Tonight’s premiere of Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary chronicling the 2004 Democratic presidential primary race is expected to be well attended by the film’s stars, with one notable exception: Howard Dean won’t be there.
The former Vermont governor said he would not go without first seeing the film, which — as would any political documentary worth its salt — includes the unforgettable primal scream scene that followed Dean’s poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.
[IMGCAP(1)] “Howard Dean is not coming,” Pelosi said in an interview with HOH. “He said he wouldn’t come unless he got an advance copy of the movie.” But HBO
refused, she said, because it’s against the movie channel’s policy to give out advance copies of its films.
Pelosi (all the while laughing under her breath) was impressed that Dean thought to screen the film before showing up clueless at the premiere. “He never used to be that savvy about his image. Maybe he learned something,” she said.
The deputy press secretary of Dean’s Democracy for America said Dean had a previous speaking engagement tonight. He’s also busy touting his new book “The Scream.” No, just kidding. The real title is “You Have the Power.”
At least Dean agreed to appear in the movie. According to Pelosi, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) snubbed her and refused to participate. The first time it happened was in the makeup room during the New York primary debate. Pelosi said one of Kucinich’s aides came over and said, “Congressman Kucinich doesn’t want you filming him.”
“What is this?!” Pelosi recalls thinking. “Is Kucinich playing the diva card?”
No. The vegan Congressman is not a diva, Kucinich’s spokesman, Doug Gordon, assured HOH. He said Kucinich wasn’t aware that Pelosi was making a film. Kucinich wasn’t declining “overall participation” in the movie when he asked not to be filmed on two particular occasions, Gordon said.
“If she wants to do a ‘Journeys with Dennis,’ she’s more than welcome,” he joked, referring to Pelosi’s first documentary, “Journeys with George,” released in 2002.
Democratic flameouts Sens. Bob Graham (Fla.) and Joe Lieberman (Conn.) said they’ll attend this evening’s premiere at the Mayflower Hotel. Rep. Richard Gephardt (Mo.) might have a scheduling conflict, Pelosi said, but not because he might come off looking bad in the documentary. All three politicians surprisingly turned out to be Pelosi’s favorite characters who, she said, come off “totally different than they do on TV.”
When she set out two years ago on her road trip with Democratic presidential hopefuls, Pelosi assumed that Graham, Lieberman and Gephardt would be typically stodgy, stale politicians. But the way she tells it, “Lieberman is the life of the party.”
As for Gephardt, he’s the character whom viewers become emotionally invested in, the one who staked his whole life on winning the presidency. “You feel sorry for him when he loses, which is funny, because you don’t really feel sorry for Dean or Graham,” she said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the mother of the filmmaker who will turn 34 next week, will also be attending.
More Movie Madness. On the other end of the political spectrum, Loews Georgetown Cinema is hosting the premiere of “Celsius 41.11.” The movie, funded by the conservative issues group Citizens United, aims to debunk what the group’s leader calls “outright lies” in Michael Moore’s blockbuster movie “Fahrenheit 9/11.” The other goal of the movie is to set the record straight on Democratic nominee John Kerry.
“John Kerry asked people to look at his 20-year Senate record and that’s what we’re doing,” said David Bossie of Citizens United.
Stars of “Celsius” whom Bossie expected to attend include former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), star of “Law & Order”; Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.); Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.); and columnist Charles Krauthammer.
Dome Love. It was the epitome of a Capitol Hill marriage proposal. A proper New England boy named Dan got down on his knee last Friday and proposed to Annie Reed, a nice Southern girl, on a picture-perfect day at the top of the Capitol Dome, a once-in-a-Congressional-career adventure.
Dan MacLean, 27, press secretary to Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), had been planning the occasion for months, which, of course, required his boss’s help and participation, since going to the top of the Dome requires an escort from a Member of Congress.
MacLean was so excited about his plan that he blew the surprise for Reed long ago. Still, she told HOH, “I was excited as could be nonetheless.” Reed, who is the press secretary to Rep. Anne Northup (R-Ky.), said her man “likes to share everything with me. It’s hard for him to keep big things like this a secret.”
When they got to the top of the Dome, Reed said, the tour guide who was with them started talking about the history of the Dome and Freedom, who adorns the Dome, and yadda yadda yadda, this, that and the other thing about the Dome. “And Dan was like, ‘That’s really nice. We’re really interested in the Dome, but I sort of have this other thing on my mind.’”
So MacLean excused himself and Reed from Herger and the tour guide, and the two lovebirds walked to the other side of the open circle.
“It was nerve-wracking,” MacLean told HOH. Reed, 24, giggled and said, “He sort of fumbled through his speech. But it was all things a girl hopes to hear.”
And it was all very traditional, with MacLean getting down on his knee and giving Reed a ring and asking for her hand in marriage. “My answer was, ‘Yes, of course. Can I please have my ring now?’” Reed said.
Go Ahead, Jump. The Republican challenger to Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) isn’t rushing out to leap from tall buildings or dive off cliffs or even sleep in a snake pit overnight. Nothing, it seems, will outdo Wu’s wacky campaign ad in which he bungee jumps from North America’s highest privately owned bridge, about an hour from Portland.
GOP challenger Goli Ameri says in her rebuttal ad: “With his latest stunt, David Wu has thrown more than himself off a bridge. He tossed the truth off as well. Goli Ameri won’t privatize Social Security. She’ll protect it.”
Bor-ing. But then again, anything would be compared to Wu’s outrageous stunt to demonstrate how dumb he finds the notion of privatizing Social Security.
Wu’s ad has generated a hot political buzz. It might be the zaniest ad ever.
In it, the Congressman drives his car to a bridge — all the while trashing his opponent for allegedly wanting to privatize Social Security — gets out, hooks himself to a bungee cord, which is hooked to the bridge, climbs over the rail of the bridge, looks directly into the camera and says, “Privatizing Social Security is about as risky as, well, jumping off a bridge.”
Wu quickly adds, “I approved this message. And I do my own stunts.” And with that, he leaps, like a pro.
Wu is not an experienced bungee jumper or stunt man. The bungee-jumping craziness wasn’t even his idea. It was the brainchild of Mark Putnam of Murphy Putnam Shorr, which created the ad.
“Bungee jumping just seemed like the perfect metaphor,” Putnam said, unable to control his laughter. Putnam had the good sense to make Wu do a test jump first. “If it didn’t go well, we wouldn’t have an ad,” he said. Or a candidate!
“His wife let him. That’s what we were most worried about,” said Putnam, who, for the record, was not willing to jump with his client.
Get Well. HOH wishes a happy birthday to House Science Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), as well as a speedy and full recovery. Boehlert, who turns 68 today, underwent multiple coronary bypass surgery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Monday.
In a statement, Boehlert’s wife, Marianne, said, “Sherry’s heart is strong, he is resting comfortably, and looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible.” A spokesman said Boehlert is expected back at work sometime next month.
Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to email@example.com.