Desperate Households

Posted May 7, 2008 at 6:52pm

Let’s call it the Curse of Cameron Station. The planned community in Alexandria is chockablock with charming brick townhouses and gazebos all designed to harken back to small-town Americana.

[IMGCAP(1)]But in the past few months, the bucolic streets seem more and more like Wisteria Lane than Mayberry. Cameron Station is home to two women who have been associated with Congressional scandals: Vicki Iseman, the lobbyist whose close ties to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reportedly so worried McCain’s aides during his 2000 presidential bid that they took pains to distance her from the candidate, and Laura Fay, the woman who reportedly picked up Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) from a Virginia police station after his arrest last week on drunken-driving charges.

A community manager tells HOH that the hoopla accompanying the scandals has caused quite a stir in the quaint development. News trucks and reporters gathered outside the women’s homes prompted a number of complaints to the community association, which referred them to the Alexandria police. “You have strange guys in vans asking people questions,” the community manager, who didn’t want to be named, told HOH. “In a quiet community, that’s cause for concern.”

The community got its first taste of paparazzi fame back in February, when news of McCain’s relationship with Iseman made the front pages. Then last week, when reporters were hoping to score an interview with the galpal whom Fossella reportedly called after his arrest just a few miles away — or with her neighbors — it was déjà vu.

Post-Idol Idling. In the fickle world of pop culture, one minute your name is in lights, and the next, you’re playing the sticks.

Take former “American Idol” contestant turned country music star Kellie Pickler, who performed on the Capitol’s West Lawn on Wednesday at the Third National GrandRally, designed to bring attention to the struggles faced by grandparents who raise their grandchildren.

HOH recalls that it wasn’t two years ago when Pickler, then at the height of her Idol fame, had a much higher-profile visit to Washington, when she actually got to tour the White House and meet the president.

On this trip, Pickler got to shake hands with … uh, Reps. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.). But it clearly wasn’t about the glitz for Pickler. The singer, who was raised by her grandparents, flew in specifically for the event, where she sang a few songs and signed some autographs.

Pickler’s low-key appearance was a bit of a contrast to her 2006 trip to D.C., when she visited the nation’s capital as part of an “American Idol” tour. During that trip, Pickler and her fellow Idol finalists got the A-list treatment at the White House, meeting President Bush and even getting a personal tour of the exclusive address.

But Pickler — who’s well-known for being a bit ditsy — somehow got separated from the group inside the White House library, she recalled to HOH. “I was pushing on the bookshelves trying to get out,” she joked.

HOH trusts that Pickler had an easier time getting around this trip; there aren’t any bookshelves on the West Front lawn, after all.

Ron Paul’s Manifesto. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is on a roll. He came in third in Tuesday’s Indiana GOP primary with a whopping 8 percent of the vote, he’s making the rounds hyping a new book, and he’s still got legions of enthusiastic fans.

Paul on Wednesday faced a friendly crowd at American Conservative Defense Alliance, although the folks assembled to hear the presidential contender (he’s technically still in the race) were more of the suit-wearing ilk than his usual band of merry college-age pranksters. Paul answered the mostly wonky questions as he flacked for his subtly titled tome “The Revolution: A Manifesto.”

Paul had plenty of Ron Paul-like answers, saying that he’s “never had much trust or faith in politicians” and arguing that “we should legalize freedom of choice and get government out of the way.”

Paul says he plans to attend the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis and will hold a “Revolution March” in Washington, D.C., in July. But Paul isn’t kidding himself, either — he knows he can’t win the nomination and doesn’t plan to pull a Ross Perot in an uphill attempt to get to the White House.

“Theoretically, I guess I could run as an Independent,” Paul said. “Practically, I’m not going to do it.”

Briefly Quoted. “I would like to think that none of us would approve a ‘McDonalds’ Golden Arches National Park’ or a ‘Baskin-Robbins Glacier National Park’ or a ‘Gateway Computers National Park’ or ‘American Funeral Directors Death Valley National Park’ or ‘Victoria’s Secret Grand Teton National Park.’”

— Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), displaying a striking knack for marketing during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Clayton Hanson of GalleryWatch contributed to this report.

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