The Art of Having Friends in High Places

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, October 18, 2006

GOP first-time candidate Dee Margo is running an uphill race against a longtime incumbent to represent heavily Democratic El Paso in the Texas Senate. So how'd he get the most popular Republican campaigner in the nation to stump for him?

Easy: Laura Bush is good pals with his wife.

Gallery owner Adair Wakefield Margo and the first lady first clicked years ago when Adair wrote a book about El Paso painter Tom Lea , whose "Rio Grande" now hangs in the Oval Office. Laura and Adair traveled to Mexico to scope out artists' studios. The Margos raised big bucks for Dubya 's campaigns, and Adair now serves as chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Tomorrow, the first lady visits El Paso to speak at a private campaign luncheon for Dee.

Adair says she finds herself thinking often of the Bushes now that she's on the trail for her husband, dropping by the little Segundo Barrio businesses that still have Laura's picture hanging up front. And she finds herself looking to Laura's example on how to be a political spouse.

"Recently, at the White House, she told me, 'You know, they're blaming George for Katrina now,' " Adair said, adding that the first lady let the criticism roll off her back: "She's always kept things in perspective." The Bushes also taught her to keep the faith: "They believe that all things are possible. We've never elected a Republican state senator in El Paso. Things can change for the better in the Middle East, and we can have a two-party system in El Paso."

Coming Not-So-Soon To HBO: Graham's Story

The HBO biopic about former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham is on hold once again.

There was plenty of buzz over the summer that the project was on the cable network's fast track, but it can't go forward without a finished script and an actress in the title role. HBO is looking for an A-lister-- the rumor mill includes Annette Bening, Helen Mirren and just about every top middle-aged star in Hollywood.

After Graham's Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography, "Personal History," was published in 1997, she received dozens of offers to turn the dramatic story into a movie, and turned them all down -- as her family has done since her death in 2001. Acclaimed writer Joan Didion is attempting to write her version of Graham's life and is almost finished with the screenplay; Tom Hooper (who just won an Emmy for HBO's "Elizabeth I") is likely to direct. "HBO is still absolutely committed to the project," said a spokesman.

In the meantime, Hooper is busy with another high-profile HBO miniseries: In February, he's slated to start shooting "John Adams" in Virginia. Paul Giamatti will play the young Adams in the project, based on David McCullough's bestseller; Tom Hanks is the executive producer.


· Wesley Snipes was indicted in Tampa yesterday for not paying taxes and conspiracy to defraud the IRS. Federal officials said the action star failed to file income tax returns from 1999 to 2004; he and two other men are also charged for falsely claiming almost $12 million in refunds. As of press time, officials had not managed to find the 44-year-old actor; a warrant was issued for his arrest. He faces up to 16 years in jail if convicted.

· Rapper Fabolous was shot in the thigh early yesterday while leaving a Manhattan restaurant -- and ended up arrested hours later when police said they found unlicensed weapons in the car he used to leave the scene. No suspects have been apprehended in the shooting; the rapper was taken into custody after being treated at a hospital.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Annie Leibovitz , choosing the fatty tuna at Kaz Sushi Bistro on Monday night after her appearance at Politics and Prose. The celeb photographer (a 1967 graduate of Northwood High School in Silver Spring) was sporting her iconic look -- long hair, hiking boots, leggings -- and talking about her ongoing book tour.

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