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Newt in the Sky With Diamonds?

Life after coup can be quite luxurious, if former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s (R-Ga.) lifestyle is any indication.

Gingrich was one of about 20 to 30 top Tiffany customers in the area invited to a recent private sale on board the Sequoia Presidential Yacht. Tiffany & Co. [IMGCAP(1)]

brought millions of dollars worth of jewelry on board, sources say, along with stunning models to show off the pieces.

Gingrich, according to partygoers, was so bedazzled by one piece of diamond jewelry that he bought it — for $300,000.

The former Speaker, who has built a fortune around the four-letter word Newt, declined to confirm the diamond purchase or specify what type of jewelry it was. (Tiffany does not sell loose diamonds; only jewelry.)

According to his official Web site, Newt.org, Gingrich owns The Gingrich Group, Gingrich Communications, Inc., and Gingrich Holdings, Inc., among other business interests.

HOH called his spokesman, Rick Tyler, who works for Gingrich Communications, one of many Gingrich offices. Tyler asked Gingrich and called HOH back to offer a “No comment.” Tyler later explained that he had “security” concerns about revealing the cost of the piece.

Michael Kowalski, the CEO of Tiffany and Co., also attended the party. But neither he nor company spokeswoman Linda Buckley would comment on the event or confirm the sale of the diamond to Gingrich. “It’s company policy that we don’t comment on customers or their purchases,” Buckley said.

Tiffany purchased the evening event on the Sequoia at a February auction held by the Washington National Opera.

HOH was unclear about all the secrecy. But we assume that Gingrich’s wife, Calista, the former Congressional aide Gingrich wed in August 2000, is delighted.

Old Blue Eyes Is Back. Ever noticed the blue eyes on House Majority Tom DeLay (R-Texas)? Probably not, because you couldn’t really see them too well, until very recently.

Several people on the Hill have noticed a difference in the Texas Republican’s peepers. Not the color, but something’s different.

And when HOH watched him during his marathon speech on the House floor Thursday, speaking feverishly against same-sex marriage, we noticed, too: Tom DeLay has joined the nip-and-tuck club.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

All the better to see you with, is DeLay’s attitude.

“I had my eyes checked by my opthalmologist,” he explained to HOH. His upper lids had become so heavy, as they are prone to do with age, that they were “blocking my vision.”

Like a kid with new glasses, DeLay looked around the second floor of the House, just outside the chamber, holding his arms out, smiling and pointing at things. “Wow,” he said. “I can go back into pest control now!”

To show how well the surgery worked, he looked up. No more upper lid visor. “I can even see my eyebrows!” he said.

While he was busy inside the chamber saying it was better for Mary and Peter or Jane and Paul to marry than Mary and Jane or Peter and Paul, one of the plain clothes police officers detailed to DeLay said he, too, thought DeLay’s eyes looked “great.”

His spokesman Jonathan Grella didn’t have much to say about his boss’s plastic surgery other than, “As the old song says, ‘If you say my eyes are beautiful, it’s because they’re looking at you.’”

Rush vs. the Reverend. Before he was hired last week to be an adviser to the Kerry campaign, the Rev. Jesse Jackson had warned that the Kerry camp’s “shakeup cannot just be a vanilla shake.” For those of you who missed it, Rush Limbaugh had a heyday with those comments in a Sept. 9 broadcast.

Here’s what the conservative talk radio head said:

“There’s a code word, ladies and gentlemen. That means that there aren’t any of ‘my people’ in the campaign. You can shake up the staff, you can get rid of the dead weight … you can get rid of the Clinton people, but where’s [Rep.] Maxine Waters [D-Calif.]? Where’s [Del.] Eleanor Holmes Norton [D-D.C.], and where’s [Illinois state Sen.] Barack Obama [D], and where are the black Democrats? That’s what this ‘vanilla shake’ comment means. We need some chocolate chips in this shake, and there isn’t any chocolate chips in the Kerry shake.”

HOH found Waters. The California Democrat laughed when she heard the Limbaugh transcript. “Obviously he’s making mischief,” she said.

But if she were to talk to her good buddy Rush, Waters would put on her best poker face and say, “OK, Rush Limbaugh. I know you’re looking out for my best interests. So we’re going to just take the words as you have given them and throw them right out the window!”

Ah shucks, Congresswoman. Rush wasn’t trying to stir up trouble. With the aid of strategic public relations folks who are helping to put the best light on the federal investigation into Limbaugh’s drug use. Limbaugh clarified his Sept. 9 on-air remarks. “I theorized that Rev. Jackson wanted to see some chocolate chips in the vanilla shake. Shortly after, Rev. Jackson was hired by the Kerry campaign,” Limbaugh said.

Goodbye, Breaux. Past staff members for Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) had a reunion recently to celebrate the retiring Senator’s 32 years in Congress.

Here are the the first two verses to “Why Must You Go,” the song they sang for him, to the tune of “YMCA.”

“John Breaux, you da man to go to
To break deadlock
And to get a bill through
Taxes, health care,
Fish and old people too
You da man, you’re ‘Mr. Go To’

John Breaux, in your Mardi Gras tights
You’ve got great style
In your days and your nights
Raising money, for the big Senate fights
You da man, your ‘Mr. Go To’”

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.

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