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Roll Call

TwinGate SpinGate Update

New details have emerged from last week’s Sports Club/LA incident involving the spinning instructor who mocked President Bush without realizing (believe it or not) that the first daughters were in his class.

First surprising nugget of information: Both Barbara and Jenna Bush managed to rise before dawn to attend Thursday’s 6:15 a.m. spin class, or REV, as it’s called at the posh downtown fitness club and spa. They showed up a few minutes after the class began, which may be part of why the Bush-bashing instructor, Glenn Makl, didn’t see the twins or their gym-going incognito Secret Service detail.

One woman who attended that morning’s spin class described Makl as “horrified” to learn after class that the president’s daughters were there to hear his making fun of President Bush and handing out of a video clip compilation of some of the president’s more memorable gaffes and malapropisms.

Makl usually gives away the CD of music that he brings to class, his students say, but Thursday he threw in a little something extra: a DVD of “Bushisms,” some of which he impersonated for the class, much to the chagrin of the president’s daughters. (And Henry Hager, Jenna’s boyfriend. He wasn’t at the spin class with the Bush gals, as HOH reported Monday, when we thought only Jenna, not both twins, had gone to the class. But Hager played the role of chivalrous boyfriend by calling the club later seeking an explanation for Makl’s offending comments.)

It happened toward the end of the 45-minute class, during the last two “cool down” songs. Makl held up the “Bushisms” DVD and said it contained one of his favorites: the infamous “fool me once” speech. Makl impersonated Bush: “Fool me once, shame on, shame on you. Fool me, can’t get fooled again.”

By this point, a couple of spinners who knew the Bush twins were in class were cringing. But Makl let her rip again. Also on the DVD, he said, is the one where Bush says, “Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their, their love with women all across this country.”

One woman in the class, a financial services specialist named Deborah Myers, told HOH she “couldn’t believe it,” figuring surely Makl had seen the twins. What was he thinking?

After Jenna and Barbara left the class, she and two other students stuck around to see whether Makl had lost his mind or was just totally clueless. Seems it was the latter.

“I went up to him and said, ‘How’s it going, dude? Did you know they were in class?’ He was horrified,” Myers said. She said Makl turned white and said, “You are kidding me, you’re kidding, you’re kidding!”

“Um, ’fraid not,” Myers said.

She said she “hoped” she was wrong, because she saw no Secret Service agents. “When the mayor works out in the morning,” she noted, “he stands out like a sore thumb” because his security people wear “trench coats.” The Bush twins’ Secret Service detail, by contrast, must have blended right in with the rest of the sweating cyclists.

She said Jenna and Barbara did not seem visibly upset when they left the class. “Those kids are so well trained, they were just stone faced,” she said. “They didn’t say anything.”

Another regular in the spin class who knows Makl and who asked not to be identified said the funniest thing about the incident is that Makl is a former federal prosecutor and card-carrying Republican who boasts that he voted twice for “W” and twice for Daddy Bush, the former president.

Makl had an unlisted telephone number, and the club declined to comment on the incident. But a source familiar with SpinGate said the club apologized profusely to Hager, the boyfriend, though not directly to the Bush twins as far as we know. So it remains to be seen whether Jenna and Barbara will keep their memberships at Sports Club/LA, which they got only recently, after much lobbying by the club.

New Ford On the Block. Tennessee House Democratic candidate Joe Ford Jr. has a unique campaign headquarters: a site on MySpace.com, the hot friend-and-information swapping Web site. Other than on MySpace, you’ll have a tough time reaching Ford, who is trying to keep the seat being vacated by his cousin, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.), in the family now that Harold Ford is running for the Senate.

Ford, the House candidate, is keeping his campaign real, if virtual, in the blogosphere. His MySpace site welcomes visitors with the rap song “Lovin’ it” by Little Brother (with lyrics that include “the N word”). He says he wants children “someday” and lists his occupation as “attorney/motion picture producer.” He offers “Congrats to Three 6 Mafia for winning the Oscar!” and lists among a litany of his favorite music: Goodie Mob, Project Pat, Gangstarr, Little Brother, Pete Rock, KRS-1, OutKast, 2Pac, Slum Village, Playa Fly and Lil Wayne.

Ford lists his heroes as “God. My mom, my dad. My grandparents. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Ventura, Bill Clinton, Nikoli Tesla, Frederick Douglass, Tupac Shakur. Anyone who has been a positive influence to his/her community.”

His MySpace Web log includes several articles questioning whether a plane hit the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. His site shows he currently has 605 friends, including LeBron James, and 22 comments. No phone number can be found for his campaign, either on his site or through the Tennessee Democratic Party, the Shelby County Board of Elections or Tennessee State Board of Elections.

A Google search shows that a Joe Ford Jr. for Congress site does exist, but it’s not really Ford’s. That site is maintained by one of Ford’s opponents, Tom Guleff, in the overly crowded Democratic primary field.

Ford lists his younger brother Justin as his campaign manager. Justin is an upperclassman at the University of Memphis and is about to complete a funeral director apprenticeship, according to the site.

Ford says he’s interested in meeting “voters ages 18-35 who feel disenfranchised by the current government system, voters who are interested in a candidate that thinks outside the box, voters who want to be involved with a unique campaign, voters from independent third parties, voters who agree with my platform and message, and voters from the 9th District of Tennessee.”

Stephanie Woodrow contributed to this report.

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.

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