At the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, Politics & Strange Bedfellows
Turns out raising money in a brothel is harder than it looks. Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada, is so impressed with Ron Paul that he announced plans last week to put up a collection box at the door. His lawyers advised that anonymous donations are a no-no, so now he's thinking of starting a PAC: "Hookers for Paul."
The unconventional endorsement came after Hof got a call from Tucker Carlson (who's writing a profile of the Republican presidential candidate) inviting him to Paul's press conference in Reno. Hof, who calls himself a libertarian, was blown away: "He's a live-and-let-live guy, 'you don't bother me, I don't bother you.' That's our state," he told us yesterday. "He's not pro-prostitutes. He just doesn't want the federal government meddling in states' business."
The former time-share salesman went back to the ranch and gathered up his bunnies -- he's got 500 on staff -- and urged them to donate to the campaign; he's also running a customer special: "If you come in the Bunny Ranch and say, 'I'm pimping for Paul,' you get two bunnies for the price of one."
So how does this fit into the campaign's plan for Nevada, where Paul is hoping to win big in January's primary? "I guess that's the price of freedom," said spokesman Jesse Benton. "Ron's a conservative Christian. Quite frankly, he finds prostitution personally morally abhorrent. Sometimes you have to put up with things that don't jibe with your personal view of the world."
Hof said he'll vote for Paul, will personally donate the individual max of $2,300, and is hoping to show up at a Paul rally with a pink wheelbarrow full of Nevada silver dollars. A stunt? Sure, he said, but one designed to get voters' attention. "We're getting them to take a look," he said. "If they look at Ron Paul, they're going to like him."
Hey, Isn't That ...
Mira Sorvino trying to round up her kids in the lobby of the Four Seasons yesterday, while the toddler boy and girl were fixating on the designer Christmas trees (look, one with giant lollipops! one with choo-choos!) that were just then being set up for the Georgetown Jingle charity fundraiser. The Oscar winner (jeans tucked into low-heeled boots, short jacket, beret) was in town for last night's Capitol File magazine party in her honor.
Taylor Hicks -- yes, the prematurely gray dude who won "American Idol" last year -- dining with three others at BLT Steak Saturday night. Told the manager he was just visiting D.C. friends on his days off.
Vicente Fox -- yes, the former president of Mexico -- dining at Blue Duck Tavern Sunday with his wife and daughter. Fox wore jeans, drank Spanish wine, enjoyed fries and s'mores ice cream, took a lot of photos.
Tales of Ted: A Hot Property, A Cool $8 Mil
Now the pressure's on. Ted Kennedy just sold his memoirs to an imprint of the Hachette Book Group USA for an estimated $8 million, near-record territory for a book advance. Worth it? Publishing insiders estimate the book needs to sell 500,000 copies for the house to break even. A look at other big-advance sales:
Hillary Rodham Clinton, "Living History," 2003. $8 million advance; 1.5 million copies sold.
Bill Clinton, "My Life," 2004. $10 million advance, 2.5 million copies sold.
Alan Greenspan, "The Age of Turbulence," 2007. $8.5 million advance, 450,000 copies sold (since Sept. 17).
Pop open a bottle of the good stuff! The saga of Oasis Winery ended yesterday in Fauquier County Circuit Court, where Judge Jeffrey Parker accepted a $4.15 million contract for Casey Margenau to buy the Northern Virginia vineyard. Margenau is a hotshot local real estate agent and close friend of Tareq Salahi, who is expected to manage the business and eventually purchase it outright. All parties signed off on the deal, shutting the door on Shaquille O'Neal's bid for the vineyard and the "Falcon Crest"-like family feud between Salahi and his mother, Corinne, who co-founded Oasis in 1977. Margenau has 30 days to settle, then "hopefully, everyone will live happily ever after," said Paul Morrison, attorney for the younger Salahi.