The Reliable Source

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Fred Grandy is feeling so bad about his team's chances that he laid down this challenge on his WMAL-AM morning radio show: If the GOP keeps the House, he'll eat a cheeseburger.

Grandy, you see, is a vegan. Seven or eight years ago, the former Republican congressman from Iowa (and before that, yes, Gopher on "The Love Boat") tried the no-meat, no-dairy, no-eggs diet at his wife's urging. "I lost weight, I felt better," he said, and since then he hasn't eaten anything "with a face or a mother."

So it's a sign of his utter lack of confidence in his party's fortunes today that he promised co-host Andy Parks to eat a cheeseburger on-air should the GOP prevail. "It may only be a small majority for Democrats, but that keeps me in broccoli for two years." Parks is more optimistic. "He's preparing by getting a George Foreman grill and a defibrillator," said Grandy, who suffered a heart attack two years ago. His wife is so unhappy about his bet that she's threatened to vote Democratic.

Is Grandy the most prominent vegan Republican in America? "I may be the only vegan Republican."


* Robert Novak, leaving the Redskins game too early? The owner's box regular was visibly absent in the final seconds Sunday, when Dan Snyder's remaining VIP guests (Sam Donaldson, Jack Kemp, Bernard Shaw) rose to cheer the winning field goal by no-relation Nick Novak. One of the pessimists who abandoned ship? Not at all: "I had to catch a plane," he told us, regretfully. "It's the first time I've ducked out of a game in many, many years."

Grand Old Non-Party?

Sure, Nancy "So-close-she-can-taste-it" Pelosi, the DCCC and DSCC are throwing election-watch parties tonight at the Hyatt Regency for victorious (they presume) Democrats. Ah, but whither the Republican open-bar bashes? There don't seem to be any big celebrations this time around. GOP loyalists say they are scattered across the country being worker bees, getting out the vote and all that. "Almost everyone is out of town," says Grover Norquist, one of the conservatives left behind. "If there's anything to celebrate, we can do it next week."

Tipper Gore Goes Into the Picture Business

The blonde in that magazine ad looks awfully familiar ... jeesh, it's Tipper Gore! She appears in a new full-page advertisement surrounded by her photographs, which you can now purchase for $1,100 and up.

Gore has teamed up with furniture designers Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams to mass-market a collection of her "fine art photography" -- a "visual documentary of her beautiful and spirited journey through life." More than 30 landscapes and portraits -- Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat -- were mostly taken during the eight years her husband served as vice-president, when she often appeared at official events with a camera in her hand.

None of this comes cheap: $1,100 to $4,150 for a personally signed photo, accompanied by a "certificate of authenticity." The feel-good hook? The company will donate at least $50,000 to the Climate Project, Al and Tipper's nonprofit environmental organization.

Although Gore has published books of her work, this is her first dip into selling prints, and the first time she's posed for a commercial advertisement. Longtime friends Gold and Williams persuaded her to join them in the exclusive deal, and spent a day at her Nashville home sifting through personal prints for their stores. "I did it because we really like her photography," said Gold. "I have one in my bedroom, 'Buenos Aires Dancers.'" The collection was quietly introduced to the trade in the spring, and is now selling in retail stores nationwide -- boosted by Gore's in-store appearances and the new ad, which ran for the first time Sunday in the New York Times Magazine.

Sales are good, said Gold, and Gore stands to make a tidy sum from her new business. Another reason not to run in '08!



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