For Fred Thompson, That Elvis Edge

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, September 21, 2007

We're suddenly seeing a lot of things about Fred Thompson in an entirely new light -- the basso growl, that wicked, heavy-lidded smile, the bombshell wife, the indefinable charisma. . . . Oh, and the bad movies.

Because it turns out the GOP presidential contender is kin to Elvis Presley.

Specifically, they are eighth cousins once removed, according to research by Washington genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner. The former Tennessee senator's late father, Fletcher Thompson, and The King shared a set of great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents, Jasper Hood and Tryntje Andries.

What kind of impact this revelation could have on the Thompson campaign was unclear yesterday, though most observers agreed it would most likely be positive, so long as jumpsuits aren't involved.

It's one of the weirder political rites of passage -- run for the White House, and soon there's a small crowd of genealogists rustling around in the branches and twigs of your family tree, looking to make those links to Charlemagne, Miles Standish or Princess Di. And face it: We're all related to pretty much everyone.

Yet those connections still have the power to startle. Reitwiesner, a Library of Congress employee, made headlines earlier this year with his research suggesting that Barack Obama is descended on his mother's side from a Kentucky slave owner. Reitwiesner declined to be interviewed about the Thompson-Presley connection but made his work available on his Web site (, which also shows that John Edwards is a distant cousin to George W. Bush, Harry Truman and Britney Spears.

But Elvis is something else altogether. Despite his wellspring of genetic greatness, researchers seem to have found only one American president related to Presley. And no, despite his supposed Secret Service nickname, it's not Bill Clinton-- it's Jimmy Carter, a sixth cousin once removed, descended from the same German immigrant. Howard Dean, a tenth cousin, washed up in the '04 race after failing to publicize his Presley kinship.

Thompson, who even lived in Memphis in the early '60s around the time Presley was settling in at Graceland, was traveling yesterday, but a campaign rep responded: "I guess it's peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches on the press bus from now on."

U.S. Capitol Chic From Mrs. D.C.

If you're planning to watch the Mrs. America Pageant on basic cable's WE-TV tonight, and you don't want to know the results, stop reading here. For we have learned that (again, SPOILER ALERT!!!) Mrs. D.C. Susan Sweat placed in the top 15, and her costume -- the sexiest rendering of the U.S. Capitol you can possibly imagine -- was named one of the top five. See for yourself. "The hat was made out of Styrofoam," Sweat, a staffer for Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), told us. "When you take it off it looks just like a wedding cake."

A Goddess Gone Missing

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GODDESS? One of the nine identical Venus statues that stands watch, beguilingly half-naked, outside Dupont's Hotel Rouge has vanished. She was last seen Wednesday; when general manager Don Anderson got to work yesterday, she was gone.

The apparent kidnapping of the 5-foot-6 plaster dame has baffled hotel staff, who note that someone would have had to cut a metal rod securing her to a base before carrying her off. They've posted "missing" notices ("eyes: marble grey . . . weight: voluptuous") offering a reward of a weekend stay for two, plus dinner, drinks and spa services, to anyone who provides information leading to her return. No calls to police yet: "We're hoping the community will rally to help bring back Venus," Anderson said.

The crime bears similarities to last month's disappearance of a life-size golden lab statue from outside jeweler Ann Hand's Palisades store; " MacArthur" is still missing. "We haven't given up," said employee Marilyn Wald. "Maybe he's with Venus, and they've run off and gotten married."

Anyone with information about Venus can call the hotel at 202-939-6441. But hey, e-mail us, too:

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

Wilmer Valderrama, star of "That '70s Show" and consort to a formidable lineup of Hollywood jailbait beauties, hanging with a couple of guy friends Wednesday night at Lima. The actor, in town to do celeb duties at last night's USO gala, had a reserved table with bottle service, didn't order food.

Larenz Tate, ordering food and drinks just before last call at Hotel Sofitel's Le Bar Wednesday. The actor ("Crash," "Ray") was nice about signing autographs, told a fan he was here for a sickle cell disease fundraising gala.

Former porn star-gone-mainstream Jenna Jameson touring the Capitol yesterday with her Ultimate Fighting champ boyfriend Tito Ortiz, both in town for the USO Gala.

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