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The Reliable Source's 2nd Annual Snip & Save Thanksgiving Talking Points

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Sunday, November 19, 2006

Time again for the holiday pilgrimage home, where you'll spend hours trying to find something to say to the relatives besides "Pass the cranberries." Because you live Inside the Beltway (or anywhere close), you're part of the problem/solution/mediacracy -- and are expected to have some insider dish. These talking points may not be technically, you know, true -- but that never stops a Washington pundit, now does it?

SPEAKER-ELECT NANCY PELOSI

· "True, her intervention in the majority leader's race hurt her reputation with the moderate caucus that backed Steny Hoyer, but the reality is that she'll shift focus to anti-corruption and minimum-wage legislation, which even conservatives will have to support."

· "Mom, would you let Daddy buy your clothes? Nancy's husband picks out all her suits."

· "She was next to me at the Four Seasons salon last week. She's hot."

THE 2008 CAMPAIGN

· "Well, people say they'd vote for a Hillary/Barack ticket, but you think -- deep down -- America is ready to elect two politicians from Chicago?"

· "Is John McCain's Purple Heart better or worse than John Kerry's?"

· "John Edwards: Too handsome to be president? Discuss."

VIRGINIA SENATE RACE

· " Jim Webb's books were a lot dirtier before I edited them, so I figure he owes me."

· "Trust me -- there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that George Allen is going to Israel to work on a kibbutz."

· "Not 'Macarena,' Grandma. No, no, not 'maracas.' "

MEDIA

· " Tim Russert secretly roots for the Redskins but won't admit it."

· "The truth about Anderson Cooper? Blue-tinted contacts."

· " Katie Couric's mom told her hairdresser she still watches Brian Williams."

THE WHITE HOUSE

· "You going to believe me or a bunch of bloggers? Jenna really is working for UNICEF in Panama."

· "You didn't hear it from me, but the White House chef uses Cheez Whiz in her bechamel."

· "My press office buddy says Dubya is giving Cheney a Nerf N-Strike Longshot CS-6 blaster for Christmas."

CELEBS IN D.C.

· "Sorry, I promised I wouldn't even tell my mother who paid that $50,000 to get us in to meet Barbra Streisand at Verizon Center."

· " Dan Snyder is actually better at the Electric Slide than Tom Cruise."

· "Yeah, I was thinking about it, but Maureen Dowd already invited Borat to the White House Correspondents' Dinner."

SORRY, YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST

One in an occasional series of parties you should have crashed.

Event: Capital Food Fight 2006, a battle-of-the-celebrity-chefs fundraiser for D.C. Central Kitchen, with "tastings" from more than 40 top local restaurants

Site: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

Big regret: Missed the cotton-candy foie gras.

Big revelation: Marvelous sushi . . . from Wegman's?

Big horror: Lobster popcorn. "Almost impossible to eat," murmured one guest.

Big surprise:$1 million gift from kitchen volunteers Bob and Nancy Torray (the event otherwise raised $285,000).

Main event: Galileo's Roberto Donna (teamed with Anthony Chittum of Notti Bianche) overcame his "Iron Chef" humiliations to trounce two-time Food Fight champ Ris Lacoste in the finals by pairing romanescu with escargot.

Post-game: Was it a fair fight? Hardly, said celeb judge Anthony Bourdain, the tough-guy food writer and chef, holding court over Negronis and cigarettes at the Les Halles after-party. "I have history with everyone. But the end, the best dish won. . . . Ris lost by a little too much curry. I'm not convinced she didn't take a dive. I'd like to see the betting spread on this one."

Short and to the Point

Jay-Z may have made history here at 12:38 p.m. yesterday: Perhaps the first superstar rapper ever to take a stage almost exactly on time.

Then again, he had a tight schedule. "We're on a seven-city, 17-hour tour," he told the 1,500 giddy folks who snagged free tickets to his outdoor concert at Howard University, his third stop after early a.m. shows in Atlanta and Philly. The final gig was set for early this morning in Vegas. "We gotta race through these songs quick."

For a guy who's recently spent more time in the boardroom than behind the mike, it was a shrewd stunt to launch his new album. As he blazed through eight songs in 23 minutes, the CEO of Def Jam Records kept his mind on the bottom line: "I know a couple of y'all went to your computers and downloaded "Kingdom Come," but y'all got to go to the store and buy it when it drops Tuesday. Can't have that fake joint. It's like having fake jewelry."

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