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Dole’s LD shows up to event with black eye

Al Garesche, legislative director to Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), got engaged the weekend before last and showed up at a downtown happy hour last week with a black eye. (Hopefully the two events are unrelated.)

Garesche claimed to a fellow bar-goer that he was driving a speedboat and someone’s baseball ball cap flew off and hit him in the eye.

“I think it had to do with ring size,” a GOP lobbyist in attendance cracked. “He did joke that he gave her a fake ring first and that she didn’t take it very well.”

By press time, Garesche had not returned ITK’s phone calls on the matter.



HELP aide wins Miss D.C., heads to Miss America

Kate Michael, a research assistant on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, may soon have TV host Regis Philbin crooning to her on TV.

On July 1 she won the Miss District of Columbia pageant, held at the University of the District of Columbia auditorium on the Van Ness campus, which means she’s off to the Miss America pageant in January.

Michael, 24, says she made it just in time — women can compete between the ages of 17 and 24 and then they are no longer eligible.

She hasn’t always been so lucky in beauty pageantry. The Georgia native lost two Miss Georgia pageants two years in a row, in 2004 and 2005. But she also knows the sweet taste of success. Last year, Michael was the No. 1 beautiful person in The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful contest.

So what did she wear? For evening gown, it was a teal Jovani halter dress, laced and beaded to her waist with a high-waist slit on the left side. She paired the dress with clear shoes containing a silver heel. The swimsuit was pink with yellow trim accompanied by taupe heels.

“You want to elongate your legs as much as possible,” she explains, “so you wear the tallest heel you can and the closest color to your skin tone so you don’t look like you’re wearing shoes.”

For the entertainment portion, she’s a dancer, so she bought a simple red dress on eBay for $19 and added rhinestones. “I was dancing to ‘Fever,’” she says, “so I wanted something red and a little bit sexy. It moved really well whenever I danced.”

Michael says the win was thrilling. She says it surprised her, considering all the talk she heard about the importance of diversity in the district.

“Because D.C. has a more diverse population, people hoped for a more diverse winner, but when you look at diversity, it is a diversity of experience, a diversity of thought,” she says. “I thought they might choose an African-American Miss D.C.”

So now Michael prepares for Miss America, which airs on Country Music Television in January. Preliminaries begin in September, when 52 women will compete for the top 15 slots. That means working out with a personal trainer, practicing her dance moves and rehearsing vigorously for the interview portion, which makes up 35 percent of the competition.

In addition, she has a board of about 10-12 former Miss D.C. winners who help her through the process and assist in getting her promotional appearances around town.

Though she does not yet know where the Miss America pageant will be held, she has heard rumors of Hollywood. “It’s every little girl’s dream to be on Miss America,” she says. “I’m still pinching myself.”

And FYI: Michael says she’s happily single. Sadly, she says, her relationship with an information-technology specialist from last year did not work out.



Flack pitches story on possible trend of GOP Jews

Katie Greenan, press secretary to Rep. Anne Northup (R-Ky.), sent out an interesting story pitch to various Capitol Hill newspapers last week.

“Riding the metro home last Thursday, I had a conversation with two college students — one male and one female,” Greenan wrote in an e-mail. “They were very intelligent, interesting, and communicative. They are also Orthodox Jews and Republican.”

Greenan wrote that she found this interesting so she began peppering them with questions. “‘We are Republicans because Republicans are friends with Israel,’ says the girl.” From the guy: “‘We are also Republican because there is more fiscal responsibility.’”

Democrats insert joke/criticism of GOP policies here.

“We discussed what being an Orthodox Jew means to them, the generalizations and stereotypes Jews receive, and the differences between types of Jews. All of this affects their political beliefs they say.”

When asked about statistics on the topic, Greenan couldn’t offer any other than her eavesdropping Metro ride. “I haven’t actually done any research on it, but I know it exists. It’s a trend that you know that’s taking place right now.”

Greenan insists that her story-finding mission is “totally independent” from her work for Northup and that a story like this would not benefit Northup in any way.

“I have a reporting background,” she says, explaining that she graduated last August with a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University. “Even when I’m not working I just ask questions and do this kind of thing.”

Greenan says that she makes it a practice to listen to other people’s conversations on the Metro — and that she believes stories can be discovered this way. And then she passes them along to Capitol Hill reporters.

Greenan later sent two articles to support her contention, one an article posted in 2003 on WorldNetDaily titled “Jewish support for GOP grows” and another 2003 article from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs titled “Are American Jews Becoming Republican? Insights into Jewish Political Behavior.”



Sighting: Hagel can’t resist a good dessert or two

When it comes to sweets, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) likes to be helpful. The senator was spotted dining at Le Refuge, a quaint French restaurant in the heart of Old Town Alexandria last Saturday night with his wife, Lilibet, and 13-year-old son, Ziller.

According to an ITK spy at the next table, Hagel and his dinner companions enjoyed a pleasant, low-key meal. At one point the senator wasn’t getting five-star service and, instead of making a scene, got up and quietly sought the waiter’s attention.

For dessert, Hagel opted for vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and nuts while his wife chose the restaurant’s signature dish, profiteroles, a delightful display of chocolate, whipped cream and pastry. Though his wife and son ordered separate desserts, Hagel decided to take the advice one gets on an airplane. First he finished off his own dessert, and then polished off his son’s peach melba.

“Senator Hagel did help him finish it,” confirmed Hagel’s communications director, Mike Buttry. “I think he likes desserts like everyone else.”



Announcements

NRCC press secretary to wed Portland real-estate broker

Jonathan Collegio, press secretary at the National Republican Congressional Committee, is scheduled to marry Rebecca Grammer, a Portland real-estate broker, on Sunday in Carlton, Ore.

Because of their respective jobs and the heat of campaign season, the pair will begin their marriage at a distance.

“It’s a long-distance engagement and we’ll have a long-distance marriage at least in the short term through the election,” Collegio said.

Collegio and Grammer, both 30, attended the same high school in Medford, Ore., and their parents come from Jacksonville, Ore. The couple did not date during high school but re-met at their 10-year reunion in 2004.

“She was the most beautiful girl at the reunion, and I couldn’t help but ask her out,” Collegio said.

As luck would have it, after the reunion Collegio was working on the congressional campaign of Goli Ameri and Grammer’s home was two miles away from the campaign office, which facilitated their courtship. Ameri lost to Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), but no matter; the couple remained intact.

They plan to honeymoon at a resort in Oregon’s Cascade mountains.

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