'Leaner and Meaner' Rove Has Less Weight to Throw Around

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

With all those campaign hot dogs and ice cream, most political types pack on weight in the summer -- but Karl Rove has dropped 22 pounds. "He has slimmed down," said Rep. Jim Moran , who saw Rove a couple of weeks ago. "He looks leaner and meaner than he's ever looked -- at least leaner."

How did he do it? Last week, Rove said his diet secret was "clean living." The White House isn't commenting, but the Associated Press reported yesterday that Rove used a "liquid-based diet" (sources tell us that means protein shakes) supervised by physician Arthur Frank of the George Washington University Weight Management Program.

Moran is halfway through his own weight loss challenge; the Virginia Democrat had lost 20 pounds but slipped this week. "This trip to New Orleans was a killer," said Moran on the phone from his tour of the Gulf area. "I'm deliberately not looking at a scale until I get back." (In the "too good to resist" category: fried oysters, gumbo and pecan pie.)

Said political strategist Michael Berman , a veteran of the Beltway weight wars: "I always do better in winter -- I have no idea why; it's just easier to be disciplined." The author of "Living Large" gained and then lost 12 pounds this summer with protein powder and yogurt, fruit, and only vegetables when he dined out.

And what about President Bush, who gained five pounds with all those 60th-birthday celebrations? "We don't make him do weekly weigh-ins, but as you know, he's an avid exerciser and is in excellent health," said spokeswoman Dana Perino. "He's glad the birthday cakes have stopped coming."

Love, Etc.

· Matched: Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), 53, who got teased when gossip columns and his hometown paper discovered his online personal ad two years ago ( brown-eyed Libra, enjoys swimming, wine and jazz ), had the last laugh Aug. 18 when he married Jennifer Anne Beckenstein , 48 -- a food bank publicist whom he met through Jdate.com -- in Nyack, N.Y. The two will honeymoon later in the year, his office said; for now, they're busy combining their five teens into one household in Fair Lawn, N.J.


The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a conservative group's complaint against hip-hop mogul Sean Combs's 2004 "Vote or Die" initiative, after determining that Diddy indeed rocked it nonpartisan-style as promised. In a late July ruling -- disclosed recently to Combs's high-powered D.C. attorney Abbe Lowell -- the election overseers found no merit in claims that the not-for-profit Citizen Change promoted or colluded with the John Kerry campaign. Despite anti- Bush comments mouthed at get-out-the-vote rallies by Mary J. Blige and Leo DiCaprio , the FEC noted that Citizen Change also allied with prominent Republicans like Jessica Simpson and Kid Rock . The National Legal and Policy Center, which filed the complaint, is also asking the IRS to investigate the group's spending, President Peter Flaherty told us yesterday.


"I only play somebody smart enough to ask those questions."

Former "West Wing" actor Rob Lowe, asked what he would say to President Bush and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin about the city's Ninth Ward, still devastated a year after Hurricane Katrina hit. Lowe, who's shooting a movie in New Orleans, happened to be at Mother's restaurant Monday night when Bush and Nagin dined in the next room.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company