Al Kamen
Al Kamen
In the Loop

Bad news for Elvii? Suspicious minds want to know.

Among the stranger facts about Paul Kevin Curtis, the guy charged with sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), is that he was an Elvis Presley impersonator.

Leaving aside for the moment the considerable worry the case has caused in official Washington, it’s also creating heartburn amid an unlikely circle: the small community of Elvis impersonators around the globe.

Al Kamen

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. He began his reporting career at the Rocky Mountain News and joined The Post in 1980. He has covered local and federal courts, the Supreme Court and the State Department. Follow him on Twitter.

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(Northeast Mississippi Daily Joural/Reuters) - Paul Kevin Curtis is seen dressed as an Elvis Impersonator in this picture taken in 1999.

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McCain, Flake, Schumer and others go all OUTT on names of bills — as in Overdoing the Unrelated Title Thing.

Jesse Aron, an Elvis impersonator and the president of the Elvis Entertainers Network, a talent agency representing more than 100 impersonators from Japan to Las Vegas, tells the Loop he’s heard from many of the performers he represents. They’re, well, all shook up.

“I’ve heard from some of the guys — they’re calling and e-mailing me,” Aron told the Loop.

They’re wondering, he says, if it will be bad for business, if having someone from their ranks accused of a nasty crime will reflect poorly on them. After all, videos of Curtis’s performances — which show his hip-shaking, lip-curling renditions of Elvis tunes as well as a particularly memorable Prince performance — have prompted plenty of Internet mocking. Wicker himself even recalled hiring Curtis for a party and said he found him “quite entertaining.”

Aron says the Elvis impersonators he knows are good guys. “They do a lot for charity — they do free shows at old folks’ homes, that sort of thing. They put on shows because they’re just big Elvis fans.”

And he says he knew Curtis from Elvis-impersonation competitions in the ’90s. The two were Facebook friends for a while, but Aron eventually un-friended him because of his “negative” posts.

He’s reassuring his fellow Elvii (that’s an acceptable plural, no?) that the negative publicity surrounding Curtis won’t affect them. “People understand that one bad apple won’t spoil the bunch,” he said.

Get physical with Petraeus!

Perhaps David Petraeus has extra time on his hands these days.

After resigning as CIA director amid a scandal over his affair with the woman who wrote his biography, the four-star general is now auctioning off the chance to work out with him.

Billed as a opportunity to win a “dream experience,” the auction will raise money for a charity called The Mission Continues, which offers paid fellowships to returning veterans.

“Test your physical limits during an intense workout with the man that was once in charge of all U.S. armed forces’ foreign operations before discussing military strategy over a well-deserved coffee,” touts the auction Web site. The lucky winner will learn “whether General Petraeus can kick your butt in a 5K.”

Yes, Petraeus is a known fitness buff. But let’s recall, for a moment, that it was a brisk run with a new acquaintance that started his downfall.

Amateur biographer Paula Broadwell reportedly scored her first interview with the general over a jog along the Potomac River; their relationship would later turn romantic and ultimately end his government career.

We assume he’s learned his lesson about workout partners.

The auction is being conducted by the Web site Omaze, which allows users to bid on fantasy experiences — from partying with country superstar Tim McGraw to hanging out on the turf during “Sunday Night Football” with Bob Costas — all benefiting various charities.

Also among the prizes: the chance to play the board game Battleship against Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, at the Naval Academy (proceeds also benefit The Mission Continues), and a game of paintball with Navy SEALs.

The foreign policy shuffle

Still looking for a senior post in the second Obama term? There are many possibilities at the Commerce and State departments, we’ve noted, but get those résumés in quick.

We reported in 2009 that Mark Lippert, who had been Obama’s top foreign policy aide in the Senate and briefly White House deputy national security adviser, was returning to military service.

(Our colleague Bob Woodward reported that Lippert’s departure owed to friction between him and Gen. James Jones, the former national security adviser.) Obama said then that Lippert was “a close friend” who “will always have a senior foreign policy position in this White House when he chooses to return to civilian life.”

Two years later, Obama named Lippert assistant secretary of defense for Asia. On Friday, after only a year in that job, Lippert was tapped by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to be his chief of staff. (Coordination with White House policy should be quite seamless.)

While Lippert’s top deputy, Peter Lavoy, may move up, the promotion opens that job for now. Other senior posts involving East Asia and trade matters are open, observes our pal Chris Nelson of the Nelson Report.

The National Security Council’s senior director for Asia, Danny Russel, is in line to be assistant secretary of state for East Asia, and Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman may be back in the mix for U.S. trade rep, Nelson notes.

A boy’s club no more

What’s that sound coming from Foggy Bottom? Could be another glass ceiling cracking.

The White House this week nominated Avril Haines to be the State Department’s top-ranking lawyer, a job previously held exclusively by men.

Haines comes from the White House counsel’s office, where she was deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president for national security affairs. Before that, she was a State Department lawyer.

Sounds as if Secretary of State John Kerry is living up to a pledge he made at his first personnel meeting early in his tenure at State. Kerry announced that he planned to hire and promote more women, and more folks from the department’s career ranks.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop
. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

 
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