Who Was That Striking Lady in Red?

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, January 13, 2006

Ladies and gentleman, we present the breakout star of the Alito hearings -- Rachel Brand !

Who? you ask. Exactly: She was the woman sitting right behind the nominee's left shoulder in the "who's that?" seat that turns unwitting staffers into accidental celebs during big-deal hearings.

Brand -- the assistant attorney general who is shepherding Alito through confirmation -- gained extra scrutiny because she had the spot right next to Martha-Ann Alito , leading some bloggers to presume she was family. Also, there was that look-at-me! red suit she wore Monday, quite flattering against her pale complexion.

Sorry, fellas! She's married, to her Harvard Law sweetie and fellow Justice attorney Jonathan Cohn . But you may get to see more of her: Once a clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, she's a rising star in administration legal circles who was trusted to run all three "murder boards" (the practice hearings) -- for Chief Justice Roberts , Harriet Miers and Alito.

A Recipe for Resentment at the Washingtonian

Plenty of new magazines in Washington this year, and lots of new blood shaking things up, so it was inevitable there would be fallout. In August, the Washingtonian hired Todd Kliman as dining editor, and now the magazine is facing allegations of age discrimination by longtime executive wine and food editor Thomas Head.

Head, 63, has worked for the magazine since 1991 reviewing restaurants and overseeing food coverage -- and was surprised when Kliman, 39, was hired and quickly outranked him on the masthead. Head retained his title and salary, but says he has much less responsibility. When he pressed Editor Jack Limpert for an explanation, he was told the magazine needed changes.

"I've never had a bad review or criticism," Head said yesterday. "Ruling out the possibilities, it's hard to be left with anything else but discrimination." His lawyer sent the magazine a letter saying as much.

Limpert, 71, said he doesn't care how old Head is: "I felt our dining out coverage needed some new energy and new thinking." He says he informed Head as soon as he hired Kliman: "I told him he was welcome to stay at the magazine, but obviously his feelings were hurt."

Head said he might stay if there were a "readjustment of responsibilities," but conceded it is unlikely. Head asked his name be removed from this month's "100 Very Best Restaurants" issue because he didn't agree with the choices or rankings.

Alas, No Pitt Stop Here

Fri., 1/6: A press release confirms the big rumor about Brad Pitt is true -- he's coming to D.C. for a Saint-Ex/Black Cat party promoting the new line of Ducati motorcycles!!! . . . Or is he? We're troubled by these "TBD" initials by his name but keep our Thursday night open.

Mon., 1/9: "We're hoping he'll be here!" a publicist tells us. "Is coverage contingent on him attending?"

Wed., 1/11: News breaks that the other big rumor about Pitt is true -- Angelina's havin' his baby. Surely he must be busy? Publicist admits it doesn't look good.

Thurs., 1/12: "He's not coming, no. But we do have a great event with or without Brad!" Yeah, too bad it's "Dancing With the Stars" night. But do invite us to the next party: http://reliablesource@www.washpost.com/

Battle of the Balls: Inaugural vs. Foot

As the Redskins jet off to Seattle for their second playoff game ( Go Skins!), we pause to crown former White House protocol chief Lucky Roosevelt and Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele co-winners of The Reliable Source's Predict the Season contest. Both correctly guessed 10-6 was the magic number. "Aren't you impressed?" said Roosevelt. "I can't get over it myself!"

We'll watch every second of the game, which kicks off at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow -- but the 3,000 Virginians attending Gov. Tim Kaine's inaugural ball in Williamsburg (starts at 6 p.m. sharp!) are out of luck. Bummer, huh?

Inaugural press director Jeff Kraus says we've got it backward: "There'll be all these people in Seattle sitting in a football stadium watching very small televisions, trying to keep up with coverage of this historic inauguration. I can only hope it doesn't interfere with the game too much."


Once there was a liberal movement, kids. And its principles will ring through Washington National Cathedral tomorrow, when former president Bill Clinton eulogizes the late Eugene McCarthy at an 11 a.m. memorial service open to the public. Folk singer Peter Yarrow will perform one last song for the former senator, who died last month at 89. Also expected are members of Minnesota's congressional delegation, and all those idealists who worked on McCarthy's short-lived 1968 presidential campaign.

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