Townsend, Turning the Page to a New Chapter

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, March 15, 2007

More than four years after she lost the Maryland governor's race to Bob Ehrlich and seemingly vanished into private life, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is back on the circuit with a new book. Its title: "Failing America's Faithful: How Today's Churches Are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way."

Wow. Sounds like a book written by . . . someone who has absolutely no intention of ever running for public office again.

"I think that's true," the former lieutenant governor said, laughing. The book, a memoir of her Catholic faith mixed with a critique of modern church politics, is more likely to get her booked as a provocative pundit than to win votes. "I have been so disappointed with the churches," she told us. "They really have lost the connection between the common good of faith and justice. Their megaphone is on issues like stem-cell research and abortion and gay marriage. But we need loud moral voices for health care and the poor."

On Tuesday night, Townsend signed copies at a packed party at her childhood home, Hickory Hill in McLean, hosted by mom Ethel Kennedy with remarks from Uncle Teddy. Eunice and Sarge Shriver were there, as were her daughters Kat and Maeve and husband David; Maryland political pals like Peter Franchot, former Sen. Danny Brewster and AIDS researcher Bob Gallo; and several friends from what she called "the religious left."

Any advice for other ex-politicians -- say, Ehrlich -- finding their way after a big loss? "Follow your passion -- whatever brought you into public life in the first place," she said. "What brought me into public life is a belief that everyone can make a difference. People follow whatever it is they love."

But Will He Get Detention for Arriving After Roll Call?

Chuck Schumer hosted the 40th-anniversary reunion of his "It's Academic" team last night on Capitol Hill, proving once again that life really is a lot like high school. New York's senior senator was captain of Brooklyn's James Madison H.S. team, which went to the finals in 1967 before losing in NYC's version of the 46-year-old quiz show.

Did he talk a lot back then? "I'd say he answered 60 to 70 percent of the time," said teammate Janet Schwartz, now a psychiatrist in Pennsylvania. Was he right? "Most of the time." Did he love the camera? "He enjoyed the attention then as he does now."

While waiting for the tardy senator, the brainiacs aced an impromptu quiz on 1967 news by host Mac McGarry. Then Schumer arrived, an hour late, and missed one of the 10 questions: "Defecting to the U.S. was Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of this Soviet dictator." "Khrushchev?" Schumer answered. Hah! Everyone knows it's Stalin.


Those enterprising British journalists! A profile of Patrick Fitzgerald posted on the BBC's Web site yesterday linked to, and quoted from, what it described as the Very Special Prosecutor's blog: "In Chicago and D.C. I have found . . . the rampant graft and corruption to be a travesty -- a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham."

Yeah . . . you guessed it. The blog? Not really his. "I think it is widely recognized to be a parody," said the prosecutor's spokesman Randy Samborn, adding that Fitz, sadly, does not have a blog.

Oh, and the hilarious "travesty of a mockery" line? A quote from Woody Allen's "Bananas."


  • Born: A boy, Liam Aaron McDermott, to Hollywood princess Tori Spelling, 33, Tuesday night in L.A. First child for the -- uh, what was she famous for again? Oh yeah, a supporting role on "Beverly Hills, 90210" -- and actor husband Dean McDermott; the birth merited coverage on a par with the moon launch from the celebrity tabs, which have closely chronicled Spelling's battle with estranged mom Candy over late father Aaron's estate. They reportedly reconciled in the delivery room.
  • Not Talking: In case you were wondering, Demi Moore, 44, declines to say if she's expecting, according to a statement released by her rep: "If or when Demi is pregnant, she and her husband [Ashton Kutcher, 28] will decide if that extremely private information should be made public."
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