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Baby Cheney, Weighed on Political Scale, Too

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mary Cheney gave birth yesterday to perhaps the most anticipated baby in contemporary U.S. politics -- her first child, Samuel David Cheney, whom she will raise with her longtime partner, Heather Poe.

The 8-pound 6-ounce boy is the sixth grandchild for Dick Cheney. The vice president and his wife, Lynne, both beaming, posed for a photo with him just hours after his 9:46 a.m. birth at Washington's Sibley Hospital.

And that, it seems, will be that for now in terms of public comment from the family about the baby, who launched a lively debate when Cheney, 38, first discussed her pregnancy in December.

Some gay activists have chastised the AOL executive for not being a stronger advocate for same-sex marriage, while some social conservatives have decried the trend of gay couples raising children. But the Cheneys have avoided stepping into a debate about the debate. The veep became testy when CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked him about it in a January interview.

At an N.Y.C. forum sponsored by Glamour magazine last winter, Mary Cheney responded to questions, saying: "This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child." But she also went on to declare that "every piece of remotely responsible research" had demonstrated "no difference between children who are raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents."

Cheney and Poe, a former park ranger, have been together for 15 years and live in Great Falls. And no, there's no more word on how the pregnancy came about.

The Salon Soiree That Became a Real Hair-Puller

Who says Georgetown parties are boring? What started as an elegant spring fundraiser devolved into a street brawl Wednesday night -- with three arrests, one black eye and a ruined $4,000 Dolce & Gabbana suit.

Eyebrow groomer to the stars Erwin Gomez and partner James Packard-Gomez invited 125 people to a lymphoma/leukemia benefit at their new salon on Wisconsin Avenue. The big draw was singer Julia Nixon, who agreed to perform three sets on a stage erected in the salon's back garden. The party had just gotten started when a neighbor, former ANC member Gunnar Halley, came in to complain about noise. Gomez explained that he had checked with city officials and the noise level was in compliance, said his partner, but Halley called the police, who came, agreed with the salon owners, and left.

According to Packard-Gomez, it was about 8:30 p.m. when glass, rocks and brick came flying over the fence into the garden filled with party guests. "We were all freaking out," he said, and so he climbed over the fence into his neighbor's back yard -- and, he says, was beaten up by Halley and partner Dale O'Quinn. He scrambled back over the fence and called the police, but a second fistfight occurred when he went around the block to stand in front of his neighbor's house. Packard-Gomez was sent to the emergency room; Halley, O'Quinn and David Rahnemoon (a friend of Gomez's) were arrested for simple assault and spent the night in jail.

"I couldn't understand how it escalated to this degree," said Packard-Gomez yesterday, who sustained a black eye, a cut over the other eye, a bruised elbow and a trashed suit.

Halley, reached at his law office late yesterday, said Packard-Gomez attacked him, and denied throwing anything into the garden. He said the altercation was a result of a "fundamental misunderstanding" and said he hoped "we're going to be able to become good neighbors once again."

Police officials said the investigation is continuing.

Prize-Winning Paul Simon and Friends, Feelin' Groovy

Is a victory lap still a victory lap if it's run like a relay?

On Tuesday, Paul Simon was awarded the first Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress. Last night, the 65-year-old songwriter celebrated with more than a little help from his friends. And yes -- our colleague J. Freedom du Lac reports -- that included Art Garfunkel, whom Simon called "my dear friend and partner in arguments." Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Marc Anthony and Alison Krauss were among the musicians who performed some of Simon's best-known songs at the Warner Theatre.

Simon eventually took the stage to perform -- but not before getting roasted by his longtime friend and New York neighbor Lorne Michaels. The "Saturday Night Live" creator said he's often asked what it's like to live near a genius. He said he replies:

"Don't ask me, ask Paul."

A Little Relationship Problem for Dr. Laura

Laura Schlessinger -- the tough-talking radio relationship counselor known as "Dr. Laura" -- is taking a break from the column she writes for a California newspaper, after another paper reported that her soldier son is under investigation for posting what an Army officer described as a "repulsive" Web page.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported over the weekend that Army officials were looking into Deryk Schlessinger's MySpace page, which featured cartoon images of rape, murder and child molestation; racial epithets; and stories of drug use. The 21-year-old is stationed in Afghanistan, the paper reported Saturday. The next day his mother said she would suspend her column in the Santa Barbara News-Press.

The complex inside-journalism back story: The Trib article was written by reporter Matthew LaPlante, who last week was under assault by Dr. Laura fans for a previous story they thought made her look bad -- one in which he quoted the radio talker blasting soldiers' wives for "whining," and declaring that "warriors need warrior wives."

SURREAL ESTATE

Buyers: Don and Mary Graham

Price: $4.6 million

Details: The chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Co. and his wife have quietly purchased a 6 1/2 -room, 2,000-square-foot pied-a-terre with 10 windows on Central Park West, reports the New York Observer. "We haven't even talked to our friends about the fact that we'll have this apartment," Mary Graham told the paper, reiterating that they continue to be a "devoted Washington family." Even the name of the 1929 co-op has a D.C. touch: It's called the "White House."

THIS JUST IN . . .

Big misunderstanding! A day after Oprah expressed shock and dismay over a New York Daily News report that her father is writing a book about her, Vernon Winfrey started backpedaling big-time. In an interview with TVGuide.com (yeah, go figure), the Nashville barber said the project is "on hold." The senior Winfrey denied that his daughter chewed him out on the matter but said "there is no book," though "we might have to think about it later on."

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