Patrick Kennedy, Facing Up to a 'Miserable' Reality

Pat Kennedy
"This, for me, was the latest kind of wake-up call for me, and I sure got it," said Rep. Patrick Kennedy during a news conference yesterday. (Stephan Savoia -- AP)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Rep. Patrick Kennedy is out of rehab and returns to a full work schedule this morning. "I obviously have a lot of thank-you notes to catch up on," the Rhode Island Democrat told an audience at Brown University yesterday, where he received a standing ovation.

It was his first public appearance since he checked himself into the Mayo Clinic last month after a late-night car crash into a barricade at the Capitol. Kennedy left the clinic on Friday, spent the weekend in Washington with family members, then headed up to Rhode Island for a conference on mental health.

"This, for me, was the latest kind of wake-up call for me, and I sure got it," he told reporters. "And I will also say I'm enormously grateful -- every day I'm on my knees thanking God that I didn't hurt somebody. And this was an opportunity for me to get my life back on track. Frankly, I didn't know how miserable I was until I started feeling better."

Ears perked up when the 38-year-old bachelor disclosed that on the night in question, a female friend spent the evening at his place. He mentioned her to bolster his claim that he was impaired by sleeping and anti-nausea meds and had not been drinking that night -- he said the friend told prosecutors she smelled no alcohol on his breath.

Anyone we should know about? Kennedy spokeswoman Robin Costello called her "just a friend." Capitol Police would not disclose details of the ongoing investigation.

A Lean and Meaningful 40th

Karim Kawar
Svelte Karim Kawar celebrated his 40th with friends and family. At left, his wife, Luma; at right, host Ricardo Ernst.(Edgar Becerra)
"Sporty and spiffy" sounded like a fun theme for Jordanian Ambassador Karim Kawar's 40th birthday party until his 14-year-old son, Faisal, looked up "spiffy" in the dictionary and gibed -- as only a teenager can -- "Dad, how are you going to look spiffy?"

Snap! Without saying a word to his family, Kawar quietly began cutting back and skipping dessert on his improvised Dad Diet. At the party Saturday night, Kawar announced he'd lost 40 pounds in less than three months. "That was my gift to me," he says, declining to reveal exactly how much he weighs now.

Two hundred friends gathered in Georgetown for the spirited dance party hosted by Isabel and Ricardo Ernst and Samia and Huda Farouki . The newly svelte Kawar spent most of the night on the dance floor wearing . . . a pedometer. "That was the first day I reached 10,000 steps," he says. And, yes, he had "one bite" of birthday cake.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Katie Couric , enjoying late-night martinis and cheese pizza at Cafe Milano Saturday with a gentleman whom spies ID'd as D.C.-based beer distributor Jimmy Reyes . The two have been friendly since last fall, when we unmasked the "sexy mystery man" that the National Enquirer had photographed with the soon-to-be CBS anchor. Reyes told another Milano-goer they are "just friends." (Always a shrewd answer!) The local gal was back in town to speak at the 75th anniversary gala of the Kiwanis Club of Arlington, whose newsletter billed her as " John Couric's daughter, Katie." She talked about her Arlington childhood and her early TV career, then eschewed the group's offer to donate to her favorite cancer charity, saying the greatest reward would be if every member got a colonoscopy.

· Eric Holder , showing up for jury duty at D.C. Superior Court yesterday. Would they really put a former U.S. attorney and former deputy attorney general on a panel? He hasn't been disqualified yet; jury selection continues today.


· D.C.-based Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge is scheduled to donate part of her liver to her infant son in surgery expect to last 10 hours today at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Herridge's son Pete r was born in December with the rare condition known as biliary atresia. Herridge, 42, covers homeland security for the cable network. Both mother and son face about two months of recovery after the surgery.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company