Brawling: the new national pastime? Two new members of the club are Washington baseball boosters Charlie Brotman and Harold Brazil, who yesterday defended their rapid takedown of stadium protester Adam Eidinger before a news conference at Union Station on Monday. "I'm a lover, not a fighter," said the 76-year-old Brotman, adding that he tried at first to "tenderly" remove Eidinger, 31, from the podium.
"He jerked his arm away and continued his remarks," PR man Brotman, former announcer for the Washington Senators, told us. "So I grabbed his elbow a little harder and said, 'You're going to have to leave so we can get our news conference going.' The third time I used both hands on his elbows and arms and started to pull him away, and that's when he started pulling very hard -- and I pulled back very hard. . . . I didn't realize how big this guy was. I'm 5-6 1/2."
Who's off base? Activist Adam Eidinger and Charlie Brotman tussle at the news conference.
(Bill O'Leary - The Washington Post)
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Council member Brazil and a security guard quickly joined the fray. Said Brazil: "The guy was getting violent and Charlie wasn't giving up. I thought, 'Maybe Charlie is going to get hurt.' I just decided I wasn't going to sit on my hands and watch that happen."
Eidinger, a longtime Green Party and D.C. statehood activist, called the city's baseball deal "half-baked" and a "rip-off." He left Monday for a vacation in France and couldn't be reached for comment. But Zoe Mitchell, his business partner and former campaign press secretary, told us: "He was surprised that these people -- a man in his seventies and a council member -- attacked him. That was shocking." Eidinger sustained welts on his chest in the scuffle, she added.
Brotman, meanwhile, was nursing pulled muscles in his right arm and leg, but "nothing of a serious nature," he said. With pride, he recalled his boxing days: "I boxed in the Boys Club years and years ago. I had one fight and now I'm undefeated." The scuffle with Eidinger? "That was a draw."
Inauguration Packages for Those With Their Own Mint
With Inauguration Day fast approaching, Washington hoteliers want to remind their fellow Americans that although not everyone can become president, anyone with enough cash can live like a child-of-privilege-turned-leader-of-the-Free World. Packages cost as much as $200,000 -- or half the prez's annual salary.
Here's our exclusive breakdown of the highest-end offerings:
The Fairmont's "President for a Day" -- or rather, four days (must stay four nights between Jan. 17 and 21). Includes: Two actors posing as Secret Service agents to "guard" you during your stay, Beluga caviar and Dom Perignon "state reception" for 10 in the presidential suite, chauffeured Rolls-Royce to and from an inaugural ball, in-room massages and other salon services for "The President" and "First Lady." Price: $10,000 per night. (Still available.)
"The Hay-Adams Inauguration Package," four nights, Jan. 19-23. Includes: Cristal champagne upon arrival, a Cadillac sedan on call 24 hours, in-room salon services for one day, presidential cuff links and a Tiffany commemorative keepsake. Price: $25,000 (sorry, this one is booked).
The Ritz-Carlton's "Presidential Package 2005," four nights, Jan. 17-21. Includes: First-class airfare to and from Washington; a $20,000 set of luggage from Saks Fifth Avenue, packed before you travel by a hotel-supplied butler; 24-hour on-call chauffeur and personal massage therapist; "daily selection from the hotel's extensive menu of butler-drawn baths"; his and hers ballroom garb from Saks, including white gold diamond earrings and necklace; two tickets to one of the official inaugural balls -- and two weekend stays per year until Inauguration 2009. Price: $150,000 (available).
The Mandarin Oriental's "Presidential Privilege 2005," four nights, Jan. 17-21. Includes: Private jet service to and from D.C.; guest's choice of chauffeured Maybach, Rolls-Royce or Hummer for duration of visit; a private dinner for eight guests; 20 "Washington-based movies" on DVD; daily supplies of Krug champagne and Beluga caviar; tickets to an inaugural event; designer fashions from Neiman Marcus, including (for her) an Oscar de la Renta gown, Manolo Blahnik shoes, a mink coat, and (for him) a Kiton tuxedo, David Yurman cuff links and 18-carat gold Cartier watch. And an American flag, flown over the U.S. Capitol. Price: $200,500 (still available!).
What's in a Name? A Free Trip to Italy
Cafe Milano owner Franco Nuschese, considered one of Washington's most well-connected people, is looking for help wherever he can find it in coming up with a name for his planned new restaurant. He and business partner Paul Guzzardo, who addressed Gemma Puglisi's "Communications and Society" class last week at American University, challenged the students to propose a moniker for his Clarendon location, which will open in May or June.
"I'm prepared to give whoever wins a trip to Italy," Nuschese told us. "It's very hard to come up with a name." Why not just Milano Due? "I do own that name," he said, "but I really want to do something new."
There once was a "Hardball" host from Nantucket: Chris Matthews, the MSNBC shouter, and wife Kathleen Matthews, the WJLA anchor, have bought a $4.35 million home on the tony Massachusetts island, reports the Boston Globe. These days, the isle has become a sanctuary for all kinds of elite media types: "The Insider" host Pat O'Brien, "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert and New York Times COO Janet Robinson all have homes on Nantucket.
War of words: Iran has banned National Geographic journalists and sales of the magazine because an atlas it published refers to the country's southern coastal waters as both the Persian Gulf (the name Iran uses) and the Arabian Gulf (which Arab states use). "National Geographic should immediately correct this big mistake and this strange move," an Iranian culture ministry official told Reuters. Allen Carroll, National Geographic's chief cartographer, defended the parenthetical use of "Arabian Gulf": "We do, and will continue, to recognize 'Persian Gulf' as the primary name," he said on the society's Web site. "But we want people searching for 'Arabian Gulf' to be able to find what they're looking for and not to confuse it with the nearby Arabian Sea."