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Not-So-Daft Punk

Ann Gavaghan, an aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), has developed a mini fan base of her own after her appearance on “Jeopardy!” last month. Gavaghan sported retro-librarian glasses and gave a shout-out to D.C. punk band Fugazi while on the Alex Trebek-hosted quiz show, earning her plaudits from that certain segment of the population that appreciates a brainy, hipster-looking gal who knows her hardcore from her emo (those would be two genres of punk, Mom). [IMGCAP(1)]

And it probably didn’t hurt that smarty-pants Gavaghan, who handles health care, AIDS and international women’s issues for the Senator, put in an impressive performance, emerging as the champion and bagging $12,399 on Sept. 19.

“Smoking hot punk rock nerd,” was how one admirer described Gavaghan in an online posting. And this amorous post, from a commenter to a post on the Washington City Paper’s blog: “Ann is definitely a hottie with a little leftwing edge. Maybe there is a chance for a little cross border romance with this lefty Canadian.”

HOH hears that the Senator herself called Gavaghan to congratulate her on her win within seconds of the show’s end. And although she came in third in the next evening’s show, Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines tells HOH that the Clinton gang found a silver lining in their colleague’s loss. “When she was reigning champion we thought we might be in jeopardy of losing her, but we’re glad to have her back,” he joked. Even with the bad habits she apparently picked up on the L.A. set: “We just wish she would stop answering everything in the form of a question,” Reines added.

Bad Company. Rep. John Murtha’s gruff demeanor is well-documented, but likening him to a laundromat employee who shot a customer over a missing shirt and a mattress deliveryman who raped a customer might seem like a stretch.

Still, in this case, the Pennsylvania Democrat can’t chalk up such comparisons to political mudslinging. It was Murtha’s own Justice Department lawyers who highlighted the similarities between their client and the murderous laundry guy and the mattress-delivering rapist — all in an effort to get a federal judge to throw out the defamation suit that Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich brought against the Congressman.

The case stems from comments Murtha made in 2006 accusing unnamed Marines involved in the Haditha incident in Iraq of “cold-blooded murder and war crimes.” DOJ’s reasoning behind the comparisons, outlined in a May filing: Juries found both the laundromat employee and the mattress deliveryman were acting in their official capacities, just as they argue Murtha was.

The argument, however, didn’t wash, and on Friday, the judge refused to dismiss the case and ordered Murtha to give sworn testimony.

With lawyers like that on your side, who needs enemies?

Paging Miss Manners. If there’s anything more money-grubbing than political fundraising, it just might be solicitations for wedding and engagement presents by greedy couples hellbent on amassing a fortune in toasters and linen napkins. Now, Louisiana state House candidate Christopher Tidmore has found an ingenious way to combine the two, inviting lucky guests to an event sure to enrich both his campaign coffers and his china cabinet.

Tidmore is holding a cocktail party next Tuesday at a private home in New Orleans to celebrate his engagement to Sally Johns — and, conveniently, to raise money for his statehouse campaign.

HOH feels compelled to channel her idol, Miss Manners, here, who surely would have something witty and derisive to say about such an arrangement. In her “Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior,” she dismisses bridal registries as providing “just enough distance between the giver and the receiver” to make the practice “passable.” We wonder what she’d think of the “recommended donation” of $250 to attend the engagement party. We’re surprised he didn’t also include the name of their china pattern.

Tidmore tells HOH his fiance is cool with the fundraising/engagement twofer, and he denied there’s any opportunistic motive. Instead, it’s all about having a fun theme, he says. “I’ve been to some interestingly themed political parties down here — you can’t just do a rubber chicken dinner,” he says.

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