Sex, er, Staffers in the City

Posted February 23, 2004 at 6:37pm

If you missed out on a party for the farewell episode of HBO’s “Sex and the City,” you can at least hit a D.C. bash tonight celebrating the start of a new political reality show on the Discovery Times channel.

Friends are throwing a party for Chris Lavery, the former deputy political director to the presidential campaign of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), who was one of several

people who participated in a show called “Staffers” that kicks off at 8 p.m. tonight. The screening party will take place in a private room at the Glover Park restaurant Bourbon.

The show is being billed as an under-the-radar, six-part series that will give viewers a look at the behind-the-scenes political players who actually fuel the presidential campaigns.

The show was created based on the campaign experiences of Susan McCue, chief of staff to Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and New Jersey rocker/political activist John Eddie — both of whom get credits in the program.

It will track Lavery’s decision to leave law school (and his dog) to go into “true believer” mode for Lieberman, only to see the campaign crash and burn and be left assessing his future options.

The series apparently features a priceless moment involving perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche. The fur also flies when the program tracks Sandra Abrevaya, a deputy press secretary for Howard Dean, clashing with Bush-Cheney supporters who tried to crash a Joan Jett concert held for the former Vermont governor.

And then there’s Amad Jackson, who used to serve as the “body guy” for retired Gen. Wesley Clark. Jackson is billed as a “hunk” who gets “punked” a few times on the Clark campaign, which was notorious for practical jokes.

The participants are already being razzed by friends. Former Lieberman spokesman Jano Cabrera joked that his colleague’s screen debut will “surely be one of the most memorable television moments since Lavery was arrested at his Neverland ranch.”

Not So Familiar Territory? Of all the governors traipsing through D.C. this week, HOH was assuming that Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) would know his way around town as well as anyone participating in the National Governors Association’s winter meetings.

But the former four-term Senator was spotted accidentally ducking into a breakout session of the Democratic Governors Association when the two parties went their separate ways on Monday morning.

An alert Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) mused about whether Murkowski was ready to switch parties. “There’s always room for you at the table if you want to join us,” Vilsack cracked.

A chuckling Murkowski politely declined the offer and moved on to his own meeting.

PAC Man Part Two. Moving quickly to try to diffuse a potential controversy, freshman Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) yesterday fired off a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee to explain why he accepted a PAC check at his St. Paul office, which happens to be against federal law.

Coleman spokesman Tom Steward said the boss has also directed his staff to return the $1,000 check to the National Utility Contractors Association in the wake of Monday’s HOH item about a photo of the Senator accepting the dough appearing in the association’s recent newsletter.

In his letter to the Ethics panel, Coleman wrote that he did not solicit the check and that his legal counsel has since found that the office “followed the rules of the Senate” in turning the contribution over to the Senator’s political committee.

“However, I understand that perception is tremendously important and that I should have been more cautious in that respect, and in this first and only instance, I was not,” wrote Coleman, who added that he was officially seeking advice from the panel on “additional steps” he could take to remedy the matter.

“In that regard, I apologize for any possible unintentional perception concerning my actions and the Senate Rules,” wrote Coleman. “As a precaution my office will schedule a mandatory ethics briefing on all matters related to the conduct of a Senate Office.”

Hooray for Hollywood. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) visit to town for the NGA meetings is just a precursor to the real celebration of Hollywood on the Potomac this Wednesday night.

The California State Society is throwing a pre-Oscar Night bash at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium that will give guests a chance to walk a red carpet, pose for some faux paparazzi and sample food and drinks inspired by this year’s five best picture nominees.

Rep. Mary Bono (R), one of four California Members hosting the party, noted that the event will bring both coasts together to raise money for the First Star Institute, the official Oscar night charity.

The ballroom will be divided into five areas: the “Seabiscuit” section will feature mint juleps and fancy racetrack cuisine circa 1938; the “Mystic River” section will have all-American cuisine like cheese steak subs; the “Lost in Translation” section will enable guests to have Japanese cuisine and sake; the “Master and Commander” portion will, of course, have seafood dishes; and “The Lord of the Rings” will show off fanciful desserts and “Hobbit-sized pastries.”

A Tale of Two Cities. Rival networks have long joked that NBC’s fabled Washington studios on Nebraska Avenue are so far into Northwest D.C. that they might as well be located in Maryland — and anyone reading Monday’s editions of The Washington Post and The New York Times may have thought that Tim Russert had indeed finally crossed the border.

As Russert grilled Ralph Nader about his plans to run for president again on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press,” the consumer advocate’s supporters and detractors clashed outside of NBC’s studios in D.C.

Monday’s front pages of the Post and Times ran the same Associated Press photo of a pro-Nader woman (holding a sign that blared “Run Ralph Run”) facing down an anti-Nader gal (with the sign “Unite Against Bush” in her hands).

Captions in both newspapers of record reported that the friendly fracas occurred in Bethesda, Md., but it was just a mistake. An AP editor said the photographer on the scene merely mixed up the two cities.

Gutter Politics. As if the campaign hasn’t gotten down and dirty enough, Michigan businessman James Wilson is selling toilet paper with photos of the presidential candidate that you would most like to see flushed.

Visitors to ToiletPolitics.com can choose two-ply tissue with the faces of candidates such as Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.) on it, in what Wilson is billing as the “non-violent answer to taking your political frustration out on the Democratic party.”

While the whopping sum of $9.95 per roll seems a bit steep, Wilson vows that it is as “exorbitant as it is absorbent.”

Thanks a Latte. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) can now enjoy her cafe lattes in peace: The Starbucks in the Longworth House Office Building has officially added her to its wall of fame.

Sanchez had recently been overheard griping about the fact that her staff had not yet gotten her photo placed at the joint, officially known as “Two Scoops” because it brews Starbucks and serves ice cream as well.

“Two scoops — my favorite place any time of the day,” Sanchez inscribed on the photo that was placed on the wall after the Congresswoman marched down there herself.