- The Washington Times - Friday, June 26, 2009

“Thank you for my stimulus package!” social worker Michelle Billups exclaimed Thursday upon meeting Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

“It wasn’t just for you,” Mr. Geithner replied with a huge grin.

“Well, thank you for the one I got,” came the happy taxpayer’s quick response.

Mr. Geithner and about a half-dozen of his Treasury staffers volunteered their time to serve lunch to the needy at the Northwest headquarters of So Others Might Eat, also known as SOME. They were there as part of United We Serve, a nationwide summer challenge from President Obama to get Americans more involved in community service.

Mr. G donned an apron over his pinstripe trousers, and with rolled-up sleeves handed out plates of food to hundreds, most of whom had no idea who he was.

One homeless customer in a wheelchair, clearly down on his luck, asked G2 what all the camera-clicking and Secret Service fuss was about.

“Man, I need to talk to him,” he said, after learning the Treasury secretary was at the center of the action.

Don’t hold your breath, sir. He may be Mr. Money Bags, but we hear Mr. Geithner runs a tight and frugal ship over at Treasury.

For sanitary reasons, the dutiful staffers had to wear hairnets or hats while they served the meal. Al Fitzpayne, Mr. Geithner’s deputy chief of staff, told us they decided to wear U.S. Treasury ball caps to show their team spirit, but Uncle Sam did not pick up the tab for the $20 hats.

“We’re looking out for the taxpayer. This is an austere and efficient government,” Mr. Fitzpayne told us with a smile.

Incidentally, Mr. G arrived wearing a Treasury hat but replaced it with a SOME hat for the press photo op.

News-babe news

MSNBC anchor Norah O’Donnell may be the more famous half of Washington’s golden power couple, but on Wednesday night, she was happily in the shadows at the opening party for Chef Geoff’s, husband Geoffrey Tracy‘s, newest restaurant in Tysons Corner.

Even though she was off the clock, we couldn’t resist talking shop with her about the news of the day, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s revelation that he had been having an affair in Argentina.

Earlier that day, Ms. O’Donnell had tweeted that Mr. Sanford’s news conference and demeanor were “pathetic,” and she told us she had no regrets about opining on the subject.

“It has nothing to do with being a Democrat or a Republican. I think it’s pathetic to cheat on your wife.”

Later, Ms. O’Donnell volunteered that she sometimes has trouble holding her liquor. One of the cocktails at Mr. Tracy’s restaurant is dubbed Norah’s French Twist in her honor, but she admits, “I am not a hard-liquor person. I prefer wine. Two of those cocktails, and I would be on the floor.”

In other journo dish, we hear Megyn Kelly, morning anchor of Fox’s “America’s Newsroom,” will be hosting “Special Report With Bret Baier” for the first time on Wednesday while Mr. Baier has the night off.

Yankee doodlin’

He may be in the land of the Yanks, but British actor James Purefoy, star of NBC’s “The Philanthropist,” has plenty of opinions about parliamentary politics (and his hot friends) across the pond.

We got an earful at the bar at Co Co. Sala, where an after-party for a special screening of the show took place, hosted by the Creative Coalition.

“I think he should call a general election,” Mr. Purefoy said, referring to embattled Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

A proud member of Britain’s Labor Party, Mr. Purefoy said, “I’m horrified at the corruption. [Members of Parliament] all have their little noses in the trough.”

However, Mr. Purefoy, who plays a dilettante-turned-do-gooder on the show, praised the American spirit of philanthropy, saying, “Americans are more giving than the British.”

As for his friend British actress Sienna Miller, who has been given a little roasting in the press recently for taking up with married actor and oil heir Balthazar Getty, he said, “She’s a lovely girl, and very much maligned.”

Mr. Purefoy, best-known for his lead role in HBO’s series “Rome,” also is good mates with Miss Miller’s former fiance, actor Jude Law. When we suggested the two do a movie together, Mr. Purefoy told us with a somber but honest tone, “I’ll never be in a movie with Jude Law.”

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]

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