Pelosi: Tough but With a Sweet Tooth
If-and let's capitalize that-IF the Democrats take back control of the House in the fall elections and put San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi in the speaker's chair, there are going to be a lot more changes than a wholesale firing of GOP aides by gleeful new committee chairmen. In fact, the stylistic changes the first woman in that job would inaugurate could be the biggest story of the November 7 midterm election should Democrats win the needed 15 seats to take charge.
First, she's a lot tougher than many think. In fact a top Republican member tells us that he wishes Dennis Hastert, the likable speaker from Illinois, was as hard on GOP crooks and goof-ups as Pelosi has been on her misfits.
Then there's the woman's touch. Gone would be the clubby feel of the current mostly male leadership. Instead, look for lots of flowers, bowls of San Francisco's Ghirardelli chocolate, and good art mixed in with photos of her grandkids. What's more, meeting-goers would be greeted with fruit and muffins for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and maybe a sit-down dinner at her Georgetown condo at night. "Food shows people respect," says an aide. Fashion might also return to Washington, but she doesn't get all the credit: Pelosi's husband buys her threads. And finally, the hours would be much longer, as the 60 Minutes crew following her around for an upcoming October feature story are finding out the hard way.
Not Just Yahoo! Getting 'Face' Time
The closest the social networking site facebook.com usually comes to politics is grainy photos of candidates' inebriated kids. Not anymore. For the same reason Yahoo! is looking to blow nearly $1 billion to buy Facebook, politicians are moving in: It's where the kids are. Facebook has just started tallying the number of users who list support for candidates. They're mostly lefties, but Maryland Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele is a fave. Some candidates work the site, like Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, a likely 2008 presidential bidder. His bio is very Facebook: It links to another site that calls him a hot senator.
At the White House, a Full-Service Flack
He's done print, TV, and radio, so when new White House Press Secretary Tony Snow doesn't have the info he needs, the former newsman knows how to get it. Reporting, he says, "makes the job fun." And beyond liking reporters, Snow's working to make it easier for them to get answers out of the White House. But has his press coddling gone too far? At a briefing last week, he flipped over the tapes of two recorders that had clicked off. "This is part of my obligation as a press secretary. For those who regularly attend, that is a service we provide."
After 10 Years, Time for a Cookie Break
What could be better than baking Christmas cookies? How about having no job and unlimited time to devote to the batter and oven? That's exactly what Fox News Washington Bureau Chief Kim Hume has planned. The better half of the bureau's on-camera star, Brit Hume, Kim is leaving after Thanksgiving. And why? "I'm just done," she says. "Most times when this happens, people always think there's a back story," she says. "In this case, there really isn't," she says, adding: "Now's the time, and I want to finish well." The Humes, who worked together at ABC before Fox, set the bureau up in 1996 and get credit for making it a powerhouse. Brit asked her to stay but caved in. "He gets husband points galore for this," she says. Her future? "I'll do something," says Hume, 51. But first, those cookies. "My cookies are famous," she says. "I can bake my Christmas cookies at leisure. I know this sounds stupid, but you have no idea how good that sounds to me."