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Archives: May 2011

Good Afternoon FishbowlDC Readers


We’re back with an unusual second edition of quotes. Bear with us while we catch up from the weekend.

Excuses. Excuses.

“It’s hard for me to get interested in things where other dude’s genitalia are involved.” — The Daily Caller‘s TV writer Jeff Poor in a weekend message to me as to why he hadn’t written about Weinergate. Despite’s Poor’s frankly (get it?) poor attitude regarding Weinergate, The Daily Caller has covered the story.

NPR host gets stuck near restroom. Repeatedly.

“Why does United always put me and my wife, with scads of miles, in last row? Think they’ll replace LAVATORY sign w/ SIMONS.” — NPR’s Scott Simon in a weekend tweet.

Howie says he hasn’t drank the Oprah Kool-Aid

“I’m the only one here who’s not on drugs.” — CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Host Howard Kurtz on his Sunday program after two of his guests began gushing about Oprah and admitting their habit. One guest, Baltimore Sun‘s TV and Pop Culture Critic David Zurawik, admitted to drinking the Oprah Kool-Aid during and after he interviewed her. Another acknowledged mainlining Oprah with an IV drip.

Politico journo gets pensive about life

“I’m at the stage in my life when friends are getting dogs. Next they get wives and husbands, then children, right? #alldownhill?” — Politico‘s Byron Tau in a weekend tweet.

Tapper sticks to Memorial Day, eliciting praise from Weiner

“And on a personal note, our family lost my great uncle David Edwin Palmatier in WWII.” — ABC News White House Correspondent Jake Tapper in a Monday tweet. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), even amidst a stressful Weinergate, tweeted a compliment at him, saying, “Excellent Memorial Day feed going on over at @jaketapper.”

Inskeep offers drug warning

“Lahore airpt anncment: sweet woman’s voice w/ sax music: ‘Drug trafficking is a serious offense that carries the death penalty’” — NPR “Morning Edition” Host Steve Inskeep in a weekend tweet.

Unnecessary Tweet of the Day

“I am in desperate need of a jackfruit bubble drink. Craving solved.” — Metro Weekly Co-Publisher Sean Bugg in a weekend tweet. Astonishingly, Bugg wins this award twice in one day. He apparently found his bubble drink at the Vietnamese eatery Banh Mi DC Sandwich.


Can’t Oprah Deal With This?

We would have thought Oprah of all people, who supposedly wants everyone to “live their best lives” could have easily handled this snafu. Oprah BFF and radio host Gayle King got into train trouble on her way to Washington over the weekend.

We’ve been seeing a lot of King lately – most recently she attended the White House Correspondents’ dinner where she was spotted yukking it up with HuffPost/AOl Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington. She’s also a vocal fan of NBC’s Chuck Todd, who has gone on her radio show.

In a weekend tweet, King wrote of her Choo Choo troubles: “On Acela to DC train now stopped on tracks yikes! Conductor says prob could mean long delay not good men in uniform walking outside train.”


Top 10 Potentially Awkward Questions for Rep. Weiner

Reporters covering Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) in the coming weeks could relish the opportunity of asking the congressman any of the following questions. Bonus points if asked while keeping a straight face.

10. Will you rise to the occasion and take questions about Weinergate?

9. Do you think the right-wing media is just trying to inflate your situation?

8. Do you think whoever posted that picture from your account is, pardon the pun, a weenie?

7. How do you think Weinergate will affect the Stimulus package?

6. Do you think reporters are picking on you in part because of your pecker?

5. Does your weiner have a first name like O-s-c-a-r?

4. Congressman, what do you think it will take to deflate this presumably overblown situation?

3. Do you even like hot dogs?

2. Do you fear that people will think you’re soft on cyber crime if you don’t go after the d–khead who pranked you? After all, you were one of seven original sponsors of Rep. Yvette Clarke‘s (D-N.Y.) International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act that dropped in March of 2010.

1. Congressman, what are the cold, hard facts here?

WaPo is Fashionably Late on Royal Flub

WaPo sauntered in three days late with news of President Obama botching a royal toast at Buckingham Palace. The incident happened on May 24. So when does the newspaper’s gossip column, The Reliable Source, cover it? On May 27th at 1 a.m. Sure, they gave it a snappy headline, “Burnt toast: How Obama bungled his salute to the Queen.”

If there was something larger to contemplate – fantastic. But three days after the fact is what it is: Late.

Read the item here.

Bo Gets Splash of Attention, but was it Overboard?

Bo Obama was showered with unexpected attention this weekend as one Washington journalist zoned in on him. Not that reporters don’t usually make minor mentions of the First Pooch in Pool Reports any chance they get, but this felt special.

It was CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry who set his sights on Bo Monday. It’s unknown why the Portuguese Water Dog captured his attention so persistently. But CBS Radio White House Reporter Mark Knoller, however jokingly, jumped to the dog’s defense, asking, “Come on, Ed. Doesn’t Bo deserve some privacy?” Henry replied, “Bo is fair game. #doestwittervershavesenseofhumor.”

Here’s what we learned about Bo on Memorial Day, complete with photographs such as the one at left:

1. Bo seeks air conditioning. (Henry: “So humid in DC, Bo found AC in Secret Service hut.”)

2. Bo’s maturing. (Henry: “Bo has grown up.”)

3. Bo, too, commemorates Memorial Day. (Henry: “Happy Memorial Day from Bo the dog.”)


Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers


Meet Gennette Nicole Cordova: The now infamous 21-year-old college student from Seattle who received the tight underwear shot from Rep. Anthony Weiner‘s (D-N.Y.) twitter account. In a statement to the New York Daily News, she wrote, among many things, that her life has been turned upside down by this incident. She reported that she has been called the “Femme Fatale of Weinergate.” She added, “My reputation has been called into question by those who lack the character to report the facts.” Read the full letter here. The newspaper even gives her a byline. One of our favorite tweets from Gennette: “What the..!?! #weinergate wankers continue the ‘Where’s the ‘MSM?’ nonsense despite every NY outlet plus AP/CBS/WaPo/Fox etc. covering it.”

Fake Jim V. has advice for Politico reporter

“Ok srsly CHILL with the goddamn Reagan tweets.” — Fake Jim VandeHei in a weekend tweet. He was ridiculing Politico‘s James Hohmann for yet another tweet about the late President Reagan: “Drove pace car at ’76 Indy 500, during his primary challenge to Ford.”

Looking for Ezzy

“Gonna drive through Nags Head flipping the bird out the window the whole way, cuz I don’t know exactly which house @ezraklein is in. Woohoo!” — Daily Kos and Congress Matters Contributor David Waldman in a weekend tweet. Earlier, WaPo‘s Ezra Klein, who can’t wait to get back to FishbowlDC after the long weekend, announced that he was going to North Carolina’s Outer Banks for the weekend and wanted to know if anyone knew of a good BBQ place along the way. The ever finicky Ezzy, who eats peas and thickly cut bacon for breakfast, specified that he wanted North Carolina-style BBQ.

When you least expect it, this can happen…

“Just saw a deer wandering on the sidewalk among the row houses at 13th and Longellow NW. #imnotintexasanymore” — WaPo‘s Karen Tumulty in a weekend tweet.

‘I’m a Yuppie Goddammit!’

“Hilarious % of conversations w/ male friends at college reunion about diet and personal trainers. #trasitioningfromhipsterstoyuppies” — The Nation’s Washington Bureau Chief Chris Hayes in a weekend tweet presuming that he was once a “hipster” who has now transformed to “yuppie.” We typically write about Hayes’s penchant for writing and for reminding everyone that he’s a writer with our “I’m a Writer Goddammit!” series.

Editor has words with his painter

“I just successfully haggled w my house painter! Such a strain on my Midwestern niceness (But I’m sure painter is tweeting what a dupe I am.).” — WaPo‘s Book World Editor Ron Charles in a weekend tweet.

The Critic

“You’ll cover this old story but not #Weinergate?” — Derek Hunter, a conservative writer/radio host who helped found The Daily Caller, in a weekend tweet. This was in reaction to The Daily Beast‘s HowardKurtz who wrote: “Tiffanygate: Why Newt isn’t the only guy buying his wife lots of bling.” Hunter also grew annoyed with Kurtz after he wrote,”To twerps demanding I cover Weiner scandal: Appears fake. Sometimes it pays to wait for facts.” To which Hunter asked, “Isn’t it your job to find out?”

Orth encounters a new cocktail

“Love my SF Bay area where THE drink this weekend is a Bin Laden–two shots and a splash.” — VF‘s Maureen Orth in a weekend tweet.

Better than party favors

“At a party where everyone has worse problems than me.” –  Reason Magazine’s Mike Riggs in a weekend tweet.

Writer wants no part of the Weiner

“I think I’m giving up twitter until the Anthony Weiner issue has sorted itself out.” — National Review Online‘s Kathryn Lopez in a weekend tweet.

A seriously bold purchase

“Just bought a new *red* speedo….it’s been 20+ years since I had a red one.:)” — GOProud Co-founder Jimmy LaSalvia in a weekend tweet.

Journo hot on tail of roaring motorcycles

“Spotted: Rolling Thunder on 495 S. Or just A LOT of dudes on motorcycles. Following them to the Pentagon.” — HuffPost‘s Sara Kenigsberg in a weekend tweet.

The Observer

“Just saw enough people making the walk of shame that I now dub it the 15th Street Shame Parade.” — Roll Call HOH writer Neda Semnani in a weekend tweet.

Unnecessary Tweet of the Day

“Main goal of the day: First stab at homemade mapo tofu.” — Metro Weekly Co-Publisher Sean Bugg holds his title with this weekend tweet about a popular tofu dish from the Szechuan province.



Gone Fishing

FishbowlDC is blissfully taking off for the long weekend. Matt is allegedly going trout fishing.

Enjoy the Memorial Day recess. Feel free to send us items. We’ll see you back here on Tuesday.

– FishbowlDC Management.

A French Reporter Enjoys the View

Agence France-Presse’s White House Correspondent Olivier Knox, on travel with President Obama, enjoys a view he knows so well.

He writes, “Partly cloudy, cool, but would not trade it for the world…”

Civility is Nice. But Could it Put You to Sleep?

Politeness ensues around the roundtable.

Even the dinner table oozed civil discourse.

A question to ask ourselves: Can civil, polite conversation still be entertaining?

If you’re cable news, the land of shouting loudmouths, not likely. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Wednesday evening was meant to be civil. What began as cocktails on the lawn in the backyard led to dinner and darkness falling over Georgetown’s historical Halcyon House. Sponsored by Liberty Mutual and organized by’s George Uribe and Peter Zorich, both longtime TV producers, the event mixed politicians and journalists in an unusual format of hypothetical situations. Sitting around a gorgeous round wooden table, participants were put in roles and asked to debate faux scenarios — without cussing one another out.

Easier said than done, right?

The Players: Reps. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVa.), NJ‘s Congressional Reporter Major Garrett, Catherine “Kiki” Mclean, former Senior Adviser to Hillary Clinton‘s Presidential Campaign and founder of the Congressional Civility Caucus, and former mayor Adrian Fenty. The moderator: Former NBC News anchor John Seigenthaler.

But first, a dinner flowing with red wine, followed by jumbo lump Maryland crabcake, Springfield Farm lamb loin, warm pineapple upsidedown cake with coconut sorbet and coffee. A long country wooden table was set as though the guests were royalty. It was that beautiful and would have been offensive to even consider saying something unbecoming. Every object was brought in expressly for the event and even Martha Stewart might have been impressed. Perfection was long sheer white curtains from towering ceilings, colorful hanging lights,  fancy goblets, unusual silverware and oak place settings that looked to be freshly sliced off trees and flown in from the forest just for the occasion.

The scene was set for an event that allowed for something so rare in Washington: candor. And something else: Although the situations were invented, each participant eventually shared personal details as the evening wore on. Who would have thought it possible for an event based on phony hypotheticals to allow D.C. types who have to watch every word they say to open up?

The first topic: The great divide between the political parties.

Kingston talked social media — “You can insulate yourself in your chat room and your Facebook.” And Fenty attacked the media. “It’s the 24-hour news cycle,” he said. To which everyone laughed. “It’s the media’s fault,” Seigenthaler said, partially mocking him. Fenty glanced at his watch and replied, “Look at how long it took me to say that!” McClean added this: “The great moments in our country came with bipartisanship. I would also say there are minority extreme voices at both ends.”

Hypothetical #1. A potential campaign in which one candidate gets news of drunken photographs of his opponent. The campaign is three weeks out. The pictures will get out with few or no fingerprints. You’re the campaign strategist. What does he do? Garrett: “As a campaign strategist, certainly.” Fenty: “Winning elections drive so much of the incivility. If you’re goal is to win you’re going to do what it takes.” McLean: “The issue is, is there relevance?” Kingston says release the pictures and proudly so. “My thinking is you shouldn’t let someone do your bidding. I’d say, ‘We released the pictures and you’re damn right’” we did. Capito: “You have to be able to live with yourself.” Fenty: “The question to me is, how does it affect the general public? They’re turned off by it.”

On occasion, participants slipped back into their real-life roles. “Our job is not about having amnesia about what you say,” said Garrett, eyeing the politicians around the table. He continued, “No one cares why I got out of cable news, but I was a reporter surrounded by people who were loud and angry.” Now, he says, he has more conversations filled with depth. McLean joked, “I’ll get an escort on the way out to my car.”

During the course of the debates, personal details arose. Capito shared that scandal involving her father came into her campaign and she had to decide whether it was appropriate for her to run. Fenty said during both of his mayoral campaigns, rumors swirled about him beating his wife. Despite his knock on the media earlier, he said, “The media never ran it. I think there’s integrity and rules that they follow.”

The bottom line? Washington may need more of these roundtables, as evidenced by the rapt guests who fixated on what participants had to say and laughed along with them. But don’t tell that to Robert Gleason Jr., Chairman of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania, who was conked out on a sofa for most of the event. Someone might want to tell him when an event like this is being filmed, pssst…you might not want to nod off.

Adrian Fenty and John Seigenthaler.

Extravagant table decor.

See more photographs and post roundtable reaction…

Read more

Washington Toasts Chris Licht

Licht, Brzezinski, Mike Allen, Mark Leibovich, Louis Burgdorf

If the idea of Mark Leibovich‘s impending book release strikes fear in your heart, we’ve got some bad news for you.  You’re sleepless nights won’t end anytime soon.  “I’ve finished about five pages,” the star scribe told FishbowlDC last night at a book party for “Morning Joe” EP- turned-CBS News VP, Chris Licht.

Hosted by Tammy Haddad, Constance Milstein, Jon Meacham and Kevin Sheekey, the event packed the parlor of the Jefferson Hotel with a guest list that included MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, CBS’s Chris Isham, HuffPo’s Howard Fineman, Bob Woodruff, Hilary Rosen, Politico’s Jim VandeHei, Patrick Gavin and Mike Allen, WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart, Sally Quinn, MSNBC’s Louis Burgdorf, Kelley McCormick, MTP’s Betsy Fischer, Janet Donovan, Wash Life’s Kevin Chaffee and John Arundel, Examiner’s Nikki Schwab and Anne Schroeder Mullins.

FishbowlDC also caught up with a delightful David Shuster who shared a few secrets about his investigative website project after we swore to keep the info offline for now.  But the most interesting insight of the night was gleaned from what wasn’t said:  When asked if “Morning Joe” might follow him to CBS, Licht swerved and ultimately dodged the question, leaving guests to wonder if the show’s rumored move is more than simple speculation.

For info on Licht’s book, “What I Learned When I Almost Died,” click here and check out video from his bash here.

L: Anne Mullins, Patrick Gavin, Brzezinski, Scarborough R: Licht & David Shuster

Republican Strategist Alex Castellanos asks a question during Q&A.

*All images by Bruce Vartan Boyajian/Haddad Media.