Journalist in bed with senator

Al Kamen
Columnist July 18, 2012

Connie Schultz isn’t naming names. The nationally syndicated columnist wrote a post on her Facebook page Tuesday about a “conservative blogger” who ­e-mailed her to say he or she was working on an “exposé” about journalists getting cozy with elected officials.

The blogger had seen many photos of Schultz with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Gotcha!

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

But wait, not so fast.

Schultz e-responded to the conservative muckraker, admitting that she had, in fact, been caught in a compromising position with Brown. In fact, she had a lurid-sounding confession: “I am surprised you did not find a photo of me kissing U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown so hard he passes out from lack of oxygen. He’s really cute.”

Cue conservative blogger drooling on keyboard. This exposé just got its lead sentence.


Sherrod Brown and his wife, Connie Schultz, at a football game. (Courtesy of Connie Schultz/Connie Schultz)

But then Schultz continued with some deflating details. “He’s also my husband. You know that, right?”

Schultz tells the Loop that she’s not identifying the blogger, in the hope of turning the incident — which has prompted plenty of online discussion — into a teaching moment. She surmises that the blogger is an intern for a conservative outlet, and she figured that rather than simply shaming the young pup, she might impart some journalistic and political wisdom. An intern, after all might be “salvageable,” in a way the editors might not be, she says.

“I wanted to teach the bigger lessons here,” Schultz says. “First, do your research before you call. Second, some of us liberals are not out to make you look bad.”

Up in the air

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker columnist, Glenn Kessler, writes to take issue with part of an item Wednesday saying that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had surged ahead of her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, in terms of the number of days on the road.

The item said Clinton had logged 351 days on the road to Rice’s 326 days. Apparently those numbers involved some apples and oranges.

“The State Department list includes stuff like a trip to Chicago and a trip to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, Kessler e-mailed, and “counts time in flight rather than days doing diplomacy.”

As a result, he said, “It is impossible to compare with other secretaries because the data [for predecessors] only includes what they did on the ground.”

“By my count, Rice at this point had been on the road 292 days and had made 75 trips,” the Fact Checker said, not counting 80 days “in the air. ” By Kessler’s count, “Clinton has done 262 days on the road and 71 trips.”

Rice still holds the record for the most miles on a single trip — 31,291 miles, a nine-day journey that took her to South America, Indonesia and South America, he added.

“You get one Pinocchio for believing State Department spin.” (Or just doing bad math.)

O’Reilly? Oh, really?

There’s heightened buzz this week at the Pentagon that Army Secretary John McHugh will be meeting with the director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, to chat about that scathing inspector general’s report on O’Reilly’s most curious management style.

The report found that O’Reilly, in the job since November 2008, had bullied and “yelled and screamed at subordinates in both public and private settings” and had violated Pentagon ethics regulations.

Then this: “We recommend the Secretary of the Army consider appropriate corrective action with regard to Lt. Gen. O’Reilly.”

The report had been circulating internally since at least May 2. It was declassified and released at least by July 1 — at least that’s when we got a copy.

But as of Tuesday, Army spokesman George Wright repeated his earlier statement that McHugh was “currently reviewing the report.” The report is only 20 pages long, so maybe McHugh might want to enroll in that Evelyn Wood speed-reading course?

On Tuesday afternoon, our colleague Craig Whitlock asked Defense Department spokesman George Little whether Secretary Leon Panetta had been briefed on the report. “And, does he still support Lieutenant General O’Reilly’s position there?”

“I am aware of the report,” Little said. “ The secretary is aware of it, as well. But, you know, I think we’re in a position right now not to — not to comment on the particulars of the report.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Stay tuned.

With Emily Heil

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

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