A Day in the Life of George and Laura, Starting Bright and Early With Help From Joe

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, June 22, 2006

George Bush , the leader of the free world, still is bringing his wife coffee in bed every morning -- which makes Laura Bush the most powerful person in the White House, according to our calculations.

The president and first lady were in Vienna, Austria, yesterday, where they fielded questions from foreign students, including the usual one -- what's a typical family day in the White House?

"We get up about 5:30 a.m.," Mrs. Bush answered. "The president gets up and goes in and gets the coffee and brings it back to me in bed. Very nice of him."

Then the son the president never had ( Barney ) and their other dog ( Miss Beazley ) need to be walked. ( India the cat apparently just hangs out.) The Bushes have their coffee and read the morning papers until breakfast at about 6:30. The president heads for the West Wing at 7; the first lady starts her day in the East Wing two hours later. "It's sort of like living above the shop," she said.

Work, work, work, then they meet back in the residence between 5:30 and 6 p.m. for dinner, often with the twins. "One of them was just living with us, but she just has moved out," Mrs. Bush told the students. "The other one lives in an apartment and is teaching school; she's a third-grade schoolteacher." (No details on whether Barbara had to clean her own room before decamping for New York or if Jenna drags along boyfriend Henry Hager. )

Sometimes they watch a movie in the White House theater, "but we do go to bed early," she added. Think they TiVo "The Daily Show"?

He's in the Driver's Seat of the Smithsonian -- and an $80K Corvette

(General Motors Corp.)
Some guys facing a trip to the congressional woodshed might opt for a low profile. Not Smithsonian Secretary Larry Small , who has been spotted around town in a brand-new, can't-miss-it Corvette convertible.

Small is getting grief for his management style, his $800,000-plus annual salary and his institution's secret deal with Showtime Networks to produce Smithsonian films. He is getting 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds with his shimmering copper-colored Corvette (customized by Callaway, making it a high-performance dream to drive). The $80,000 (give or take a few grand) Corvette showed up in the parking lot next to the Arts and Industries Building about six weeks ago, replacing Small's hunter green Jaguar and causing more than one staff eyebrow to arch.

Calls to Small's office were not returned; he must be racing around the Beltway!


Dating: Nationals rising-star pitcher John Patterson and Miss D.C. Shannon Schambeau are now acknowledging that they're an item. This happy return to the classic Ballplayer & Beauty Queen genre began last fall when they met at a gala for the Nats' charitable foundation. The right-handed Texan, 28, is ending two months on the disabled list after a bout with tendinitis. His sweetie, 25, was a top-five finalist at Miss America in January before returning to her job in the legal office at Special Olympics; she turns in her tiara next week when a new Miss D.C. is crowned. The two kept things hush-hush until two weeks ago when Schambeau threw out the first pitch -- caught by Patterson -- at a Phillies game and folks started buzzing. Why a secret so long, our colleague Barry Svrluga asked Patterson. "For this reason," he said.


"He doesn't socialize. He's very real, like, he's from a pretty ghetto place in Maryland. . . . I like that."

-- Teen starlet Hilary Duff , describing her boyfriend of two years, Good Charlotte lead singer Joel Madden , a native of Waldorf, in the July issue of Elle magazine. This statement is so offensive in so many ways we don't even know where to begin.

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