Gephardt’s Girl Power

Posted May 7, 2003 at 6:25pm

Gephardt’s Girl Power. Look for Chrissy Gephardt, who has not hidden the fact that she is a lesbian, to be a very public advocate of the presidential aspirations of her father, Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.).

The expectation is that young Gephardt will be far more aggressive than Mary Cheney in soliciting gay and lesbian votes for dear old dad. The Bush campaign in 2000 did not bring much, if any, attention to the sexuality of the daughter of Vice President Cheney.

In contrast, the word around town is that the Gephardt campaign has

been very interested in finding a media outlet to do an extensive interview with Chrissy Gephardt, who is a social worker in the D.C. area. Her sexuality has only been briefly alluded to in a Boston Globe story about civil unions as well as in her biography on the Gephardt campaign Web site.

Her story is now expected to be featured in an upcoming issue of People magazine, which will give the Gephardt family a chance to discuss the matter on their own terms.

People’s Washington bureau chief, Sandra Sobieraj, did not want to discuss details. “We are a competitive newsmagazine,” she said. “We have a proprietary interest in not letting the competition know what we’re working on.”

But, she added, “Like all of the candidates, we’re looking at the Gephardt family. Stay tuned.”

Gephardt spokesman Erik Smith, meanwhile, noted, “In a presidential campaign, a candidate’s life is an open book.”

Slamming Shrum. It turns out that the sauciest quip at last weekend’s Democratic presidential debate may have been uttered by one of the noncandidates, Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.).

Hollings, who’s known for his priceless zingers, couldn’t resist a friendly poke at Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for winning the so-called “Shrum primary” earlier this year.

As he was working the room the night before the debate in the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Columbia, S.C., Hollings ran into Kerry and his top media strategist, Bob Shrum.

Eyewitnesses tell HOH that Hollings gave Shrum, perhaps best known for running the presidential campaigns of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1980 and then-Vice President Al Gore in 2000, the once-over before turning his gaze to Kerry, who stole Shrum away from Sen. John Edwards’ (D-N.C.) campaign a couple months ago.

“You got him?” drawled Hollings. “What — you want to lose?”

Making it crystal clear that the comment was made in jest, Hollings quickly embraced Shrum and Kerry.

“Witnesses report they’ve never seen Kerry and Shrum laugh so hard,” Kerry spokesman David Wade told HOH. “I understand Senator Hollings will be performing at open mic night at the Hampton Inn all week.”

But then again, there are people in rival camps who still insist that Kerry “lost” the Shrum primary by getting the strategist to come aboard.

Meanwhile, a rival campaign couldn’t help passing on the fact that Kerry was spotted on stage taking notes throughout the debate. The interesting part is that he was using an official Senate notebook, which turned out to have been swiped from Wade, who left the tablet in a campaign van.

“You can’t use any Senate resources for the presidential campaign,” an adviser to another pol seeking the brass ring said with tongue in cheek.

Shot back a Kerry adviser: “Given the august company on the stage, maybe John Kerry dug out his notebook to work on his short list for vice president.”

Air Ball? House Republican leaders probably meant well when they let business types hand out mini-basketballs promoting President Bush’s tax-cut plan at Wednesday’s GOP Conference meeting.

“Help Bounce the Economy!” read the balls.

But some Republicans were chagrined when they turned over the ball to find the dreaded inscription: “Made in China.”

One GOP aide insisted that the party had not stepped on its message. “We voted for PNTR,” the laughing aide said of the trade pact. “What’s wrong with that?”

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. After recently dyeing his hair a cartoonish platinum blond, eyebrows were raised when Rep. Jim Moran (Va.) showed up at Wednesday’s Democratic Caucus meeting with his hair all gray again.

“His hair now is simply its natural color,” said spokesman Dan Drummond. “Furthermore, the Congressman couldn’t care less about what other people think about his hair.”

Mama McCain. It looks like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is going to have some ‘splaining to do on Mother’s Day.

McCain brought his mother, Roberta, who’s still spry at 91 years of age, to Tuesday night’s screening of a new Travel Channel documentary he helped narrate about the history of Arlington National Cemetery.

The Senator told the crowd of 200 people who turned out at the new Silver Spring, Md., headquarters of Discovery Communications that it’s not just conservatives in the Senate who are furious with his maverick ways.

“My mother watches my voting record very closely,” he said to laughter. “Sometimes she thinks I’ve joined the Communist Party.”

“I’m not saying she’s conservative,”

McCain added with a look that actually suggested that she’s a wee bit to the right of Atilla the Hun on the political spectrum.

McCain also revealed that he will eventually be buried at Arlington along with his father, grandfather and two great-uncles. While McCain said he does not yet know the specific spot of his resting place, he pointed out an amazing coincidence: His father was buried next to a former academy roommate.

Affairs of the Hart. There was at least one small glitch at Tuesday night’s gala honoring John Kluge, the billionaire who has been very generous to the Library of Congress.

Actor James Earl Jones introduced HOH to his wife, Cecilia Jones, a peppy woman who just couldn’t resist passing along a gossipy little faux pas.

She noted that one of the organizers made a tiny mistake by giving her a namecard that read “Mrs. Hart,” which happens to be her maiden name. The couple have been married for 21 years.

“The question is, what is Mr. Hart going to do to Mr. Jones when they find out that Mrs. Hart and Mr. Jones are shacking up at the Four Seasons together?” she cracked.

Bree Hocking contributed to this report.