Yep, Howard Dean Takes the Subway
Let's just state the obvious: New Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is no Terry McAuliffe . Where the flashy former Clinton fundraiser was a gregarious ringmaster accustomed to the bling-bling of the highest non-publicly elected Democratic job around, Dean is almost a seminarian in his approach to the post. And, oddly, his style seems to fit with the party's bid to build its blue-collar base--just as McAuliffe's meshed with the DNC's need to raise gobs of money and go high tech.
What's so different? McAuliffe would limo around town, dropping in at the Palm to huddle with Washington big shots. The 2004 presidential hopeful, by contrast, takes the bus or subway, buying his own $1.35 ticket. Sometimes he bums rides from staffers or walks the four blocks to the Capitol for meetings. "Please Call Me Howard" never flies first class and always carries his own bags.
Other signs of the ex-guv's modest style: He eats at his desk, stays in a cheap D.C. hotel, and likes oxford shirts and penny loafers. Affectionately dubbed a "geek" by pals, he's often glued to his cellphone and loves E-mail. "His expertise is grass roots and his lifestyle is no different," says an associate. So far, Washington likes what it sees, surprised he's not the oddball that newsies pegged him as last year. Says an aide, smiling: "They're giving him a shot."
From the Dim Mists Of History, Gems
It was a huge project with a major problem: The Senate Historical Office planned to publish the first-ever directory of all 1,884 senators but didn't have images for 142. Until the recent donation of old photo albums from an aging Civil War buff. They were not just any photos, according to Senate officials. In the albums were previously unknown pictures taken by Civil War photographer Mathew Brady. The best part: The album provided images for 52 of the missing senators. Brady's photographs even included signatures of the senators. "It was great," gushed Senate photo historian Heather Moore.
After Terrorism Alerts, Links Time
Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is finding that life outside Washington's official bubble isn't so easy. While he has lined up board jobs with Home Depot and Savi Technology, we hear he hasn't found an office to rent or hired a top assistant despite scores of interviews. But that's not so bad, says an aide: "He's playing lots and lots of golf."
Getting Out to the Old Ball Yard
The Washington Nationals are a box-office hit, but for some games only half the seats are filled. Call it the "Redskins Syndrome": Firms with season tickets are new to baseball, and they forget that there's a game most nights to distribute tickets to. Says one PR biggie: "They think the Nats are like the Redskins, playing only on weekends."
Where to Dine Like A Republican
It's not a list the Republicans wanted out, but a growing lobbyist scandal and some nifty Democratic spying have given us enough info to provide the first-ever Guide to Top GOP Fundraising Restaurants. If there's a theme to the top 10, it's that lawmakers like good eats, especially steaks, but demand convenience even more, since virtually all restaurants are within walking distance of the Capitol. The most popular fundraising spots for Republicans over the past four years: pricy La Colline, 106 times. Next, the Tex-Mex pub Tortilla Coast, 76 times. Third, Signatures, the expensive joint owned by scandal-plagued lobbyist Jack Abramoff, 65 times. Other hot spots: Caucus Room, Bullfeathers bar, Capital Grille steakhouse, Charlie Palmer's steakhouse, Hunan Dynasty, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and the Monocle, the famed Senate-side watering hole. And the new favorite locations? Starbucks, for coffee and danish, and Bowl America. Republican officials promise payback. "This," pledged a GOP leadership aide, "is going to get ugly."