When Cultures Collide

Posted April 28, 2008 at 6:32pm

So while everyone at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night was clearly starstruck by the likes of reality TV stars Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt and Lauren Conrad, some of Washington’s own celebs weren’t nearly as good at recognizing the imported famous folk.

[IMGCAP(1)]Take Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who attended the dinner with her husband, John Bessler (who HOH spotted nabbing what had to be the very best free parking spot in all of Washington, just steps down the street from the Washington Hilton). The Senator confessed that she isn’t up on her pop culture enough to pick out some of the evening’s stars.

When Klobuchar arrived at the hotel’s red-carpet setup, she thought the screaming fans were there to greet politicians. “I thought, ‘Wow, those are some serious political junkies,’” she says. But she quickly realized that the gaggle of preteen girls wasn’t C-SPAN- obsessed but rather was there to catch a glimpse of the Jonas Brothers, the totally crush-worthy (among the tween-girl set, that is) band.

“I don’t even know who they are,” Klobuchar marveled of the mop-headed rockers.

HOH also caught up with former Sen. George Allen, who told us he had never seen or heard of comedian Craig Ferguson — the evening’s comedy headliner — before Saturday night. Now, though, the Virginia Republican says he’s a huge fan. So much so that he might consider staying up late enough to watch his show — or figure out how to use TiVo. “I don’t watch enough television to use a TiVo, but he was so great, I’ll have to figure out how to watch him,” Ferguson’s new fan enthused. “When he made fun of Fox, I thought, ‘Wait a minute,’ but then he made fun of The New York Times, so I figured he was balanced.”

To be fair, the inability of inside-the- Beltwayers to recognize the Hollywood stars, HOH figures, is mutual — we’d be surprised if any of the Jonas boys could identify the junior Senator from Minnesota, either.

Sex and the Former Intern. Washington’s not known for its fashionistas, but one former Capitol Hill intern made it onto the runway in the upcoming, much-awaited “Sex and the City” movie. Shannon Rusbuldt, who interned for Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and then-Rep. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) in the late 1990s and early 2001, was cast as a catwalk-prancing model in the movie, which premieres May 30.

“It wasn’t a stretch,” Rusbuldt, who now works as a model, told HOH. Though her political career was cut short and she now lives in New York, Rusbuldt hasn’t forgotten her roots, and she’s done volunteer campaign work for President Bush and for Rudy Giuliani’s failed presidential bid. Her father, Robert, heads the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

“The girls were really excited to see us,” Rusbuldt said of meeting the four stars of the movie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall. “They asked us, ‘Can we have our picture taken with you?’”

She says she was happy to oblige. Rusbuldt didn’t have any lines in the film, and so far she’s staying mum about what label made the cropped pants and jacket ensemble that she wore in the movie, except to say it was a very well-known female designer.

So she can keep a secret? Sounds like she learned something in Washington.

Leader of the Herd. Congrats to John Eustis of the Library of Congress, the winner of the inaugural edition of Heard Mentality, the occasional HOH reader contest. Eustis took us up on our challenge to write a Congressionally themed blues song, and we particularly liked his deft blend of appropriations lingo and Shakespearean allusion. Sample lyrics: “302(b) or not 2(b)? Yes, that is the question. If we can’t figure it out, let’s have a new election.”

Eustis wins a spiffy HOH T-shirt.

Strange Hill-fellows. Because HOH just loves some good juxtaposition, we’re excited about the lineup of celebrities appearing in Washington today. There’s Elmo, the lovable Sesame Street character, Jared Fogle, the somewhat-less-loveable Subway pitchman, and Ricky Martin, the hip-shaking liver of La Vida Loca. See if you can match the celeb with his pet cause: the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Lobby Day, multi-lingual support for the young children of military families living abroad, and the Inter-American Development Bank’s new anti- trafficking hotline. (Answers: Elmo’s with the military kids, Jared’s heart-healthy and Martin hates trafficking, natch).

HOH’s undying gratitude to any tipster who manages to spy this threesome together. (Lunching at The Palm, maybe?)

Yudain’s Serenade. Family and friends feted Roll Call founder Sid Yudain for an early 85th birthday celebration Saturday at Yudain’s Virginia home. The revelry took a decidedly musical turn when the 30-some partygoers, including comedian and satirist Mark Russell, got a surprise visit from a mariachi band halfway through dinner, Yudain tells HOH. Not to be upstaged at his own birthday celebration, Yudain joined in the musical fun, playing his saxophone along with the band. His son Ray, in town from Pittsburgh for the occasion, also got into the act by singing Johnny Cash songs.

The party was held in advance of Yudain’s birthday because his daughter Rachel, who lives in New York, is close to having a baby and wouldn’t be able to travel for his actual May 6 birthday. “We’re having a competition on who has the largest stomach,” Yudain joked.

Torey Van Oot contributed to this report.

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