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CoCo Meets Capitol Hill

OK, all you Capitol Hill aides. Remember: Don’t send any e-mails that you wouldn’t want showing up in the New York gossip pages. Because that’s exactly what happened this week to poor Callie Michael, a GOP staffer on the House Appropriations subcommittee on Defense, who sent a note to her closest gal pals bragging about the juicy inside gossip she had on Jennifer Aniston.

[IMGCAP(1)] Apparently Michael, like all of us, is consumed with the soap opera breakup between Aniston and Brad Pitt — as well as the recent

baptism of Coco, Aniston’s goddaughter, the child of “Friends” co-star Courtney Cox and her husband, David Arquette.

Michael attached photos, presumably from the Internet, of baby Coco’s recent baptism in Birmingham, Ala., and sent this e-mail to about 25 friends: “here are some pics from coco’s baptism in bham. Jen went down with Courtney and david for it … as some of yall know since they were spotted at the highlands. But here is the juicy part … one of my friend’s’ aunt is really good friends of courtneys from high school and there was an episode one night! they had some people over for dinner and after a couple of glasses of wine jen started to lose it! She was saying that she didn’t want to divorce brad but didn’t have a choice because he had slept with jolie (that is what she calls her.) anyways she kept having crying spouts and courtney finally turned to her and said “I thought you promised you weren’t going to do this”!!!!! wow.”

That same e-mail showed up in Page Six of the New York Post on Wednesday, then in most inboxes on the Hill. No, Michael did not attend little Coco’s baptism in Birmingham. She doesn’t know the baby, or Cox, or Aniston, or Pitt. Her aunt’s friend’s gossip was “very third hand,” House Appropriations Committee spokesman John Scofield told HOH.

“She sent it innocently to a couple of friends who then sent it to a million of their friends,” a not-so-thrilled Scofield said. Clearly one of those million people sent the missive to the New York Post, as they did to HOH and every other gossip rag in the world.

“I know she regrets that it has become an Internet phenomenon,” Scofield said.

Guess Who’s Coming to Breakfast? The famous Wednesday morning meeting of Washington conservatives is getting wilder all the time. At this week’s gathering, George Soros, the gazillionaire who footed much of Democrats’ quest to kick President Bush out of office, was the guest of honor.

He waltzed into a boardroom of the Americans for Tax Reform offices, where the Wednesday morning klatch is always held, with an entourage of about five. It was as if the alien mothership had just landed, according to witnesses. Never before has a guest at the Wednesday morning meeting looked so … so out of place.

It was Soros who initiated the visit, according to a spokesman for Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

Before the enemy showed up, Norquist urged his conservative brethren to “remain professional” and watch their Ps and Qs. For the most part everyone did, except for a few heated questioners who thought Soros contradicted himself on the issue of free markets and campaign finance.

One source who regularly attends the meetings said there were some “pretty heavy encounters” over those subjects.

But on to the good stuff. Soros drew huge applause without meaning to when, talking about economics, he told the 100 or so usual suspects: “I’d be more comfortable as a moderate Republican” but since the GOP has been “taken over” by social conservatives, moderates have been “all but eliminated.”

Only a moment before, the breakfast crowd was clapping wildly when Norquist announced that Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) would be announcing his retirement later in the day.

Soros said supporting Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for president last year was “the only alternative.”

On other issues, Soros said the U.S. invasion of Iraq was “a mistake,” agreed that Democrats have been “demoralized,” and joked of his superior wealth and success, “I did rather well.”

Romance Along Pennsylvania Avenue. Get your pens ready, ladies (or your claws). It looks like we could be close to scratching another eligible lawmaker/bachelor off the list.

Freshman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) is dating B.J. Goergen, a former assistant to White House top strategist Karl Rove. Goergen is now a public liaison at the White House.

Folks on Capitol Hill found out about the romance from the “master strategist” himself — Rove, who has been gossiping to Members about his aide and friend’s relationship with the youngest of Congressmen.

McHenry, 29, confirmed to HOH that he has been dating Goergen since the fall, and was taking some ribbing from Rove. “It was interesting, going over [to the White House] in November, having the White house chief of staff and the president’s senior adviser make jokes,” McHenry said.

The Congressman has known Goergen since 2000, when they met during the first George W. Bush campaign. McHenry had already graduated from Belmont Abby College; Goergen was still in college running “Students for Bush” in Texas.

“She’s a very dear friend. Being single in Washington, it’s good to have someone you can spend time with,” McHenry told HOH.

One of their favorite date spots: Meiwah, a popular Chinese restaurant in the West End.

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