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Mary Cheney Sets Record Straight

By Richard Leiby
Wednesday, March 30, 2005; Page C03

Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of the vice president, is writing a memoir that she says will address her experiences as a political "target" of gay rights activists in the 2004 election, when she served as a top adviser to her dad. Though finally unmuzzled, Cheney isn't likely to stray off the GOP message: Her book, after all, is the first offering from Republican strategist Mary Matalin's new Simon & Schuster publishing imprint.

"She couldn't address it in the campaign because she had a job to do," Matalin told us yesterday. "She couldn't talk, which did leave many using her for their agenda, projecting on to her issues that didn't reflect her thinking."

Vice President Cheney Takes the Oath
Vice President Cheney Takes the Oath
Mary Cheney, flanked by mom Lynne and sister Liz, held the Bible for her father, Vice President Cheney, in January as he took the oath for his second term. (Kevin Lamarque - Reuters)

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In a statement yesterday, Cheney, 36, said: "The first time I campaigned with my father I was 8 years old. I've been involved with campaigns as a family member, a staffer, and though I certainly never intended it, as a political target for the other side."

In the presidential campaign, gay activists branded Cheney a hypocrite for supporting what they saw as a discriminatory agenda designed to appease the far right. Matalin, who has advised both President Bush and Vice President Cheney, suggested that the book would counter that broad-brush view: "She's very opinionated and has a unique voice and is a unique part of the party." The memoir, as yet untitled, is due in May 2006.

California Dreamin': Jerry Brown Engaged

• Lifelong bachelor politician Jerry Brown, 67, has finally proposed marriage to his live-in partner, Gap Inc. executive Anne Gust, 47. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will officiate at the wedding, her spokesman told us yesterday. (California law allows elected officials to perform weddings.) No date has been set.

"Neither of us is skilled in this marriage thing," Gust, who also has never tied the knot, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Brown, the state's former governor and now mayor of Oakland, popped the question earlier this month after preparing Gust a dinner of chicken, vegetables and salad. But he didn't proffer a ring to the woman he has known for 15 years. "One step at a time,'' Brown told the newspaper. "We don't want to rush this process.'' (True: Why start rushing now?)


• Tonight's episode of Fox's reality hit "The Simple Life: Interns," starring the exceptionally talented Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, features two Washington locations -- a psychic shop on Georgetown's M Street run by Ann Dee and TheoAdamstein and Olvia Demetriou's elegant SomaFit Spa, just north of Georgetown. We can reveal that the celebrity duo try their hand at the fine art of palm reading. When Hilton and Richie caused a stir during their visit for the taping in November, Dee, who goes by the name Mrs. Ann, told us: "They don't really have the psychic ability." (We could have predicted that -- even without a crystal ball.)

• Speaking of reality TV and interns: Monica Lewinsky has learned a lesson, it seems. A couple of years ago, her "Mr. Personality" show on Fox tanked, and now Us Weekly reports that the world's most famous White House intern has turned down $500,000 to appear on "The Farm," a U.K. reality show. It once featured David Beckham's alleged mistress Rebecca Loos "fondling a pig," the mag reveals, and Lewinsky won't go there. "I don't do reality shows," she's quoted as saying.

• Actor John Lithgow stopped by the Kennedy Center on Monday night to chat with Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser about his life and career as part of its Voices of the Arts series. News flash: "He is tall. He is funny," a staffer told us.

The Usual Suspects

An occasional feature revealing the secret lives of oft-quoted experts.

Clifford May (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

Occupation: President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank formed after 9/11 to focus on terrorism. It backs President Bush's foreign policy goals.

Born: Feb. 24, 1951. Grew up on West 16th Street in Chelsea, N.Y.

Marital status: Married with two children.

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