Ted Kennedy's Birthday Gift: No Longer Present

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Guests invited to Ted Kennedy's super-exclusive 75th birthday bash Saturday were wowed by the present at the curb of his Kalorama home: A new black Aston Martin Vanquish, with Massachusetts plates, wrapped in a big red bow.

The dream machine ($255,000 retail) is the stuff of legend -- specifically as Pierce Brosnan's co-star in the James Bond flick "Die Another Day."

But when we called to find out who sprang for such a memento, Kennedy's spokeswoman quickly denied that the car was a gift. The senator's wife, Vicki, she said, had rented the car for the weekend, not purchased it, and was due to return it yesterday.

Rented? But why the bow? Because it was his birthday, she explained. And why Massachusetts plates? Because the company that owns the car is from the senator's home state. And if he drove it "all weekend," why was it parked in the exact same spot with snow on the windshield yesterday?

"I got him a sports car for his birthday, but unfortunately today it turns into a pumpkin!" Vicki Kennedy said in an e-mail. "It was great fun while it lasted."

Al Gore's Oscar Buzz: An Inconspicuous Thrum

How big a water-cooler moment was Al Gore's Oscar win Sunday night? In the younger precincts of the Web, not so much. Arlington-based New Media Strategies set out to gauge the former veep's buzz in the YouTube/MySpace/Facebook universe and whether it got a bounce after he took the stage with Leo et al. and "An Inconvenient Truth" nabbed the Best Documentary trophy.

What they found: The number of "friends" on the official Draft Gore site on MySpace (yes, there is one) surged by 14 percent overnight, "a healthy jump," said NMS's Howard Mortman. But the five largest Gore fan groups on Facebook grew just 4.5 percent. And the 10 clips of his appearances posted to YouTube drew fewer than 400 sets of eyeballs by yesterday afternoon.

THIS JUST IN . . .

· With a massive snowstorm canceling Sunday flights out of Chicago, how did Very Special Prosecutor (and former People mag "Sexiest Man Alive" runner-up) Patrick Fitzgerald make it to the Scooter Libby trial at 9:30 yesterday morning? "Alternate means," he told our colleague Carol Leonnig, meaning: He drove. All 15 hours or whatever! Whatta guy.

· No funeral today for Anna Nicole Smith: A Florida appeals court ruled yesterday that her body can't be moved to the Bahamas until it hears from her estranged mother. Meanwhile, the battle for paternity and custody of daughter Dannielynn is delayed until next month; the baby is not allowed to leave the Bahamas.

SURREAL ESTATE

Seller: Mark Foley

Price:$899,000

Details: The former Florida congressman bought this two-story, two-bedroom Capitol Hill rowhouse for a mere $239K shortly after coming to the District in '95. With a brick patio and garage, it proved a wise investment: He put it on the market in mid-January, a few months after stepping down in the congressional page scandal. It sold in six days (as first reported by Scripps Howard) for the asking price, which according to property records is $200K more than its assessed value. The sale became final a week ago, days after Foley was spotted moving out.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company