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More On Masseur Sherwood

The woman who claims that Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) assaulted her in the Congressman’s apartment now tells The Associated Press the two were in love.

“I loved him,” Cynthia Ore, 29, told the AP. “He always told me he loved me and I believed him.” She said after meeting the Congressman at a Young Republicans meeting in 1999, they had a relationship that lasted for years.[IMGCAP(1)]

She told the AP it was “painful” to recall what happened on the afternoon of Sept. 15.

According to a Washington Metropolitan Police Department report, first obtained by the Times Leader newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Ore called police from her cellphone in Sherwood’s bathroom saying the Congressman “choked her for no apparent reason.”

Sherwood, 64 and married, denied choking Ore. He told police he was giving the young woman a back rub when she suddenly “jumped up” and ran to the bathroom.

No one was arrested, nor was anyone charged in the incident. Police said there was “no physical evidence of injury.” Furthermore, Ore, after first accusing the Congressman of choking her, changed her story and said they were just “sipping tea.” The police report, according to published stories, noted that Ore “did not seem to be of sound mind.”

Sherwood told the Times Leader that Ore was “an acquaintance” but he would not elaborate. He said her charges were part of a “political smear” by his 2004 Democratic opponent, who faxed information on the Sept. 15 incident at Sherwood’s apartment to the Times Leader.

Sherwood’s chief of staff and press secretary did not return calls and e-mails from HOH seeking comment.

Kerry’s Crappy Car. Despite his blue-blooded taste for the finer things in life, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) still clings to one dear remnant of his bachelor days.

HOH spotted a faded, dusty, once-silver, two-door convertible with the license plate “MA-3” sitting amid shinier 21st-century counterparts in the Russell Senate garage Tuesday morning. Turns out that it’s the same hunk of metal Kerry has driven for years. And years and years.

Kelley Blue Book value on the 1985 Dodge 600 ES convertible: $680. Sentimental value: priceless. “He loves that car,” spokesman David Wade told HOH.

Then too bad he can’t drive it. “It needs at least a new transmission,” Wade conceded. Kerry apparently hasn’t driven the thing since well before the 2004 presidential election. He now drives a 2003 Chrysler when he’s in Washington.

Wade isn’t sure when or how the Senator will get his beloved “silver bullet,” as the car is known, out of the Russell garage. But there’s little wonder why the eyesore is parked up there instead of in the garage of the Kerrys’ tony Georgetown home.

“It’s the only convertible that looks worse with the top down,” Wade said. But he insisted that Teresa Heinz Kerry would not be embarrassed to have the silver bullet sitting in their driveway. “They both love the car. Seriously.”

Capitol Love Redux. After HOH recently disclosed the matchmaking skills of Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), other Members have come out of the woodwork to brag of their own abilities in forging romance.

Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) is the latest to jump on the love wagon. He recently helped his constituent, Willie Phillips, a former aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), propose to his girlfriend on the Speaker’s balcony overlooking the Mall.

Phillips, who recently graduated from Howard University Law School, was looking for a creative way to pop the question to his girlfriend, Gabrielle Mallory, who works at the State Department. Bonner came up with the bright idea of the Speaker’s balcony. The Congressman escorted the two young lovers out to the balcony about a week ago, pretending to give a tour to Mallory, who used to work for former Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio).

“I didn’t really have a role other than to get them out on the balcony and then divert Gabrielle’s attention just long enough for Willie to get down on one knee so that he could propose,” Bonner told HOH. “As soon as Gabrielle turned around and saw Willie, I knew my cameo appearance was over.”

The couple is moving to Alabama, where Phillips has already been offered a job with a law firm. But Bonner has a prediction about the up-and-coming African-American Republican: “Willie will be returning to the Hill again — one day soon, I predict — and who knows? His office might just have the very balcony on which he got engaged.”

Fantastic Fundraiser. It’s payback time for all those lawmakers and staffers protected by veteran Capitol Police Officer Bill Cleveland. You may recall Cleveland as the officer with that infectious smile and effervescent personality who manned the First Street entrance to the Cannon House Office Building.

Folks going in and out during lunch hours often returned the question to Cleveland, “How ya doing?” His answer was always the same: “Fan-TAS-tic!”

Now that Cleveland, who is retired from the Capitol Police force, is running for sheriff of Alexandria, many staffers and Members are rallying to help him. Several are throwing a fundraiser for him tonight at the American Trucking Association building on First Street.

Cleveland also served on the Alexandria City Council from 1988 to 2003. He served twice as vice mayor, from 1991 to 1994, and then again from 2000 to 2003.

House GOP aide Sean Spicer, who is Cleveland’s finance chairman, said he hopes to raise $10,000 tonight, even at the low asking price of $50 for staffers and $100 for Members. “There are so many staffers who live in Northern Virginia who appreciated the job that Bill did as a police officer who would welcome him as their next sheriff. So it’s a small price to pay,” he said.

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