B Stung in '71, and It Still Smarts

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, March 16, 2007

The Education of a Senator, Day Two: Yesterday we told you about Chuck Schumer's early years on the "It's Academic" team in high school. Now we've learned that the brainy New Yorker (high school valedictorian, 1600 SAT score) is still steamed about the grade he got on his college thesis.

Schumer was a senior at Harvard in 1971 when he wrote the paper about building a more effective Congress -- and furious when he received a B. His instructor? Conservative commentator Bill Bennett, a Harvard law student who was teaching the undergraduate social studies course. "He went nuts," said Bennett, who was unmoved when Schumer lobbied for a higher grade.

Bennett said the senator still reminds him of the beef every time they meet. "He says, 'I don't know if you remember this . . .' and I say, 'Stop with the grade-grubbing.' "

We wanted to hear why Schumer thought he deserved an A, but he didn't get back to us yesterday. Bennett has finally relented -- a little: "At this point, I'd be happy to review the paper."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

  • Maureen Dowd, with a cast on her wrist, trying to balance multiple beverages while exiting a downtown Starbucks Wednesday. What happened? The flame-haired New York Times columnist, on leave for the next couple weeks, didn't get back to us.
  • Richard Dreyfuss, in leather jacket and sunglasses, snacking on sushi Wednesday at the Sake Club. The Oscar winner, in town talking up civics education on Capitol Hill and working on a documentary, had another full day of D.C. meetings set yesterday but ended up stuck in his hotel room with the flu.
  • Photographer Kelly Klein, ex-wife of designer Calvin, overseeing a shoot at the downtown Park Hyatt hotel yesterday. Had her hair in a ponytail and wore jeans; don't know if they were Calvins.
  • Broadway star Cherry Jones, ordering a "perfect Manhattan with a cherry" (really!) at an M&S Grill cast party for the production of "Doubt" now at the National Theatre. Jones wore a black flowy thing, far more glamorous than her onstage nun's habit.
  • Sorry, Wrong Celebrity at the KenCen Gala

    Judy Woodruff and Gahl Burt
    Separated at birth? Judy Woodruff, left, and Gahl Burt.
    Awkward! Gahl Burt was a few minutes into an interview by al-Jazeera at Wednesday's Vital Voices gala at the KenCen when she realized that she wasn't who they meant to interview.

    Apparently, the TV crew was looking for Judy Woodruff, and a young staffer for Edelman PR (give 'em a break, they worked pro bono) accidentally grabbed look-alike Burt instead. No big deal: "I am often mistaken for Judy Woodruff," said the former Nancy Reagan social secretary. "Every time I get on the shuttle to New York, the flight attendants think I'm her." Hope she gets a bump-up to first class!

    Ready for Their Stand-Up

    Those irrepressible Sanchez sisters, Reps. Loretta and Linda (D-Calif.), brought their comedic schtick to the Hexagon's satirical charity fundraising show Wednesday night. An excerpt:

    Linda: "Until I got elected, you were just one more congresswoman from California. My election made you special."

    Loretta: "Oh yeah? Well, Dad contributed more to my campaign fund."

    Linda and Loretta Sanchez
    Reps. Loretta, left, and Linda Sanchez, joking sisters.(Sarah L. Voisin - The Washington Post)
    Linda: "He funded all my campaigns."

    Loretta: "Did not."

    Linda: "Did too."

    Loretta: "Did not."

    Linda: "Okay, but he bought me a brand new Barbie Dream House when I was 8."

    Loretta: "Did not."

    Linda: "Did too."

    THIS JUST IN . . .

  • How do your NCAA picks stack up against Bill Clinton's? The ex-prez gives his Final Four -- Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State and Kansas -- this morning on XM Radio's pre-taped "60/20 Sports" with hosts James Carville and Luke Russert. Who does the nation's "Chief Bracketologist" like if the stars align and alma mater Georgetown meets home state team Arkansas? Clinton ducked: "You know, I'm not running for anything anymore. . . . But on this one, I'm going to plead politics."
  • It's official: Angelina Jolie picked up her newly adopted son, Pax Thien Jolie, 3, from a Vietnamese orphanage yesterday. Brad Pitt stayed off the official papers, according to reports, because it's harder for unmarried couples to adopt there.

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