Heard on the Hill: How Would Nancy Drew Handle It?

Posted April 20, 2009 at 6:41pm

As a fan of the intrepid teenage sleuth, HOH sometimes asks that question when confronted with a puzzle. Little did we know, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor might, too.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Virginia Republican snared the services of a speechwriter who apparently has silver-screen credits, including work on the 2007 “tweener— flick “Nancy Drew,— starring Julia Roberts’ niece, Emma Roberts. According to his most recent quarterly filings with the Federal Election Commission, Cantor paid $2,000 to Joshua Sostrin on March 3. According to the exhaustive Internet Movie Database, or imdb.com, a Joshua Sostrin assisted legendary writer Jerry Weintraub on “Nancy Drew— as well as all three of the “Ocean’s— movies starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney and a host of other A-list actors.

We can’t blame Cantor, who is working hard to raise his profile (generating talk that he might make a presidential run in 2012), for wanting the same guy putting words in the mouth of George Clooney (or clever girl Nancy Drew, for that matter) to be writing his speeches. A Cantor spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Still, the Cantor-Tinseltown connection had some staffers looking for popcorn. “Between this and Britney Spears, Cantor has gone Hollywood,— chuckles one Democratic aide, referring to Cantor’s recent headline-making attendance at a Britney concert.

Out of Step. It was the last dance for Elizabeth Kucinich.

During the Congressional recess, the British-born, red-haired wife of Rep. Dennis Kucinich was voted off “Cleveland’s Dancing with the Stars,— a local morning-show version of the popular network reality competition that airs on the Forest City’s News Channel 5.

Although the Ohio Democrat regularly urged his supporters (via Twitter) to vote for his wife, Kucinich didn’t rack up enough votes and got the boot during week four of the competition.

It wasn’t for lack of trying, though — Kucinich certainly put on a show in her last performance. Sporting a short, black-sequined dress, black tights and black high heels, Kucinich and her partner, local dancer Rob O’Bryant, earned several rounds of applause from the audience.

Still, she couldn’t cha-cha-cha past her nimble-footed rivals, who included the mayor of Seven Hills, Ohio; “Slider,— the Cleveland Indians’ mascot; a local firefighter; a local doctor; and two local radio disc jockeys.

Kucinich did hang in the contest longer than former Cleveland Browns player Al “Bubba— Baker and two other area DJs. And we have a feeling Kucinich is pleased with her showing.

After all, when she made it to week three, she blogged on her MySpace page that she was pretty proud.

“Dennis and I didn’t have a first dance at our wedding because I was too nervous at the idea of dancing in front of anyone, so as silly as it may sound, making it to the third round of Cleveland’s Dancing with the Stars is quite a personal achievement,— she wrote.

Hot Dates. When it comes to out-of-town guests at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the flash-in-the-pan celebrity rules. The hottest attendees of years past are now well past their 15 minutes of fame. Remember Sanjaya? Neither does anyone else, but he was arguably the most-talked-about attendee of the 2007 dinner — including the president himself.

And despite the perennial presence at the splashy dinner of genuine, established celebrities, the ephemeral personalities are those who titillate Washington’s jaded crowd the most.

Luckily for media outlets, this year’s dinner happens to coincide with the rise of a few characters to white-hot pop culture status. For their perusal, HOH offers a menu of possible buzz-generating invitees to the May 9 soiree.

Might we suggest Susan Boyle, the frumpy, never-been-kissed Scottish songbird who won hearts all over the world with her stunning performance on Britain’s version of “American Idol—? The buzz would be huge: What would she wear? Would she bring a date?

And sorry, Capt. Chesley “Sully— Sullenberger, your time as reigning Hero of the Moment is up. Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a US Airways Airbus full of passengers safely in the Hudson River in January, has been eclipsed by Richard Phillips, the shipping-boat captain who offered himself up as a hostage to Somali pirates in a dramatic standoff last week. Sullenberger enjoyed a few perks during his Hero of the Moment tenure, like attending President Barack Obama’s address to Congress as a special guest of the president, and nabbing special seats and a tribute at the Super Bowl.

But move over Sully — the pirate stuff’s just a little fresher.

And for the media types who really want to make waves, there’s always Octomom, aka Nadya Suleman, the California woman who gave birth to octuplets in January and has since become the subject of tabloid obsession. Inviting Suleman, who is said to be negotiating a reality-TV gig, is guaranteed to garner plenty of press, with reports certain to cover who was baby-sitting her litter whilst she was partying it up.

After all, things haven’t changed that much since sex-scandal gal Fawn Hall first touched off the dinner’s celebrity-guest craze in 1987.

Still on the Record. Former Rep. Jim Ryun might not be a Member of Congress anymore, but hey, at least he’s still the fastest guy to ever run the mile at the Kansas Relays.

Runner Alan Webb on Saturday came four seconds short of his goal of breaking the Kansas Republican’s 42-year-old record, a 3:54.70 mile run at the 1967 Relays. And while Webb didn’t seem too disappointed — “It’s still cool to see that number, you know, 3:50-whatever,— he told the Kansas City Star — Ryun said he’d actually hoped his record would fall.

In fact, Ryun (who left Congress in 2007) even fired the shot into the air that sent Webb and his fellow runners off racing.

“Records are intended to be broken,— Ryun told the Star. “Forty-two years has been a long time. It’s time to move on.—

Overheard on the Hill. “Hello, I’m Kathleen Turner calling on behalf of People for the American Way. I’m asking you to join me in urging the Senate to confirm Dawn Johnsen — that’s D-A-W-N Johnsen — President Obama’s choice to lead the Office of Legal Counsel.—

— Famously smoky-voiced actress Kathleen Turner, in an automated call aimed at drumming up support for an unlikely cause.

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