- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tea tiff

Actress and political activist Janeane Garofalo appeared on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” earlier this month, and (surprise, surprise) the conversation quickly turned to her thoughts on the “tea party” demonstrations, which she labeled as a “white identity” and “white power” movement.

Her opinion hadn’t changed much since April, when she said on MSNBC, “Let’s be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It’s not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about. They don’t know their history at all. It’s about hating a black man in the White House. That is racism straight up. This is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks.”

Them’s fightin’ words to David Webb, co-founder and director of Tea Party 365 Inc., one of the largest tea-party groups in the country.

“Janeane Garofalo is at best misinformed, and to the further extreme a race baiter without credibility. I would welcome the opportunity to debate her in any public forum, including on Bill Maher’s show. The question is could she handle an honest debate on issues and not spout hyperbole,” Mr. Webb said in a statement.

When we chatted with Mr. Webb on the phone, he told us the real twist in the story is that he is “African-American, but [Miss Garofalo] still says I am a racist.”

Mr. Webb explained he is not bluffing about debating her, but his calls and e-mails to Mr. Maher’s show have not been returned. He told us he invited Miss Garofalo to join him on the “Wilkow Majority” show on Sirius Patriot Channel 144, which he occasionally hosts - for a civilized discussion, of course.

After all, he says, he is trying to keep the dialogue at a respectful level.

“We want this to be an even exchange.”

D.C. in 2018!

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is not letting Chicago’s Olympics defeat get in the way of the District’s chances of hosting the event one day.

“It’s going to happen. We’re going to do it. Maybe 2018. Chicago’s a great city, but we can do it,” the always-optimistic mayor told us Tuesday night at the British ambassador’s residence. The mayor and his British wife, Michelle Cross Fenty, were hosting a reception for the Capital Breast Care Center, for which Mrs. Fenty is the advisory council president.

British ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald and his wife, Julia, had to jump across the pond to attend to a family matter and were unable to attend the reception.

Apparently, the mayor’s zealous appeal for his hometown to get in the running for the Olympics has caused him to fall behind on his reading. When we asked how he was enjoying Dan Brown’s best-selling new book, “The Lost Symbol,” which is based in the District and features some of the city’s most famous landmarks, he looked at us quizzically and said he hadn’t heard of it. He pointed to an aide standing nearby and asked us to e-mail her the title.

It always helps to be well-versed in Washington culture when you make your case to the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Mayor.

Oh my, Maria

Speaking of high-flying wives, the first lady of California, Maria Shriver, was spotted going into the Four Seasons Hotel with her young daughter in tow Monday night. Tuesday afternoon, she was seen shopping near Georgetown Park mall.

We think her visit to town may have something to do with a series of appearances she’s making on NBC and its sister networks to discuss “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything,” a study on the plight of working women that she conducted with the Center for American Progress, a liberal, Washington-based think tank.

Following an Oct. 18 opening appearance on “Meet the Press,” the former NBC correspondent will go on to share the project’s findings on MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo as well as online at sites such as msnbc.com.

• To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected] times.com.

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