Buried Treasure

Posted July 9, 2007 at 6:16pm

The Washington Post had Watergate. Now, glossy fashion mag Marie Claire, usually known more for breathless lip-gloss recommendations and advice on dressing to flatter one’s figure, is breaking its own big political story. [IMGCAP(1)]

Tucked in the back of the June edition is an interview with Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who reveals a news nugget, saying for the first time publicly that he broke GOP ranks to raise ethics concerns against then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). It has been previously reported that DeLay gave a tongue-lashing to the Colorado Republican during the 2004 election cycle after Tancredo supported primary opponents against two of his GOP colleagues, then-Rep. Jim Kolbe (Ariz.) and Rep. Chris Cannon (Utah), because of their decidedly more moderate views on immigration.

“Ooh, doggies!” Tancredo told the New Republic in March 2005, “[Tom] DeLay called me in and said, ‘You’re finished, kaput. You cannot think of making a career in this place!’”

But that wasn’t the end of the story, as Marie Claire exclusively reports.

“What did you do?” queried the magazine. “When I got out of his office, I wrote down everything he said and turned my notes over to the Ethics Committee,” Tancredo replied. Stop the press! Did Tancredo just admit that he was the only Republican to file an ethics charge against DeLay?

Not so fast, said Carlos Espinosa, a spokesman for Tancredo. “He took notes and he did turn them over to ethics,” Espinosa explained Monday. “He didn’t do anything or follow up, it was just a precaution.” Tancredo stopped short of filing a formal complaint, and while the ethics committee could have taken up an investigation on its own, there’s no indication it ever did. “Nothing came of it,” Espinosa explained. But in early 2005, the ethics committee had problems of its own when a series of Republican-backed changes to panel rules shut down the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and prompted a months-long feud between then-Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and then-ranking member Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who couldn’t agree on much of anything, let alone what to investigate.

HOH now thinks it was no coincidence that Tancredo was the second Republican after Rep. Christopher Shays (Conn.) to call for DeLay to step down from his leadership post in 2005 as a number of scandals dogged the former leader. These days DeLay is fighting an indictment by a Texas grand jury and Tancredo is on the campaign trail for the White House.

Clearly not afraid of the tough questions, Marie Claire also asked Tancredo, “Do you have a shot at the Republican nomination?” Replied Tancredo, “Stranger things have happened in politics — though I can’t think of any right now.”

And with Marie Claire taking on political stories, HOH wonders if Roll Call will have to pen a fall fashion guide.

Frenemies. Like tabloid princesses Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and peace activist Cindy Sheehan have, shall we say, a past.

They’re now on the outs, since Sheehan declared she would run against Pelosi if the Speaker doesn’t try in the next two weeks to impeach President Bush. But they were once on much friendlier terms — much like on-again, off-again pals Linds and Paris.

A photo on Pelosi’s Web site that’s sure to surface if the two face off in an election shows the two women in a chummy pose. Located in the photo gallery section of Pelosi’s site, where the Speaker also displays cheery snapshots of visiting constituents and pals, the photo features the two women seated side by side on a sofa, holding hands.

With friends like that …

Survey Says … It’s Snow. A truly gifted White House press secretary is able to say two things at once. And while current First Flack Tony Snow is a pretty good hand at doing just that, on Monday he seemed a little off-message to some viewers.

One House Democratic aide tuning in to the regular White House press briefing Monday afternoon had a disorienting experience: The picture appearing on the screen was that of Snow behind the briefing room podium, as usual, courtesy of C-SPAN. But the audio playing with it was from the kitschy game show “Family Feud.” That led to plenty of chuckles around the office and prompted the aide to quip that perhaps the odd juxtaposition wasn’t a coincidence. “Given all the internal strife the GOP has been experiencing, ‘Family Feud’ seemed appropriate,” the Dem aide laughed.

Turns out, the sound snafu was apparently related to routine maintenance being performed on the internal cable system that services House offices. The aide was watching channel 17, even though C-SPAN usually airs on channel 21, where the press briefing was airing with no problems. Last week, offices got a memo explaining that there might be glitches in the cable system over the next week.

The Palm’s New Leaf. Overworked staffers won’t be the only ones returning from August vacations looking a bit refreshed. The venerable Palm restaurant, where glad-handing and deal-making are fueled by big martinis and bigger steaks, is in for an August face-lift.

The power spot will close Aug. 1 and reopen in mid-September with additional seating, more room at the bar and room for private events.

Longtime owner and impresario Tommy Jacomo, however, will still be around, HOH hears.

Pretty Pols. When Hollywood plays politics, it usually involves hunky actors who any inside-the-Beltway gal could tell you in no way resemble the real thing. But we just might find the guys of the newest political flick, “Swing Vote,” believable: The soon-to-film movie stars formidable (but not overly adorable) Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci as politicos and Kevin Costner as an “apathetic working-class single dad who’s thrust on to the world stage when the presidential election comes down to his vote,” according to showbiz bible Variety.

Variety says Hopper will play the Democratic candidate and Grammer the Republican incumbent; Lane and Tucci will play their respective campaign managers.

Since the movie’s clearly already farfetched, why not, HOH wants to know, go for a little eye candy?

Susan Davis contributed to this report.

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