Hollywood on the Potomac: Shirts Off to Chris Lee

by kevin_chaffee

A “fun, fit and classy” guy, or so he says.
By Janet Donovan

David Hawkings of CQ-Roll Call and David Rapp of Bloomberg at the Washington Press Club Foundation Dinner. Photo by Janet Donovan.

Tweet decks were buzzing at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 67th Annual Congressional Dinner over what was being called the “speed scandal.”

By the time it took to get from Capitol Hill to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York Rep. Christopher Lee (R-N.Y.) had abruptly resigned from Congress after Gawker.com revealed he’d sent a shirtless photo to a woman in response to a Craigslist ad. What was so amazing about his abrupt departure is that we can’t think of anyone else in Congress who would leave Congress over a shirtless photo.

Envisioning potential site click-throughs, staffers from The Hill newspaper expressed remorse that Lee had not been included in their 2010 “50 Most Beautiful People on the Hill” issue.

While guests surfed and turfed, freshmen members dabbled in SNL routines:

Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.): “During my campaign I did a bus tour up and down my state; it took about 20 minutes and cost $400 in tolls.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) on getting tips from senior members: “Rand Paul told me to buy gold and John Ensign said I should get to know my staff really, really well.”

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) was President Obama’s escort at the State of the Union and said she had four messages from Elliot Spitzer when she got back to the office.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) on comparing himself to Sarah Palin. “She puts lipstick on a pig. I put tanning lotion on John Boehner’s back.”

MOVIES: Uncommon Vision: The Life and Times of John Howard Griffin

Journalist John Howard Griffin’s groundbreaking Black Like Me, which chronicles his experience traveling through the racially segregated South in 1959 disguised as a black man (with the help of a dermatologist who darkened his skin) has sold 12 million copies since it was published in 1961. Filmmaker Morgan Atkinson turned the book into a documentary, which recently screened in Washington.

Rep. John Lewis with filmmaker Morgan Atkinson. Photo by Janet Donovan.

“Griffin started out doing this journey with some degree of detachment as a journalist, but within hours he became immersed in the inhumane way he was being treated as a black man,” Morgan noted.

Rep. John Lewis, a 12-term member of Congress and noted civil rights leader, said that because of people like Griffin, “we live in a different America. Martin Luther King would be proud of the distance we have gone, but we still have miles to go.”

Heard: Quotable Quotes from Around Town

Yeas & Nays columnist Nikki Schwab on being born in The Year of the Rat:

“Do I feel bad about being a rat? No, that was my high school nickname.”

Bloomberg economics reporter Rebecca Christie on playing in an Irish band:

“That’s what you do when you don’t want to talk about the debt ceiling any longer. It’s the perfect place for a treasury reporter.”

Atlantic Media’s John Fox Sullivan on The State of The Union bipartisan date night. “They’ll be divorced by 9:12 or at least by 10:15 p.m.”

Tucker Carlson on his Daily Caller party for new members and their aides:

“I’m going to let human nature take its course. We have a room of young, attractive intoxicated Washingtonians, so who knows what’s going to happen?”

Q & A Quickie: Ron Reagan: My Father at 100

Whether or not President Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer’s while in office is a family feud.

“I suppose I should send Michael a thank you note for helping me sell books,” said Ron. His brother has spoken out against Ron’s recollections.

“I do not claim that I diagnosed my father with Alzheimer’s while in office,” said Ron. “I occasionally saw things that I had questions about that would raise worries for me.”

His mother Nancy loved the book. “That’s what she told me. Read it, loved it, made her cry and was very proud of me.”

On his sister Patti Davis:  “Well, I don’t know. What about my sister?”

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