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Reliable Source - Richard Leiby

Don't Worry, Daddy, He's a Republican

By Richard Leiby
Thursday, January 27, 2005; Page C03

Mystery date: Washingtonians are abuzz about the tall young man who has been spotted with Jenna Bush on his arm in recent weeks. He was at her side during inaugural events and they show up regularly together at Georgetown's Smith Point, the Bush twins' favorite bar. A snapshot popped up on Web sites of the pair dancing, Jenna with cocktail in hand.

Who is he?

Tall, dark and Republican, Henry Hager has been regularly seen around town in the company of Jenna Bush. (Jeff Snyder)

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He's Henry Hager, a 26-year-old Richmonder with a Virginia political pedigree. Richmond's Style Weekly reported yesterday that his father is John H. Hager, Virginia's first director of homeland security and a former lieutenant governor. John Hager recently joined the Bush administration as an assistant secretary of education.

We hear the young Hager got his start two years ago as an intern in the White House for Karl Rove and later moved to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. "He's a nice guy, a smart guy, an ambitious guy," a Bush adviser told us. "Well liked, popular."

Hager apparently still works in administration circles, but we couldn't track him down yesterday. The White House had no comment.

Some young Republicans wonder: Is dating the president's daughter a good or bad career move? Said our source: "The jury seems to be out on that one."

Oscar Nominee Has a Reservation on the Hill

• While his fellow Oscar nominees basked in accolades and air kisses, Don Cheadle was wrapping up three days of living in a tent while visiting refugees from the genocidal conflict in Sudan. Tapped for Best Actor on Tuesday for his role in "Hotel Rwanda," Cheadle hits Capitol Hill today to talk to the media about his experiences in refugee camps on Chad's border with Sudan's Darfur region.

The actor joined five members of Congress in a delegation headed by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.). Also on the trip: Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who sheltered more than 1,200 people during the Rwandan genocide a decade ago. (Cheadle portrays him in the movie.)

In recent months, Cheadle and the "Hotel Rwanda" filmmakers have been screening the movie for diplomats and U.N. officials to promote Western peacekeeping efforts in Africa. We're told the actor had no idea he was nominated until after he touched down in Chad's capital, N'Djamena, late Tuesday.

"Once he had phone service again, after being out of contact for three days, he got the call from Los Angeles," said Riva Levinson, a Washington publicist on international issues, who was traveling with Cheadle.

SQUIBS


Joseph Biden imparted advice to Condoleezza Rice, the new secretary of state, after hearings last week. (Melina Mara - The Washington Post)
• Sen. Joe Biden confesses: He whispered sweet nothings into Condoleezza Rice's ear! The rascally Democrat from Delaware embraced her after contentious Senate confirmation hearings last week. "When we hugged, I whispered in her ear, 'I'm telling you, Condi, don't listen to them,' " Biden says in the new Rolling Stone. "She looked at me. I said, ' Rumsfeld and Cheney. You gotta be tough.' " We'll see if she takes his advice to heart.

• Singer Marian Anderson had a storied history at the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall. Banned from there in 1939 because of a "white artists only" policy, she gave a rousing, historic performance at the Lincoln Memorial instead. But by 1942 Anderson was invited to sing at Constitution Hall and in 1964 she started her farewell tour there. Today the late opera star returns -- on a stamp -- and the public is invited to an 11 a.m. ceremony honoring her life. "We were absolutely thrilled when the U.S. Postal Service asked us to join them in recognition of Marian Anderson," DAR president general Presley Merritt Wagoner told us yesterday. "And I'm sure their choice of venue had everything to do with the 1939 incident when she was not given the opportunity to sing in our hall."

• Bush-boosting radio host Michael Graham is up for sale. "Fellow conservatives like Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher are on the 'cash for commentary' bandwagon. Why not me?" Graham writes in a posting on eBay that offers his services as a radio yakker to the highest bidder. "I'm flacking for [President Bush] as hard as I can," Graham told us yesterday. "I've been in the right-wing conspiracy since there was one -- I worked for Pat Buchanan!" But never fear, if anyone ends up purchasing Graham, he pledges that the proceeds will go to the Fisher House charity for wounded soldiers and their families.

With Anne Schroeder


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