The Waitress, the Maid and the Candidate

By Al Kamen
Friday, October 27, 2006

A few weeks ago it seemed five-term Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) would cruise to victory in his bid to be governor. But last week Las Vegas casino cocktail waitress Chrissy Mazzeo said Gibbons shoved her against the wall of a restaurant parking garage and threatened her when she rejected his sexual advances.

Gibbons said that during the Oct. 13 encounter, he was just trying to help Mazzeo when she appeared to be falling down. "I categorically deny that I ever engaged in any inappropriate behavior," he said, insisting he acted like "a gentleman." A top Nevada Republican said Gibbons was "set up." But the story isn't going away.

Earlier this week, Mazzeo, according to her lawyer, alleged that someone with a connection to Gibbons's campaign offered her money to change her story.

In addition, KLAS-TV broke a story that Gibbons, a hard-liner on immigration, and his wife employed an illegal immigrant from 1987 to 1993 as a babysitter and housekeeper, sometimes having her hide in the basement when visitors came in order to keep her status a secret.

Dawn Gibbons had said that the woman, Patricia Pastor Sandoval , originally from Peru, worked only occasionally for them and that she thought Pastor was in the country legally.

KLAS reporter George Knapp obtained documents showing that the Gibbons tried to obtain legal status for Pastor; among them was an employment agreement signed by Dawn Gibbons and Pastor, which said Pastor worked from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. six days a week for $800 a month. Pastor said she was always paid in cash, Knapp reported, and no Social Security or other benefits were paid.

The Gibbons campaign fired back with a statement saying his Democratic opponent, Dina Titus , "clearly wants this campaign to be about something other than the issues important to Nevada voters" and accusing her of maliciously attacking personal reputations.

Still, not a great couple of weeks for Gibbons. The race could be tightening.

Remember That Other Axis?

President Bush was asked this week about how the Iraq war has lasted nearly as long as the U.S. involvement in World War II.

"This is a different kind of war than a war against the fascists in World War II," he answered. "We were facing a nation-state --," He stopped and quickly corrected himself: "Two nation-states." Then he tried again: "Three nation-states in World War II."

Don't forget the junior Axis members, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania!

He's Not Saying 'Cheese' Anymore

Timing is everything . . . The moderate Republican Ripon Society, which hails Teddy Roosevelt as one of its heroes, published its October-November newsletter before the Mark Foley scandal broke. Alas. The newsletter featured coverage of Ripon's annual Rough Rider Awards Dinner here in July. Four of the six pictures on the second and third pages prominently feature Foley.

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