A Star, a Fan

Posted September 13, 2005 at 6:57pm

Now we know who Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) turns to when he has trivia questions: Counsel William Jay, otherwise known as Willy, who was a contestant on “Jeopardy” Monday night.

No, he’s not Superman, no zipping from coast to coast, venue to venue, flaunting his intellectual prowess; his “Jeopardy” show was taped in July, before he ever started working for the Judiciary Committee. (Jay, 29, was hired to help out with John Roberts’ confirmation hearings.) [IMGCAP(1)]

Still, HOH thinks Jay has superhero qualities. And he certainly had great luck with his first-round category, one almost too perfect for him to be true: “Fred Thompson, acting Senator.” Score!

Jay correctly recalled that Thompson starred as Admiral Painter in “The Hunt for Red October.”

Jay tells HOH that he surged ahead in Double Jeopardy and “was leading 14-time returning champion David Madden by a couple thousand dollars going into Final Jeopardy.”

But unfortunately, Jay blew it with a big wager on the Final Jeopardy category “Broadway Musicals.” Both he and Madden missed the correct question — “What is ‘Man of La Mancha?’” — but because Jay bet a lot more than Madden, he finished third.

Since Jay finds it way cool that he now gets to see the actor Thompson every day at the Roberts hearings, we hope the former acting Senator will at least give his young fan an autograph as a consolation prize.

Hottest Congressman Ever. While most folks in Washington already are consumed by the 2008 presidential race, some in the Hispanic Caucus are all about ’05.

It was clear during the closing lunch of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Issues Conference, when Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) introduced “the next President of the United States, Congressman Matt Santos.” That would be the muy caliente Jimmy Smits of “West Wing” fame, who, on the show, won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Smits, in town to receive an award from the institute, proudly declared himself “a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — on TV, anyway.” And when he thanked Becerra for his kind introduction, he exclaimed, “Xavier, there is part of you in Matt Santos!” Becerra, on behalf of the Caucus, quipped: “But for eight inches and looks, there goes any one of us.”

Smits went on to thank Hispanic Caucus members “for their work, and their inspiration” to his “West Wing” character.

The actor had just returned from visiting hurricane disaster victims in Biloxi, Miss., before receiving an award from the institute and Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Grace Flores Napolitano (D-Calif.) for his work to create opportunities for Latinos in the entertainment industry. The actor also was recognized at Tuesday night’s National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts dinner.

Pray that we’ll see more of his gorgeous self during the many Hispanic Heritage Month festivities that kicked off this week.

Proving D.C. is Cool. The next big thing has arrived in Washington: Capitol File magazine, with actress Ashley Judd gracing the cover, a million ads for million-dollar designer watches, pictures of pretty faces (and others with money), big names about town and articles and essays from journalists, politicians and even former diplomats.

The new glossy mag will celebrate its first issue and honor its cover girl at a star-studded party at the Watergate hotel following the 2005 YouthAIDS gala. Judd, the YouthAIDS’s global ambassador, will be at the after-party and, according to Capitol File executive editor Anne Schroeder, “There is always the possibility of a few surprises, and knowing Capitol File, we definitely expect a few.”

HOH hears the surprises could include the other Judds — Naomi and Wynonna — Minnie Driver and maybe Ethan Hawke, who is scheduled to be in town for the dinner. And no Watergate party would be complete without Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward. He’s on the list.

And in the “sex sells” department, Capitol Hill’s naughtiest former blogging GOP Senate aide, Jessica Cutler, surely was invited. Cutler wrote a vignette in the magazine about extramarital affairs, and how easy they are to have. Sigh … .

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