It turns out that former President Jimmy Carter apparently still has some lust in his heart after all these years.
How else can one explain that Carter will be joining P. Diddy, Q-Tip and DJ Biz Markie for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at Dream, the D.C. hip-hop club known as a top pick-up joint featuring patrons sporting revealing outfits.
It may be no surprise that former President Bill Clinton will be making his second trip (that we know of) to Dream in recent months for the March 25 fundraiser, a $50-per-person event meant to draw young donors to the DNC. Clinton, who has never been shy about checking out a good party, headlined the first “Young Dems United” event at the ultra-hip club in October.
But Carter, the Sunday school teacher, boogieing at the second one?
“Look, I think you may be making too much of this,” deadpanned DNC spokesman Jano Cabrera. “Everyone knows that Jim-E and Biz Markie always hang together. Given that, it’s totally natural for Carter to be there.”
An invitation for the event — which was planned long before the presidential primary contest had been wrapped up — claims that the party’s certain nominee, Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), will attend the event along with “all of the Democratic Presidential Candidates.”
But HOH has his doubts — Kerry probably doesn’t want to hang out a hip-hop club and hand the GOP fodder, and it’s hard to picture former candidates like Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) party down with Q-Tip and the boyz.
Vice President Rangel? When Kerry went behind closed doors with the full House Democratic Caucus on Thursday, Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) said he would quickly turn the microphone over to the candidate’s chief Hill liaison, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
But first, Menendez said, “I would like to make one request on behalf of my colleagues.”
There was a dramatic pause, and suddenly the silence was filled by the unmistakable rasp of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who sparked all kinds of laughter with his pointed response: “Take back the House!”
“You always steal the show, Rangel,” cracked Menendez.
Given Rangel’s ability to prove he still has the fire in the belly at the age of 73, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) turned to Kerry and joked, “I think you might have your VP pick right here.”
Markey later cracked that Rangel has already moved his residence to Ohio to start barnstorming and help pick up a swing state, and Kerry indicated he might indeed put the liberal on his short list.
But Rangel spokesman Dan Maffei told HOH: “While Mr. Rangel would relish the opportunity to debate Dick Cheney, he is already a candidate for a more powerful office — chairman of Ways and Means.”
By the way, Menendez never got around to revealing his one request. But insiders say that Rangel basically stole Menendez’s line.
Capitol Hill Peace Process. Allies of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) had been hoping to land her a coveted seat at the annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon that Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) throws for Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.
President Bush and only a select few lawmakers get into the luncheon, which was started by then-Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.) many moons ago, in the cramped Rayburn Room. But Clinton allies in town believe that the Senator, who has played a big role with her husband in promoting the peace process, should have gotten a seat at the table.
“It’s ironic that you bring the four main political parties from the North [of Ireland] together at the luncheon,” griped one person involved in the event. “But there isn’t an attempt at reconciliation of the domestic politics here in the United States.”
Clinton was locked out of this year’s luncheon once again, but her office said she is fine with scheduling her own one-on-one with Ahern, who’s officially known as the “Taoiseach” in Ireland. “Senator Clinton is eagerly looking forward to seeing the Taoiseach, and pleased he could make time for her on a very busy and important day for the Irish,” said Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines.
Hastert spokesman John Feehery told HOH that leaving Clinton off the guest list should not be viewed as a slight. “We usually keep it to Members of Irish descent,” he said.
That would keep out Kerry as well — who somewhat recently learned that he is not Irish, despite public perception to the contrary. “As a matter of fact, it does,” Feehery said with a laugh. “I think his middle name is Forbes — not O’Forbes.”
One Democrat shot back, however, that a seat could be found for Clinton, noting, “George Bush isn’t Irish either.”
Funniest Celebrity. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) edged out Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) last week to win the 11th Annual Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest, which raised money for the Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne Inc.
The evening dragged on far, far too long with contestants like radio host Jim Bohannon and liberal political pundit Julianne Malveaux among those who turned in some weak performances that provoked groans (though Malveaux ended up being one of the runners-up). There were also far too many “special guests” performing stand-up in between the actual competitors, leaving some of the judges literally nodding off.
Bachus’ one-liners at the top of his segment were not that memorable, but he came on strong with a series of overhead slides that were purported to be embarrassing shots of various lawmakers in their early days — such as a photo of several babies at a wild party that was supposed to be a look back at the Ohio delegation.
“That’s Mike Oxley there and John Boehner — he’s unconscious,” Bachus joked of the photo that had beer bottles strewn around the table. “Behind the beer, that’s Pat Tiberi.”
There was also a baby with a target on his forehead (“That’s Jim McDermott”) and a kid looking up a woman’s skirt (“That’s Bill Thomas”).
There was also a fun cheap shot directed at House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who had allegedly “offered to give mammograms” in high school.
As for his own district in Alabama, Bachus said in his slow cadence, “We are a high-tech district. We make styrofoam coolers. We use a lot of them.”
Baird did a super job of performing his entire act in the voice of President Bush and was able to poke fun at the Republican incumbent without being an over-the-top partisan.
“We’ve created 10 million jobs — they’re in India and China,” Baird joked.
As for rumors that Vice President Cheney will be dumped from the GOP ticket, Baird said, “I’ve talked to the vice president and he’s said it’s okay for me to run with him again.”
Baird-as-Bush also unveiled a new program called “Leave No Consonant Behind” that highlighted the president’s discovery that “‘Agriculture’ has 2 R’s.”
WUSA-TV anchor Derek McGinty came up with a pretty good act centering on his move from New York to Washington, D.C., featuring plenty of cracks about his inept dating patterns. McGinty noted that he’s been looking for a lady with “teeth, hair and sanity. And teeth and hair are negotiable.”
“Who thought Rosie O’Donnell would settle down and find a nice girl before I did?” he added.
The best performer among the litany of special guests was Jimmy Tingle of Comedy Central fame. Tingle said of Bush’s failure to win black votes in 2000: “He only got nine votes — and two are in the Cabinet.”
Tingle also offered faint praise for Bush’s uncanny ability to bring bitter enemies together against America. “He has done in three years what communism couldn’t do in 70 years,” he joked.
As for Michael Jackson, Tingle said, “I hope the Catholic Church doesn’t transfer him to another parish.”
But D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams (D) also did a good job of poking fun at himself as well as the city’s crisis over lead in the water. “A lot of people thought I believed that Rock Creek Park was the South Korean ambassador,” Williams said of his early days on the job.
As for dealing with so many VIPs as constituents, he said with mock irritation, “You want your streets paved, you want your trash picked up, you want clean water — I mean, what do you want?”
Special guest performer Norm Ornstein, a Roll Call contributing writer, meanwhile, joked that it was not surprising to see Madonna endorse the presidential campaign of retired Gen. Wesley Clark: “They both had a lot of soldiers underneath them.”
On the Dole. Ex-Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) along with Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Major Owens (D-N.Y.) and Pete Sessions (R-Texas) will be among the headliners at the third annual leadership gala held tonight by the American Association of People with Disabilities.
The event at the Washington Hilton will honor Cheri Blauwet, a four-time Paralympic medal winner; Allison Ashley Hillman, an international civil rights lawyer; and Kevin Long, an advocate for improved deaf community education in developing nations.