block fellow Republican Rep. Henry J. Hyde’s so-called “culture amendment,” introduced in the wake of Colorado’s Columbine school shootings to curtail the extreme violence seen in some Hollywood films.

“We should not be the ones to tell the public what they should let their children see. We can’t be the divining rod for what’s moral or what’s decent,” he replied.

Asked why he didn’t march more in step with other Republican leaders on such issues, Mr. Foley said: “I admire William Bennett … and definitely John McCain. But they’re trying to blame society’s ills on one aspect only — entertainment. As for their impact — hey, I don’t think anyone sees a politician as being a moral leader.”

Plame game

Even if Republicans can’t bring themselves to read David Corn and MichaelIsikoff’s new book, “Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War,” they might find amusing the lengthy written exchange between the latter co-author and columnist BobNovak in the latest issue of one conservative Washington magazine.

“I was amused, to say the least, to see that my old friends at The Weekly Standard asked Bob Novak to review … the new book I co-authored with David Corn,” writes Mr. Isikoff, who wonders: “Was Scooter Libby unavailable?”

The Newsweek reporter cited “a few inaccuracies and misrepresentations” in the columnist’s critique — from events leading up to former CIA officer Valerie Plame’s being “outed” to Mr. Novak’s assertion that the book “comes close” to being “an unmitigated apologia” for former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, Mrs. Plame’s husband and critic of the Bush administration.

Finally, Mr. Isikoff takes issue with Mr. Novak’s portrayal of Mr. Corn, the Washington editor of the Nation magazine, as a left-wing polemicist more interested in furthering an ideological agenda than seeking the truth.

“If only some conservative journalists showed the same willingness to report stories that conflict with their initial assumptions,” he wrote in defense of Mr. Corn.

Mr. Novak?

“I regret that my friend Mike Isikoff, in his letter, is still peddling the story of Scooter Libby and Karl Rove attempting to discredit Wilson by revealing his wife’s intelligence background,” the columnist writes. “Apparently, he joins David Corn in not being able to accept that the conspiracy theory was demolished by his own book.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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