By Betsy Rothstein - 11/11/08 04:59 PM EST
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and his Kuwait-born wife, Samah, are getting in on the Brangelina adoption action.
Norquist recently adopted a baby girl named Grace from Bethlehem — yes, the one where Jesus was born in a manger. Norquist spokesman John Kartch said the 8-month-old is “at home now and has a new crib and many toys.”
Norquist is over the moon. “Lincoln Steffens was wrong,” he said referring to the late American journalist who, upon returning from the Soviet Union in 1921, said, “I have seen the future and it works.” “The future is a little girl named Grace.”
Phil Donahue talks up emotional war documentary — again
The perennial king of talk, Phil Donahue, is at it again.
Last year he did a whirlwind promotional tour that involved “more radio shows than is good for the average man” for his directorial debut, with co-director Ellen Spiro, “Body of War.”
The documentary film is an intimate journey of the homecoming of 25-year-old Tomas Young, who became paralyzed from the chest down from a bullet to his spine five days into his deployment to Iraq.
He also lost both legs from the shins down.
The film showcases Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as the voice of reason who spoke against the Iraq War Resolution of 2002, which gave President Bush power to go to war with Iraq. Several lawmakers are in the film, including anti-war California Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee.
It’s not for the squeamish. The film, which re-airs on The Sundance Channel on Nov. 17 at 3:30 p.m. and Nov. 26 at 10 a.m., includes talk of erectile dysfunction, urination and drugs. Hard-to-handle scenes depict the young man’s need for catheters — at one point Young’s mother changes his catheter; the film shows her inserting it into her son’s penis.
“Don’t sanitize this war!” Donahue shouted dramatically in a phone conversation with ITK from Manhattan, where he lives with wife, Marlo Thomas. “I want people to see the pain. See the pain. If you are going to send people to war … the least we can do is show their sacrifice.”
Donahue was surprised by the low turnout in D.C. when “Body of War” debuted at Landmark’s E Street Cinema. “I thought we’d get people who work for them [lawmakers who appeared in the film]. My goodness, how many thousands [of aides there are] and we fell off the marquee in Washington in six minutes. I think there are people on the Hill who didn’t want to be seen going to this movie.”
Donahue conceded this is no date movie.
“Not a take-your-girl-to-the-movie movie,” he said. “Say you’re 22 and you’ve got a boyfriend and you’re walking down a street holding hands. Would you go in to see this movie?”
Donahue pitched Byrd’s aides for nearly a year before the senator agreed to let him in. When he approached Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) office, aides refused to let Donahue in: “I just think there is a whole bunker mentality. I had a guy put his hand up to me. … What is so terrifying about a camera or a has-been gray-haired talk show host?”
Sen. Clinton ‘does girlfriend really, really well’
At an event where honorees included Nicole Kidman and Tyra Banks, it was Hillary Rodham Clinton who garnered the biggest applause.
Taking the stage after a thunderous standing ovation, the Democratic New York senator thanked Glamour magazine for its Women of the Year award, noting “they always supported my pantsuit.”
One of 10 honorees at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan on Monday night, Clinton, wearing a chocolate-brown ballgown, was introduced by her longtime friend, the actress Mary Steenburgen, who said the senator “does girlfriend really, really well.” “American Idol” winner David Cook serenaded Clinton, leading the former presidential candidate to quip: “He did get more votes than I did.”
Clinton encouraged the mostly female audience to be President-elect Barack Obama’s “partner” in change.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was also honored. She noted the evening’s theme of service, saying, “When you find your passion you’ll realize you didn’t find it, it found you.”
Rep. Musgrave won’t concede
The Coloradoan, a daily newspaper out of Fort Collins, Colo., reports that Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) still has not conceded to the woman who beat her, Democrat Betsy Markey, nor has she phoned to offer congratulations.
Is it stubbornness, or just plain rude?
“We don’t know why,” said Ben Marter, Markey’s campaign spokeswoman. “It’s disappointing, but we’re moving forward.”
Musgrave’s campaign spokesmen are becoming skilled at hanging up on the media. A Colorado reporter phoned Jason Thielman, Musgrave’s campaign manager and former district director. He hung up on her, saying, “I don’t work for that campaign anymore.” A Musgrave campaign aide also hung up on a producer for MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.”
“I have no comment,” said Joseph Brettell, Musgrave’s congressional spokesman. “It is a campaign issue. The campaign is closed. We’re not answering any campaign inquiries at this time.”
Squirrel Man is back
In September 2007, ITK first introduced the Capitol Hill community to a registered lobbyist who claimed that a squirrel said hello to him (at the time, he brushed the squirrel off and didn’t reply).
Squirrel Man, who prefers to remain anonymous, was spotted Sunday afternoon by tourists who were meandering around the Hill, checking on the progress of the stands for President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The tourists came across Squirrel Man puffing away on a stogie alongside a squirrel who, in a photograph captured by the tourists, is sitting extremely close to the lobbyist, and who, adorably, has in its hands what appear to be nuts.
Nuts? Did anyone say nuts?
Squirrel Man, who conceded last year that a squirrel talking to him sounded absurd, posed for photographs for The Hill last year on a bench outside the Cannon House Office Building. The bench was the scene where the “conversation” transpired.
Squirrel Man maintains that a squirrel spoke to him, but says it hasn’t happened since. “I do feed the squirrels on a regular basis,” he said Tuesday morning. But, he added, “I like all animals. I like plants, too. I’m one of the gardeners at St. Peter’s Church.”