By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Censorship! That's what some art lovers whispered during the Hillary Clinton fundraiser Nov. 5 at the Woodley Park home of Tony and Heather Podesta. The huge photograph of the nude man was missing from its usual spot on the living room wall, and some guests concluded that politically correct Clintonites had demanded that the naked guy disappear.
The Podestas are part of Washington's Democratic elite: He's a top lobbyist and brother of Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta; she just launched her own lobbying firm. They're also nationally known collectors of contemporary art, and one of their favorite pieces is "Soliloquy VII," an eight-foot-tall color photo of a nude man lying on his back, by British artist Sam Taylor-Wood.
"It's an iconic photograph in political fundraising circles," Tony Podesta told us yesterday. The $250,000 picture made quite a backdrop at a fundraiser for Clinton's Senate campaign, where the official photographer spent the night with his back to the art to prevent her from appearing in a shot with the naked guy. "She teases me about it all the time," said Podesta.
Two weeks ago, 250 women were invited to a Clinton fundraiser hosted by the Podestas. The candidate was missing and so was the infamous artwork -- which led to whispers that the picture was deemed unsuitable for a presidential campaign. Nah, said Podesta, who told us the picture was taken down a year ago for "conservation reasons." All valuable photographs, he said, are rotated into storage to prevent fading.
"Soliloquy VII" will return in a year, he promised. "We are resting it for the presidential campaign but bringing it out for the inaugural ball."Thanks for Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Political Trivia
Like us, you probably spend the holidays gathered around a roaring fire, leafing through the family's beloved, dog-eared copy of the Almanac of American Politics. (Did you know that Collin Peterson -- the Susan Lucci of Congress -- lost four consecutive races for Minnesota's 7th District before he got elected?) To pump you up for the newly released 2008 edition, the publishers offer these brainteasers to share with your loved ones this Thanksgiving.
Which member of Congress . . .
1. Is the only one who refuses to disclose his or her date of birth?
2. Is baseball great Hank Aaron's brother-in-law?
3. Delivered his 2002 opponent's baby?
4. Worked for Jerry Springer's '82 Ohio gubernatorial campaign?
5. Carried the "nuclear football" for Presidents Carter and Reagan?
6. Is the only member to list the addresses of all his district's bowling alleys on his congressional Web site?
1. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) 2. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) 3. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) 4. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) 5. Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) 6. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)A Lesson in Economics: Spoils of Teachers' Union Embezzlement Bring $106K on the Block
The final tally for Barbara Bullock's booty? $106,710 for the furs, designer purses and doodads purchased with embezzled funds by the former Washington Teachers' Union president (who is now in the pokey) and sold at Sloans & Kenyon's live auction earlier this month. "Our phones were just ringing constantly," said Ellen Garrity, who catalogued the luxury goods.
More than 200 new buyers registered to bid -- and went a little overboard. "They were very enthusiastic about it."
The top lot, as expected, was the 288-piece Tiffany sterling silver flatware service, which sold for $32,500; one bidder nabbed a full-length mink for $4,800.
Those designer purses that created so much buzz?
The red patent Chanel (originally $1,240) went for $1,900, and the canvas Hermès for $3,300.THIS JUST IN . . .
Jonathan Rhys Meyers was arrested Sunday and charged with public drunkenness and breach of the peace at Dublin airport. The 30-year-old actor (who starred on TV as Henry VIII and Elvis, and in the new film "August Rush") last year told the AP he quit drinking but has a hard time with sobriety whenever he goes home to Ireland.